In 2018, REG donors gave a total of $5,160,173 to highly cost-effective charities1. This is about 20% more than last year’s total ($4,292,847).
The ‘total donations’ figure reflects all donations that have been significantly influenced by us. That is, if a donor thinks that REG (at least) significantly influenced them to make a donation, we include that donation in our ‘total donations’ figure. We count donations made through our website as (at least partially) influenced by us, as well as some instances of donors giving to our recommended charities directly. In the latter case, we include the donation if the donor confirms that our influence was essential. Since this metric leaves out any donations to our recommended charities from people who never get in touch with us, our actual impact is likely somewhat underrepresented (also see our FAQ on this question).
We only included parts of the $5,437,174 total from the Double Up Drive in our report. We counted all the matching funds that had been provided ($2,718,587). However, since the challenge had also been advertised by the charities themselves, it was very likely that people contributed who would have made some donation in any case. For all donors ≥$10,000, we individually estimated the share that they would have donated anyways by looking at their donation history as well as inquiring with the donor in question and the charity they gave to. We conservatively assumed that only 10% was due to the matching challenge if we had no information whatsoever. The resulting average was 15%. From this set of donors, we extrapolated to all the remaining ones we had no prior information on by using this average. In the end, we counted only $3,251,377 (60% of the total) as having been influenced by us.
We estimate our expenses in 2018 at about $68,5052, resulting in a fundraising multiplier of 1:75 (1:75.33) for 2018. This is more than three times as good as last year’s number of 1:21. This is mainly driven by a decrease in expenses. We invested considerably less staff time because we didn’t try to find many new donors and focused on maintaining the most important existing relationships instead.
Adding up our expenses since the launch in 2014 yields an estimate of $491,739. Adding up all donations raised for our recommended charities3 since 2014 gives us a total of $11,747,123, which in turn yields an overall fundraising multiplier of 1:24 (1:23.89) since our launch.
The donations in 2018 were distributed as follows:
|The Good Food Institute||$752,476|
|Effective Altruism Fund: Long-term Future||$721,945|
|Animal Charity Evaluators: Effective Animal Advocacy Fund||$468,441|
|GiveWell (for discretionary allocation)||$413,819|
|Against Malaria Foundation||$380,941|
|Machine Intelligence Research Institute||$350,435|
|Effective Altruism Fund: Meta||$250,000|
|Helen Keller International (Vitamin A Supplementation Program)||$59,757|
|Massachusetts Bail Fund||$57,883|
|Schistosomiasis Control Initiative||$29,281|
|Foundational Research Institute||$20,000|
|The Humane League||$3,013|
|Deworm the World Initiative||$607|
|Humane Slaughter Association||$263|
|Clean Air Task Force||$193|
By cause area
Our recommended charities fall into one of three cause areas: global poverty alleviation, animal welfare, and reducing risks from emerging technologies. Each cause area received the following funding:
In 2018, $1,883,331 (36.5% of all donations raised) went to charities working on alleviating suffering from poverty-related causes. The fundraising multiplier for poverty alleviation in 2018 is 1:27 (1:27.49). As in the year before, the largest single recipient in this cause area was the GiveDirectly, which received $583,996 in 2018.
In 2018, $1,224,712 (23.7% of all donations raised) went to charities working on preventing or alleviating the suffering of animals, especially in factory farming. These charities can also have an impact on a range of global problems, including climate change, global hunger, water shortage, and pandemic risk. Our fundraising multiplier for animal welfare in 2018 is 1:18 (1:17.88). The largest single recipient in this cause area was the Good Food Institute, which received $752,476 in 2018.
Risks from Emerging Technologies
In 2018, $1,744,055 (33.8% of all donations raised) went to charities pursuing research on global catastrophic risks and risks of astronomical future suffering. Our fundraising multiplier in this cause area in 2018 is 1:25 (1:25.46). The largest recipient of donations in this cause area was the Effective Altruism Fund dedicated to the Long-term Future, which received $721,945 in 2018.
In 2018, $308,076 (6.0% of all donations raised) went to charities which don’t neatly fit into our cause area framework: $250,000 to the Effective Altruism Fund dedicated to improving the effective altruism community, $57,883 to the Massachusetts Bail Fund, and $193 to the Clean Air Task Force.
In 2018, we launched our own fund. Its mission is to support research and policy efforts to prevent the worst technological risks facing our civilization. During the course of the year, we raised a total of $712,868 for it. We also made our first two grants: one to Rethink Priorities for a survey on ethical attitudes and one to Daniel Kokotajlo for research on acausal interaction between AI systems.
Donations to the Effective Altruism Foundation
In addition to the donations listed above, we have raised $21,632 for the Effective Altruism Foundation, our parent organization, in 2018. We do not include this in our totals (anymore) because EAF funds might be used to cover our expenses.
1 We included some donations to highly cost-effective charities that were not recommended by us at the time: the Effective Animal Advocacy Fund of Animal Charity Evaluators, the Clean Air Task Force, the Effective Altruism Fund: Meta, the Effective Altruism Fund: Long-term Future, the Forethought Foundation, GiveWell’s regranting program, the Massachusetts Bail Fund, StrongMinds. We still consider them sufficiently effective to warrant mention in this report.
2 This is an estimate since we’re a project of the Effective Altruism Foundation and our staff is also involved in other projects. Similarly, our donation infrastructure is used for multiple purposes, not just REG.
3 This figure excludes donations to the Effective Altruism Foundation and its predecessors.
4 Due to an accounting mistake we had to make some corrections to the distributions of funds on April 16, 2019.