Decentralized AI + science

Keeping track of my donations

My giving philosophy: “My case for donating to small, new efforts”

I think the average donor has very little impact when they donate to big, established efforts in traditional philanthropy. I think the biggest impact comes from the equivalent of angel investing, but for funding novel philanthropic initiatives that could potentially be extremely impactful in relevant cause areas, but are underexplored and underfunded.

On reflection for myself, donating in the first few months of the project’s existence to small initatives was probably much more impactful than donating to big, established efforts. Once someone with orders of magnitude more resources is actively funding a project, it probably doesn’t require your donations anymore.

Mark Budolfson and Dean Spears make this case elogquently in their paper “The Hidden Zero Problem: Barriers to Marginal Impact”: “analyse the marginal effect of philanthropic donations. The core of their analysis is the observation that marginal good done per dollar donated is a product (in the mathematical sense) of several factors: change in good done per change in activity level of the charity in question, change in activity per change in the charity’s budget size, and change in budget size per change in the individual’s donation to the charity in question. They then discuss the “hidden zero problem” that some of the terms in the equation (in particular, the last term) might be “hidden zeros” that prevent donations from doing any good—or worse, imply that they do harm—even if the charity is at the top of rankings based on the other factors.”


Chronology of what I thought was worth supporting (with a range of small amounts)





2021: see all and donate easily through or endaoment: for direct crypto donations





2017 and before