80 Comments
author

Wow, y'all did quick work this morning! We just made our matching contribution. Thanks so much for your help!

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I'll note that your campaign:

https://www.givedirectly.org/slowboring/ has now raised just over $100k. That's great!

However:

https://www.givedirectly.org/givingtuesday2023/

also has $100k, but has $250k left in matching to give, so the multiplier on that campaign is higher right now.

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author
Nov 28, 2023·edited Nov 28, 2023Author

We're working on it! The Slow Boring link still works (and using it will help us track contributions from our readers) but later this afternoon, it should start redirecting to the main Giving Tuesday campaign.

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Maybe someone from the non-profit world can confirm/deny this, but my understanding is that these entities get approached by a large donor with a large check. The non-profit says, thanks very much for the money, do you mind if we frame it as a "matching" campaign so that we can help get additional donations? And the donor says sure that sounds nice. There isn't really some prospect of the donor saying, aha, you didn't reach the max matching figure, now I'll be keeping that money.

I could be wrong, I heard it secondhand. After a quick google, it seems like this is the case at least some of the time. https://www.charitywatch.org/charity-donating-articles/are-charity-matching-donations-legit#:~:text=Some%20charity%20matching%20campaigns%20are,not%20to%20make%20a%20donation.

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Their front page mentions that they have other matching fund sources today as well. (since it is GivingTuesday)

If I donate via the SlowBoring link will that also go to their other matches?

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author

No, they're set up as discrete campaigns to support different villages, so donations to the Slow Boring/Jill Filipovic/Popular Information campaign won't go toward those other matches. But! If you click on the Slow Boring donation link in this post, and then navigate to their front page and give to those matched campaigns, they'll still count your contribution toward the Slow Boring community's overall impact.

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author

Thanks to everyone who helped us blow past not just our initial goal of $75,000, but our stretch goal of $110,000 in less than one day! The campaign will stay open for a week, and we'd love to raise as much as possible. But GiveDirectly still has significant matching funds on the table for their main Giving Tuesday campaign, so we've updated our page with an option to give there instead before midnight tonight: https://www.givedirectly.org/slowboring/

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At this local Rwandan diner, patrons blame Democrat policies for inflation, plan to vote for Trump.

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author

Is this your pitch for the NYT pitch bot account?

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Ben Krauss

Ben, you will soon learn about the top tier wit that dysphemistic treadmill brings to this comment section on the regular.

And glad to have you here! Looking forward to learning more about you and your views on the subjects we regularly discuss.

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thanks, dendropolis!

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I really appreciate your rooting for me.

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Oh boy, now it's actually tempting to change my username to Dendropolis. Brilliant, my friend.

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DougJ is a giant among trolls; I cannot compare with him.

Sure, I stole his trope. But he's the original.

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Kate Crawford, Ben Krauss

Great cause and great piece of advocacy, Matt. Thank you for doing this.

If anyone reading this has not donated before, this is a great day to start. A thing lots of folks do not realize is that donation to a very straightforward cause like this one (as opposed to political advocacy that might or might not deliver in the short-term) is empowering: you do a simple thing today to make the world a slightly better place, and you start to FEEL like maybe the world can be made a slightly better place by people like you. And if you keep making those kinds of acts part of your life, it eventually can turn into a flywheel that starts to change your whole outlook on the world in a really positive, satisfying way.

So do it, today. Click one of those links. Fire up a virtuous circle in the world. Be that person.

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Kate Crawford

Awesome, Matt. We're give monthly donations to Give Directly, Give Well, other international orgs we like, and a few local places doing good work community building. Even after leaving my fancy job to do in-home eldercare, we give the same amount as before. I guess as a religious guy, my thought is that all I have is God's so why hold on to it tight. God gives me endless love which I try to give away foolishly to anyone and the rest as well (with a little prudence), and I think I'm getting the better deal!

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founding

For those Americans might wish to give closer to home, while maintaining the benefits of Give Directly, you can direct your gift to their programs in the US: https://www.givedirectly.org/united-states/

[Matt, if you feel this is inappropriate for your blog, I will readily delete]

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When you offer people this option, you're probably increasing the total amount donated but you're certainly reducing the proportion of funds that go to people in poor countries. Sign of impact seems ambiguous.

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founding

Possibly. Hence why I included my comment to Matt that I would delete if he thought it to be counterproductive to his goals.

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My rule is to never overthink charity. If you feel a cause is worthy of your donation then do it and don't worry about marginal value of alternatives.

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Exactly. Otherwise, you wind up in the EA corollary of the paradox of hedonism.

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Nov 28, 2023·edited Nov 28, 2023

Thx. And it would be very mortifying for Matt to ask you to delete this ! I very much doubt he will.

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The government of Rwanda is a mixed bag. They've done an impressive job at building a domestic social safety net, which very few poor countries have managed. But their regional foreign policy is terrible.

I have nothing against poor Rwandans but I'd want GiveDirectly to think about the fungibility of money here. When you send aid to a Rwandan village, are you allowing the authorities to spend less on poverty alleviation and more on their awful military campaigns in Eastern Congo? This seems like one aspect of the "unintended consequences" issue which they may not have researched.

Somalia has a highly developed mobile money system and its government basically can't do anything to meet people's needs. Wouldn't it be good if GiveDirectly extended their programming there?

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I think this is an example of overthinking. Will these contributions help these villagers more than if SB and its readers didn't make the effort? I think the answer is pretty obvious. And if, IN ADDITION, you want to give money to poor people in Somalia, well I think that would be an admirable thing to do.

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True, but surely they hope to scale up?

I imagine they favor countries where it's easy/safe to operate and overhead costs are lower, which would definitely point to Rwanda over Somalia. But the problem is that ease of operation correlates pretty strongly with state capacity, which correlates with people not being in such dire need in the first place.

Anyway they do seem to do a lot of research on the cost-effectiveness and potential negative effects of their programs, so I just wondered if they'd considered this angle.

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founding

Matt addressed this - they scale up by finding more villages living on <$2.15 per day, which does not necessarily need to be in Rwanda.

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What struck me when Matt mentioned Rwanda is that poor Rwandans have government health insurance, whereas most poor Africans don't.

If they're using income poverty alone as the benchmark for selecting their beneficiaries, that might explain why they're assisting Africans whose basic needs (on one dimension, at least) are already being met better than most.

But I'm guessing the main reason they did an initial rollout in Rwanda is that they're working closely with the national government, and it's one of the few African countries whose government is competent, efficient and more or less uncorrupt. If they want the concept to scale, they'll need to figure out how to replicate it in places where none of those things are true.

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Kate Crawford, Ben Krauss

Done, let's do this!

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author

Whoo!

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Kate Crawford

Great, low-barrier-to-entry post that I plan on sharing with friends and family! (And donating myself)

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Kate Crawford

Just a heads up that if you're in the UK and using Monzo bank, they have GiveDirectly built into the app so you can set up a recurring donation or one-off donation easily!

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Kate Crawford, Ben Krauss

Done and done 👍

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Nov 28, 2023Liked by Kate Crawford

Some of you may work at companies that match donations to charities. Give Directly is 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, so it should be eligible for most employers' matching programs. The full legal name, which you may need, is GiveDirectly, Inc.

A lot of employees don't take advantage of these matching programs, and that's bad. Don't leave money on the table!

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This kind of optimistic content is why I'm a subscriber. Love it when a post ends with a call to action.

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If you found this post motivating, here's a shameless plug for another great initiative -- Giving What We Can's annual giving pledges help make these sorts of donations recurring. The pledges aren't legally binding in any way, but I've found that they're great for reminding me of the commitments I've made and why I've made them.

You can find out more about their pledges here: https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/en-US/pledge?gclid=CjwKCAiAvJarBhA1EiwAGgZl0EWpsOW-t8tbQXnpApGxHCcdJeYO3KmrOI8cs6CF4toYAyQWGUqR-RoCB0QQAvD_BwE&gad_source=1

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Nov 28, 2023·edited Nov 28, 2023

I was a little disheartened to see the meta analysis results. Seems cash transfer might not do much other than alleviate “monetary poverty” - but what does that even mean long term if there are no investments or employment benefits? Does that simply reflect people getting the cash (a tautology) or should we take it to mean something more? Donating to invest in things (eg infrastructure) might be more challenging to organize and monitor, and certainly means a greater overhead but has the potential to do more for more people for longer. I thus think the whole efficiency goal is something of a red herring.

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I think alleviating “monetary poverty” is a pretty worthwhile goal, and the most logical purpose for cash donations.

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Nov 28, 2023·edited Nov 28, 2023

I asked very genuinely and still ask - whaat does that even mean? Defintionately in a palce liek the village described anyone with 1000$ isn't poor by the country's standards. Hence by one defintion you alleviated "monetary poverty". What happens next? Will thye also not be poor a year later? Will their life expetancy improve? Happinees? kids future? All unclear. The meta-analysis however adds doubts wrt all the tangible benefits examined i.e. health, employment, education, investment. So what's left?

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It's chapter 6 in the report. Expenditures, including food, seem to be what's measured here. I don't know if it specifically addresses the tangible benefits. My guess: Alleviation of monetary poverty is a prerequisite of improving other outcomes but not a guarantee of them. Hence the mixed results (but not outright negative ones).

"The specific indicators for which estimates are reported are: total expenditure, household food expenditure and the Foster–Greer–Thorbecke (FGT) poverty indicators, which include the poverty headcount, poverty gap and squared poverty gap."

"Total expenditure – also called consumption – measures all expenditure by a household within a specified unit of time, including expenditure on food, household essentials, clothes, services and investment."

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Reform initiatives almost always discover why things were organized the way they were.

The post claims we did charity the way we did because, before mobil payments, we had no way to do direct cash transfers, and otherwise does not address the issue.

That's a nice point for the story being told, but it's just not so - at home or abroad.

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Nor sure if it's the case here, but it reminds me of a common "techno straw man". The one I particularly loathe is "since we have the internet now we don't need rote learning. Kids need tool not knowledge". Such fundamental misunderstanding of how education works and why kids were required to memorize in the past...

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reaching levels of based never before seen

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