Taking a page out of Peter Hurford’s book, YEA will be writing a quarterly review of progress and accomplishments. Expect to see the first review in a few weeks.
But we wanted to break the silence earlier to explain what, exactly, we hope to accomplish this year, and in future years (if we survive that long — fingers crossed!).
YEA, like most other effective altruist organizations, aims to improve the world as much as possible.
This entails staying true to the four pillars of effectiveness, as Ben Kuhn conceives of them:
- Maximization: trying to do the most good rather than just some good (and accepting that different things do different amounts of good).
- Cause-neutrality: being willing to consider any cause based on how effective it is, rather than giving based on pre-existing “passion” or “connection” to a cause.
- Egalitarianism: valuing the well-being of all sentient beings equally.
- Consequentialism: taking into account all the consequences of your actions, not just the direct consequences. For example, if you don’t take that job with a nonprofit, would they have just hired someone else instead?
But beyond those basic precepts, what are we trying to accomplish?
As a student organization at Yale University, where many students are wealthy or will become wealthy, we have a special focus on acting within Yale — whether that means helping students learn more about how to improve the world, collaborating with other student groups to take effective action, or even persuading students who can afford it to pledge a lifetime percentage of their income to charity. After all: With great privilege comes great responsibility.
Along the way, we’d like to work on projects that will be helpful to the EA movement as a whole. Our first set of projects let us help several different groups: EA organizations that want to raise money from corporations, people interested in working on corporate charity campaigns, organizations that need well-designed materials, and high school students who want to create EA organizations of their own.
Something that distinguishes us from “professional” EA organizations like Givewell is that our time is somewhat less valuable, which opens up a wide set of “mid-level” projects for us.
For example: wouldn’t be worth Givewell’s time to spend two months trying to raise $50,000 — but those numbers are unusually good for college organizations. I suspect that several of our current projects could create $50,000 or more in differential giving over the next few years, though each of them is risky to some extent.
As always, if you’d like to be a part of the group, or just want to know more, let us know!