Download The Effective Altruism Handbook by Ryan Carey (ed.) PDF

By Ryan Carey (ed.)

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Over the next 2 years, AMF received more than $10 million on the basis of our recommendation but struggled to identify opportunities to use the funds it had received. At the end of 2013, we announced that we planned not to recommend additional donations to AMF until it committed the bulk of its current funds. This did not reflect a negative view of AMF; instead it reflected room for more funding related issues. In 2014, AMF finalized several distributions in Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with three different implementing partners (two of which account for the bulk of the nets to be distributed).

And yet we praise it as a yardstick of morality and trustworthiness. It’s the exact opposite. We should stop saying charities with low ratios are efficient. Efficient at what? Fundraising? “Inefficient” — as in expedient — fundraising may accelerate problem-solving, making its “inefficiency” efficient in the big picture. Say Jonas Salk spent $50 million to raise $100 million to find a polio vaccine. The admin-to-program ratio would report he had a shameful 50% overhead. But the $100 million he raised wasn’t his end result.

You have one goal — staying alive — and your only problem is how to distribute your resources to keep your chances as high as possible. These sorts of economics concepts are natural enough when faced with a journey through the freezing tundra. But they are decidedly not natural when facing a decision about charitable giving. Most donors say they want to “help people”. If that’s true, they should try to distribute their resources to help people as much as possible. Most people don’t. In the “Buy A Brushstroke” campaign, eleven thousand British donors gave a total of $550,000 to keep the famous painting “Blue Rigi” in a UK museum.

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