The importance of funding gaps: 2017 funding needs for REG-recommended charities

As the end of the year approaches, we know that many of you will be preparing to donate to effective charities. Considering where to donate can be a difficult, yet fulfilling task. At REG, we want to provide as much information as needed to help donors find the most effective giving opportunities. One critical factor in effective giving is donating to funding constrained charities, in addition to the three factors of scale, neglectedness, and tractability that we described in our last blog post. Charities are considered funding constrained if the main obstacle to fulfilling their programs/goals is a lack of monetary resources. Conversely, charities that are not funding constrained can’t always effectively use additional donations.

Funding is just one of the many obstacles charities face in achieving their goals. Charities are more often constrained by other factors, such as their available pool of talented hires. In such situations, a charity would not be able to effectively use their donations because of their lack of talented personnel. By contrast, funding constrained charities frequently have the right people and programs, but not enough monetary resources to fulfill their goals.

When giving effectively, we should try to donate primarily to funding constrained charities to ensure that our donations will have the greatest effect per marginal dollar. While donating to non funding constrained charities does some good (building monetary reserves is necessary for any effective charity), this quickly faces diminishing marginal returns. This is especially important when funding constrained charities are at risk of not being able to implement certain programs.

In the sections below, we have summarized how much money each of our recommended charities will need in the coming year, as well as what they plan to do with these additional funds. We hope this information helps you make your donation decisions this year and gives you better knowledge about what REG-recommended charities’ plans for 2017.

Global poverty

Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI). According to GiveWell, money donated to SCI now would be used for implementing SCI’s April 2017 to March 2018 initiatives. They estimate that SCI could effectively use $10.1 million in more funding for this period.

Give Directly. The charity evaluator GiveWell states that Give Directly could effectively use $30 million for additional cash transfers in 2016.

Against Malaria Foundation (AMF). Givewell estimates AMF to be able to commit an additional $11.3 million to malaria-net distributions in 2016-2017.

Animal welfare and climate change

Animal Ethics. Animal Charity Evaluators estimates that Animal Ethics could effectively use additional $100,000-$150,000 in the next year, to hire around four new staff members.

Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE). At the beginning of 2016, ACE’s Executive Director estimated a room for more funding of $478,095.50 to continue its current activities and expand its research and outreach efforts by hiring additional staff and interns.

Movement building and research

Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI). As of the time this blog post is published, MIRI needs to fundraise an additional $160,000 in order to reach its minimum fundraising goal of $750,000 and to be able to execute its growth plans. If they received up to $660,000 in additional, it could try more high risk – high reward growth strategies without risking to fall below a one year runway in funding.

Center for Applied Rationality (CFAR). The Open Philanthropy Project estimates that “funding is a substantial constraint for the organization at present”, but did not give specific figures on how much more money CFAR could effectively use.

Raising for Effective Giving (REG). Our best estimate is that our room for more funding in 2017 is $50,000. We recently adjusted our estimate upwards since we will probably scale up a bit faster than we initially thought. See also: Michael Dicken’s post on REG