How do we measure effectiveness?

We rely on analysis from GiveWell: a rigorous, fully transparent charity evaluator. They evaluate charities based on evidence, cost-effectiveness, and transparency. Out of the thousands of charities GiveWell evaluated, 4 were approved. GiveWell compares charities’ impact using Quality Adjusted Life Years: a unit also used by the WHO. This unit is wholesome: it measures an intervention’s improvement to people’s quality of life as well as whether it extends their life.

Find out more on GiveWell’s site here:

A good rule of thumb is to look for scalable, tractable interventions that tackle neglected problems. Scalable interventions can easily be applied to tackle wide ranging problems with little additional funding. Tractable interventions allow us to see what works beyond reasonable doubt. Cause areas that are neglected relative to the scale of the problem often have simple, effective solutions.

Distributing malaria nets, for example, fits all three of these criteria. It costs little to scale distributions, top charities like AMF keep track of how effective their distributions are, and this intervention is dramatically underfunded relative to the scale of the problem.

These three factors are generally present in the most impactful interventions, and the causes we support must do well in all three of these categories.

What type of projects have we completed in the past?

We have worked on a range of projects, including:

– A widely attended workshop around high impact, fulfilling careers

– Several giving games with student groups

– Working with student groups to direct donations to high-impact charities

– Talks with leaders of the Effective Altruism movement like Jonathan Courtney

– Lobbying faculties to include discussions of Effective Altruism in courses touching on social impact and ethics

The wide range of projects give all of our members the opportunity to get involved.

What has the Effective Altruism movement achieved?

8,000,000+ hours pledged to high impact careers

1,000,000+ bed nets paid for to protect versus malaria

3,000,000,000+ dollars committed to Effective Giving through GoodVentures

All thanks to our network which includes students and professors from Harvard, Oxford, Yale and Cambridge along with the founders of Skype, Paypal and a range of top executives.

Why do we focus on interventions which tackle health and poverty in developing countries?

The most scalable, tractable and neglected interventions today are linked to poverty and health in the developing world. Some highly effective, highly tractable interventions, like distributing malaria nets, are still dramatically underfunded. We simply have not found other causes that convincingly match this level of impact elsewhere. However, many of our members believe in other cause areas such as the environment, animal suffering, existential risk and life extension research.

How would I contribute as a new member?

That’s entirely up to you! We treat new members as equals and try to help them get involved as fast as possible. Some new members have joined to discuss challenging ideas at meetings. Others have been more hands-on; writing articles, joining ongoing projects and starting their own. No matter your level of involvement, expect constant opportunities for hands on work.


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