Fundraising for effective charities, encouraging effective charitable giving
Fundraising for effective charities
Individual donors, governments and firms demonstrate substantial generosity (e.g., UK charity represents 0.5-1% of GDP). However, most donations go towards charities that are worthwhile but improve human well-being far less per-$ than basic medical interventions in poor countries, such as antimalarial bednets (see Givewell.org).
Social science, biology and philosophy present a range of potential theoretical explanations of how values, preferences, and biases drive this ‘inefficient altruism’. However, evidence (e.g., for "availability bias", or "scope insensitivity") comes largely from small-scale experiments in domains outside of charitable-giving. It is difficult to distinguish robust, credible findings from one-off results that are vulnerable to hype, p-hacking and publication bias (echoing the "replication crisis" in experimental social science). Given the limited, scattered findings, we do not have a definitive picture of which factors substantially impact "effective giving and support for policies that reduce extreme poverty."
The EA movement is highly-motivated, growing, and gaining funding. However, it represents a niche audience: the "hyper-analytic but morally-scrupulous". EA organisations have focused on identifying effective causes and career paths, but have pursued limited outreach or market research on a larger audience (see Charity Science, Gates Foundation/Ideas42).
Innovations in Fundraising (IiF) aims to foster, synthesise, and disseminate evidence that will inform practical methods of boosting EG/support. This project will involve a high level of collaboration and cooperation, enabled by the intrinsic motivation of researchers in this area. We will pursue rigorous, replicated evidence and meta-analysis, open science and methodological integrity, incorporating tools and standards of the 'credibility revolution in social science'.
The [IiF wiki]((https://innovationsinfundraising.org/doku.php) collects and presents evidence on the most successful approaches to motivating effective and impactful charitable giving, and promotes innovative research and its application. The wiki is a continuous work in progress and a living resource. We consider recent and replicated academic work, a clear explanation of relevant theories and definitions, description of real-world experiences in innovative fundraising. We are also organizing data and statistics from empirical research that can be interactively explored and used as a base for meta-analyses and future work. This is aimed both as a knowledge base for academic researchers and a collection of tools for practitioners and advocates. This is a collaborative effort: all are encouraged to comment and contribute!
Charity Science (outreach)
Focuses on platforms and practical techniques (e.g., "Peer to peer fundraising", "Legacy fundraising, and Niche marketing
(24 in total) that seem particular relevant for expanding the reach of EA, carefully weighing scientific and practical evidence.
100 total pages of reports "intended to be understandable to someone with no previous knowledge in the area … written by many different staff and volunteers. …all based on the same questions and evaluation rubric.
Other resources and sites
- [http://scienceoffundraising.org](Science of Fundraising)
- Science of Philanthropy Initiative 'Practical Takeaways'
- Behavioural Insights Team (2013), “Applying Behavioural Insights to Charitable Giving.”
- Ideas42 work Gates foundation "giving by all" initiative