3.1 Finding Organisations
- Find domain experts and ask them for suggestions
- Brainstorm high-impact orgs/positions
- Consider either the type of organisation, or specific names if you know of any.
- Engage with other people: subgroup organisers, invested members, etc.
- Research known lists of EA or EA-aligned organizations (e.g. 80k, Open Phil)
- Check if powerful transnational organisations (EU, UN, NATO, World Bank, IMF, etc) have offices in your city
- Less promising strategies
- Search for relevant local conferences and past speaker lists and affiliated organisations
- Venture Radar has a very extensive list of organisations with handy keyword search
- Search regular job boards. So far this seems to be the hardest and the least effective way
- Existing social impact or cause area specific job boards (e.g. Impactful Jobs in Denmark)
- Startup accelerators or incubators, however most are focused on SDGs.
- Problem: most of them are focused on Sustainable Development Goals
- hmm could it be valuable to look at the SDGs and see where they overlap with EA priorities the best? SDGs are a universal std it seems
- For example
- Nordics: Katapult Accelerator - An Impact-Tech Accelerator and Startups
- Y Combinator (see nonprofits: 80k and CEA are there)
- Didn't find impactful AI for-profits there. At least not among top-100
- Acumen: top non-profit fund for evaluating companies for impact-investing
- Subscription for topic-specific job boards can provide some hidden stash, which does not emerge in the normal search
3.2 Evaluating Organisations
The goal of this guide is to perform evaluation of the organizations for direct impact. Some organisations can also be used for gaining career capital or Earning to give, but that shouldn’t drive the process of the evaluation. Additional important output of such work is broadening the EA network and understanding the landscape of promising EA-aligned organizations for possible future collaborations.
Overall, it seems quite difficult and time-consuming to try and evaluate organisations. We think it’s better to just get a list of organisations vetted by experts for now, and make sure to differentiate between direct work organisations and career capital or skills building organisations.
3.2.1 1st round elimination: Use the STN Framework
To reduce the risk of conducting too deep of an investigation that leads to a dead-end, start with the cheapest investigations, then increase time spent on the most promising organisations.
- Create a spreadsheet with the following column headers
- Spend 15-30m to do an online search for each of the top 5-10 orgs you’ve ranked.
- See the quick heuristics below for example questions and use sites like glassdoor.com to help you.
- Get new evidence to support or falsify your scoring, update the scoring and re-rank. Repeat this process until the top 5-10 orgs do not change.
- Add questions in the “key uncertainties” column that you want answers to, and as you address each uncertainty move it into your “reasons” columns
- Ask friends and experts to evaluate your prioritisation, and re-rank.
- Keep the list of less impactful orgs so that there’s a record, especially if they are high-status orgs that are less effective which members may ask about.
This process is probably the most useful if you have a really long list and need to narrow down. Spend a maximum of ~20 minutes per organisation.
- Have they consistently achieved their stated goals and/or done impressive things?
- FP Impact Investing Report - see p 33-34
- Having impact vs in the growing stage (i.e. it may be better to work at a startup)
- How well is growth aligned with profit?
- Harder to evaluate for-profit company’s impact
- Find companies with unexpected ways to impact
- I.e. Roam Research - could have impact improving brain capacity/productivity, Ought, Headspace - potentially high impact
- Examples above are all “trustworthy” (not incl. Headspace)
- Suggests a bottom-up approach to find these companies
- Have received grants from OPP, EA funds or have connections to the EA community? (i.e. credibility in EA)
- E.g. An animal charity in Denmark received $700,000 in grants from OPP
- Do they appear to be honest or transparent?
- Do they meaningfully utilise data?
- Cause-specific questions
- What is their theory of change? Are they pursuing strategies similar to EA organisations or different?
- Reputation, caliber of hires, connections in relevant industry
- How can this org play a role in EA strategies on this topic?
- For larger transnational orgs, there should be more information available. However, the caliber of offices may vary from country to country.
- How popular/competitive are they?
Questions for earning-to-give jobs
- What is the earnings potential of this job?
- Is the job morally neutral?
- How competitive is this job?
- You can also refer to the 80K career profile for more questions
3.2.2 2nd round elimination: Org Culture
To save time, it may be better not to do this until there is an actual candidate who might work at this company. You could also ask them to do the research, and note the findings for others (but still encourage them to do their own research as well).
- What is the culture of the company?
- Who are the leadership and what are they like?
- Are there restrictions on who can work there?
- For bigger organisations
- What is the bureaucracy and management structure like? How much autonomy do individuals get?
- How can you advance within the organisation?
- What are the external pressures this organisation faces?
3.2.2 Continuous: Get feedback on your work
- As you expand your network, keep trying to get feedback on your research from experts if they think in EA-aligned ways
- As you start recommending orgs to people, ask them for feedback if they do their own research, or if they get placed at an org. Once they have inside knowledge, they will be able to give much better information
- Try to keep this research updated. Certain orgs may be vulnerable to change if leadership or funding situation changes.