• Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact

  • Participating in Donation Matching

    October 21st, 2016
    donation_matching, giving  [html]
    My office does a donation matching thing each year, where employees get together in groups to sponsor charities, offering to match donations. There are signs up around the office with phrases like "double your impact", but that's misleading because most of the sponsors would donate regardless. I'm torn about whether I should sign up as a sponsor: on one hand I want to raise money for great organizations, but on the other hand I don't want to contribute to a culture of donor illusions.

    Offers to sponsor specific charities in our culture are almost never counterfactually valid: the sponsor will send the same amount to the charity whether you give or not. But they're often presented in a way that incorrectly implies that you can count the impact of the sponsor's money as if it were your own. This makes me sad, and is something I would like effective altruism to fix eventually. But where does this leave us in the mean time?

    I'm conflicted about what organizations should do [1] but I think for individuals it's generally fine to participate in existing donation matching programs. It's a way to say "this is something we care about and are willing to use our resources to support, will you join us?" Most people don't care about "counterfactual validity", they're just excited about turning the conventionally solitary activity of donating into a social one.

    (If someone asks "would this money get donated otherwise", however, we should be honest and take the opportunity to talk about counterfactual impact.)


    [1] GiveWell decided not to use donation matching to raise money for their top charities because it felt dishonest to them, and I think that was a reasonable decision for them. Pushing the message that you should give because your donation will be matched would be inconsistent with the rest of what they stand for. Other EA and EA-aligned organizations have run matching campaigns, however, because offering matching funds does bring in more donations.

    Comment via: google plus, facebook

    Recent posts on blogs I like:

    More on the Deutschlandtakt

    The Deutschlandtakt plans are out now. They cover investment through 2040, but even beforehand, there’s a plan for something like a national integrated timetable by 2030, with trains connecting the major cities every 30 minutes rather than hourly. But the…

    via Pedestrian Observations July 1, 2020

    How do cars fare in crash tests they're not specifically optimized for?

    Any time you have a benchmark that gets taken seriously, some people will start gaming the benchmark. Some famous examples in computing are the CPU benchmark specfp and video game benchmarks. With specfp, Sun managed to increase its score on 179.art (a su…

    via Posts on Dan Luu June 30, 2020

    Quick note on the name of this blog

    When I was 21 a friend introduced me to a volume of poems by the 14th-century Persian poet Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky. I loved them, and eventually named this blog for one of my favorite ones. At some point I read more and found that Ladinsky’s …

    via The whole sky June 21, 2020

    more     (via openring)


  • Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact