This is the second quarterly report about money moved by REG, which is intended to create transparency about where exactly REG donations went. Such a report is regularly published within a few weeks after the end of every quarterly REG donation period.

We are happy to announce that the second REG quarter was highly successful in terms of donations. In part, this is due to REG having acquired a larger membership base as well as because people tend to donate more at the end of the year. But the main reason for the great increase in donations is that REG members had a very successful quarter, with Martin Jacobson winning the WSOP Main Event.

From October to December* 2014, REG donors gave an overall amount of $369,053.

$348,777 (94.5%) of the donated amount were restricted by the donors to specific charities.

5.5% of donations were donated unrestrictedly, totaling $20,276. Half of the unrestricted donations go to a direct charity, the other half go to meta-charities (see below). In the second REG donation period (Q4 2014), $10,138 from unrestricted donations were allocated to the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF) and the Center for Effective Altruism (CEA) each.

Recipient Charities

Several donors expressed interest in supporting effective animal charities with substantial amounts (generating a large impact in terms of reduced animal suffering in factory farms as well as mitigated climate change). First, a donor provided funds for a matching challenge for The Humane League (THL), REG’s recommended animal welfare charity. A second donor wanted to support effective animal charities with more than $100k. At this time, we only listed one recommendation on the REG website that focuses on animal welfare (THL), but given the size of the donations and the fact that THL had just completed a successful matching challenge, we suggested distributing the donation evenly among multiple effective animal charities. We created a portfolio of standout animal welfare charities, drawing primarily on the recommendations of Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE). As a result of this, five effective animal charities, including the meta-charity ACE itself, will each receive $25k. The news that prominent poker players support these charities is likely to attract attention, which is why we suggested that the charities use the money for organizing matching challenges.

Accordingly, we have now added a list of standout organizations to the list of charities  we support. We want to keep the number of top charities on the main page low in order to keep things readable and be able to flexibly emphasise special donation opportunities (incorporating considerations about room for more funding etc.). At the same time, donors who want more information on charities and want to donate larger amounts should have the opportunity to do so without the effectiveness of their donations being affected by the number of official recommendations. The effective animal charities listed below are on our updated list, together with a few more organizations that focus on poverty and capacity building.

Thanks to two large donors who expressed interest in funding activities that spread the ideas behind effective giving further, GBS Switzerland is receiving donations that secure its funding for more than a full quarter and enable it to tackle more ambitious, high-leverage projects (see appendix). This will also enable REG itself to keep growing, seize more outreach activities (especially in online poker) and have a higher presence at tour stops.

Finally, the unrestricted donations are going to the Against Malaria Foundation AMF (“direct”) and the Center for Effective Altruism CEA (“meta”). GiveWell publishes its own recommendations on how they recommend distributing funds among their top charities, where AMF gets the biggest share. CEA was chosen because their outreach projects are scalable and have already proven successful.

Review and outlook

REG has been able to move more than half a million dollars to effective charities last year. With REG staff time totaling two full-time equivalent amounting to ~$46k in the past year (who pays the salaries of the REG employees?), and around $550k fundraised with REG activities in 2014**, REG’s overall return on investment (ROI) so far equals 1190%. We are very pleased with these results, especially considering the short running time of REG.*** REG was able to acquire more than 100 members in 2014, and in addition to the poker players who support effective charities financially, many people are reaching out to us, offering their help, e.g. with web-development, design or media outreach. We are excited about how things are developing and are looking forward to a great 2015! Expectations should not run too high, though: Poker-wise, REG hit the jackpot this past quarter with the win of the Main Event, so we expect the donations for the next quarter to be a bit lower (but significantly higher than in Q3 2014).

REG donations Q4 2014 (October-December 2014*)

Charity Sum (~USD)
Against Malaria Foundation 13,449
Albert Schweitzer Foundation 25,000
Animal Charity Evaluators 25,000
Animal Equality 25,000
Animal Ethics 25,000
Centre for Effective Altruism 10,235
GBS Switzerland 125,800
GiveDirectly 24,706
GiveWell 41,498
Mercy For Animals 25,000
Schistosomiasis Control Initiative 3,265
The Humane League 25,100
Total 369,053

*The actual dates for the quarter are October 20, 2014 to January 20, 2015 since members often donate after the quarter has ended.
**This number is higher than the sum of total money raised in Q3 and Q4. This is because in addition to what has been raised in these two quarters, there was a matching challenge by REG board members before the official quarters with regular donating started.
***These numbers are based on a preliminary breakdown of REG expenses for 2014.

Appendix: Recipient Charities Q4 2014

Against Malaria Foundation (AMF)
A top recommendation by GiveWell, focusing on large distributions of insecticide-treated bed nets for malaria prevention. Strong evidence and a great track-record show that this method is highly effective at saving lives.

Albert Schweitzer Foundation (ASF)
The Albert Schweitzer Foundation (ASF) is an ACE standout charity conducting corporate outreach campaigns encouraging companies to adopt cage-free policies or to provide additional and improved plant-based options. Through their work with corporations, they help create changes in key influencers. ASF measure the impact of their work and actively look for ways to improve their materials and strategy. They also collaborate with many other organizations, sharing information and partnering to achieve greater impact.

Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE)
ACE is the animal-focused equivalent to GiveWell: Their research compiles evidence as to what sort of animal charity is most effective (and often literally up to 100 or 1000 times as effective as other animal charity efforts). Without this information, all the “direct” donations to animal charities would lose a lot of their value.

Animal Equality
A top recommendation by ACE, Animal Equality is an international animal advocacy organization that is dedicated to helping all animals through public education, campaigns and factory farming investigations. Animal Equality works to achieve long-term social change, oriented toward all animals being treated with compassion and respect.

Animal Ethics (AE)
AE is currently under review by ACE. It provides information and resources on the most relevant issues in animal ethics. AE is unique in that it’s the world’s first animal charity that also tries to find the most cost-effective strategies to reduce the suffering of wild animals.

Center for Effective Altruism (CEA)
CEA is the Oxford-based umbrella organization for several projects related to the promotion of Effective Altruism. Their projects focus on ethical career choice, priority research and movement building. In 2015, CEA will help promote two books that are about to be published on the topic of Effective Altruism, including one by the famous philosopher Peter Singer.

GBS Switzerland
GBS Switzerland is a think tank for the application of rationality to questions at the intersection between science and ethics. GBS is the organization that launched REG (together with poker professionals) and is now working on proposals to expand the REG approach to professional tennis, competitive gaming, and daily fantasy sports (DFS). The GBS is running two additional projects, one focused on career networking for people who have committed to donate a large portion of their income to effective charities, the other focused on effective societal outreach and politics related to animal welfare and climate change.

A top recommendation by GiveWell, focusing on direct cash transfers to extremely households in developing countries. Systematic studies suggests that these transfers generate large income gains for these households and are spent wisely and sustainably.GiveDirectly was one of our chosen recipient-charities for the REG charity tournament on December 17th.

The meta-charity GiveWell evaluates the cost-effectiveness of charities focused on global poverty. Their top-rated charities are transparent, evidence-backed and underfunded. With its new “Open Philantropy Project”, GiveWell broadened its scope and is now also researching effective interventions outside the global poverty sector.

Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI)
A top recommendation by GiveWell, focusing on deworming children in schools. SCI supports programs that treat parasitic worm infections, which cause short-term symptoms such as anemia as well as longer-term developmental problems. These worms are extremely inexpensive to treat and the benefits are long-lasting, as systematic studies show (much less school absenteeism and higher wages afterwards).

Mercy for Animals (MFA)
Another top recommendation by ACE, MFA advocates for farm animals by conducting undercover investigations, engaging in corporate and legal outreach, running online ads for meat/factory farming reduction, and organizing grassroots outreach events. Their undercover investigations are particularly promising because of the multi-faceted benefits from publication and sharing.

The Humane League (THL)
Another top recommendation by ACE, The Humane League (THL) works to reduce suffering of factory farmed animals through conducting online advertising, organizing grassroots outreach, instigating cage-free and Meatless Monday campaigns, giving presentations at schools, and engaging in corporate outreach. Their online and community-based outreach programs reach millions of young people each year with a persuasive message.