Why we think this idea is promising

  1. India is a key country for direct work across a range of cause areas. It has a dense population of impoverished people, with some Indian states having poverty rates as bad as the poorest African countries. It is also a major source of factory-farmed animals. India is an especially promising location for EA movement building and promotion of effective giving because of overall English fluency, affluence and upward mobility. From a longtermist perspective, India has not been considered in much depth, but there are likely several promising possibilities regarding longtermist research and policy that are yet to be explored.
  2. Currently, there are over 10 EA-aligned organisations (value-aligned, cost-effective charities) operating in India in the global health & development and animal welfare space, all of whom receive funding from EA funders & communities. In addition, several new and existing animal organisations are planning or seriously considering entering India currently, and there are plans for 2-3 more to be founded in the next 5 years. Finally, Open Phil just announced that they are seeking a Program Officer to grant a minimum of $10 Million USD per year over the next 5 years to improving South Asian air quality - it is possible that organisations they grant to could become potential clients of this org. We think it’s likely (>50%) that they may find and start giving to other near-termist causes in India in the near term future.

  3. This idea addresses the main operations problems identified in our EA-aligned organization leaders research. From our research, we found challenges around managing finances were a top bottleneck for EA-aligned organisations in India.
  4. There is a clear need and interest in these services. EA-aligned organisation leaders from our research were very interested in learning more about our solution, as they lack the capacity and resources to invest in a solution similar to what we are offering.
  5. Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA): Our conservative CEA found a leverage ratio of ~2.5 in the first 5 years. Further, this solution is 3-5x more cost-effective than the current solution which has been implemented by one organisation reducing costs (~3-6% of total funding moved, compared to ~15%). We expect this leverage ratio is an underestimate, and it does not account for the non-monetary benefits and the opportunity costs for organisations if they cannot either enter India according to their original timelines, or have difficulties with funding, and the increasing returns as the number and size of client organisations grow. Costs could be further reduced if a hybrid funding model was applied, and client organisations were charged at-cost (or discounted) prices.
  6. Increasing Scale: We expect that there will continue to be a need for this kind of centralised service in the future. The Indian regulatory environment can be challenging and we think it’s likely there will be more changes in the coming years. Moreover, given the track record of existing EA organisations in India, we expect the total funding amount to existing organisations to increase over time. We estimate that there could be 3 to 8 EA-aligned projects and organisations entering India in the next 5 years.
  7. Low counterfactual replaceability: It seems quite low because there aren’t any EA-aligned opereations consultancies in India right now, and direct work organisations are capacity strained.
  8. Proof-of-concept: A similar solution has been implemented by another EA organisation in late 2020. Founders will have access to experienced advisors including Jayasimha Nuggehalli of Global Food Partners and Varun Desphande from the Good Food Institute, who have extensive experience and networks working in India, and we’ve also received support from the Charity Entrepreneurship team.
  9. Positive externalities: We think this organisation could positively influence cross-org collaboration and problem-solving by creating a centralised organisation, and set up a strong foundation for future EA services & operations in India. We think founding this organisation could help evaluate the usefulness of  services & operations organisations for the EA movement. If successful it could make it easier to identify the need for similar organisations in different regions.