TL;DR: Charity Entrepreneurship have helped to kick-start 23 impact-focused nonprofits in four years. We believe that starting more effective charities is the most impactful thing we can do. Our charities have surpassed expectations, and in this post we provide an update on their progress and achievements to date.
At Charity Entrepreneurship (CE) we launch high-impact nonprofits by connecting entrepreneurs with the effective ideas, training and funding needed to launch and succeed. We provide:
Seed grants (ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 per project)
In-depth research reports with promising charity ideas
Two months of intensive training
Co-founder matching (this is particularly important)
Co-working space in London
Ongoing connection to the CE Community (~100 founders, funders and mentors)
We estimate that on average:
40% of our charities reach or exceed the cost-effectiveness of the strongest charities in their fields (e.g., GiveWell/ACE recommended).
40% are in a steady state. This means they are having impact, but not at the GiveWell-recommendation level yet, or their cost-effectiveness is currently less clear-cut (all new charities start in this category for their first year).
20% have already shut down or might in the future.
To date, our CE Seed Network has provided our charities with $1.88 million in launch grants. Based on the updates provided by our charities in Jan 2023, we estimate that:
1. They have meaningfully reached over 15 million people, and have the potential to soon reach up to 2.5 billion animals annually with their programs. For example:
Approximately 1.2 million beneficiaries consuming fortified wheat flour who otherwise would not have.
Reached 600,000 families with vaccination reminders, 50,000 families reached by immunization ambassadors, and 95,000 women with pregnancy care reminders
14,000 additional children vaccinated
1.14 million fish potentially helped through welfare improvements
1.4 million shrimp potentially helped
15 million listeners reached in Nigeria
In the period overlapping with the campaign in Kano state (5.6 million people reached) the contraceptive uptake in the region increased by 75%, which corresponds to 250,000 new contraceptive users and an estimated 200 fewer maternal deaths related to unwanted pregnancies
Policy changes implemented in Malawi alone are expected to reach 215,000 children. LEEP has launched 9 further paint programs, which they estimate will have a similar impact on average
The program with MER Seafood (now in progress) can reach up to 125 million shrimp/year. Additional collaborations could reach >2.5 billion shrimp per annum
2. They have fundraised over $22.5 million USD from grantmakers like GiveWell, Open Philanthropy, Mulago, Schmidt Futures, Animal Charity Evaluators, Grand Challenges Canada, and EA Animal Welfare Fund, amongst others. 3. If implemented at scale, they can reach impressive cost-effectiveness. For example:
Fortify Health: intervention more than 11x more effective than cash transfers from GiveDirectly when implemented at scale (estimated by the team in partnership with GiveWell; see previous GiveWell estimation here)
Shrimp Welfare Project: approximately 625 shrimp potentially helped per $1 (estimated by the team)
Suvita: when delivered at scale, effectiveness is at a similar range to GiveWell’s top charities (estimated by external organizations, e.g. Founders Pledge, data on this will be available later this year)
Fish Welfare Initiative (FWI) - pioneering animal advocacy for fish. FWI is an ACE standout charity that we helped launch in September 2019. They work with farmers, corporations, and governmental agencies to improve the welfare of fish. At the end of 2022, the organization hit their first million fish helped, and they transitioned 89 farms to higher welfare standards. With a team of 20, FWI is pioneering effective animal advocacy for fish on multiple levels. From conducting some of the first research on improving the welfare of Indian major carp, through creating the Alliance for Responsible Aquaculture, with 58 fish farms currently enrolled, to signing India’s first corporate commitment for fishes. FWI’s successes inspired CE to launch a similar organization in the Philippines through our current February-March 2023 program.
Fortify Health - preventing anemia at scale
Our Incubation Program would not have been started without a pilot program and launching one of our first interventions in 2017 - Fortify Health. The organization prevents and reduces anemia at scale in India by fortifying wheat flour with iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12. Fortify Health collaborates with state governments and the private sector industry to ensure their programs reach diverse populations in their focus states: Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal. As of the end of 2022, Fortify Health has launched partnerships with 32 millers (1.2 million beneficiaries reached at the end of December 2022) and is now in conversations with two state governments to support the rollout of fortified wheat flour as part of existing social safety-net programs. The Maharashtra program can potentially reach 192,000 children per day with fortified wheat flour in their school meals, and the Madhya Pradesh pilot program could reach more than 3 million beneficiaries.
Lead Exposure Elimination Project (LEEP) - successful policy intervention in a neglected cause.
LEEP drives effective policies to eliminate lead poisoning across the globe. Incubated in 2020, they secured their first policy change in Malawi after eight months of operation. The Malawi program alone will decrease lead poisoning in ~215,000 children and avert 43,000 DALY-equivalents. Since then, LEEP has received government commitments of regulation implementation in five countries. Overall, LEEP is now running lead paint elimination programs in ten countries, which (as mentioned above) they estimate will have a similar impact on average.
Shrimp Welfare Project (SWP)- helping animals on the biggest scale ever
SWP is the first ever organization that aims to significantly improve the lives of billions of farmed shrimp. Since launching in September 2021, the organization has signed 11 MoUS (Memoranda of Understanding) with relevant stakeholders that may lead to improving the lives of >2.5 billion shrimp per annum. With 625 shrimp potentially helped per dollar spent (their internal estimation), SWP could become the most cost-effective animal advocacy organization in the world.
Family Empowerment Media (FEM) - large-scale intervention with multi-cause potential
Incubated in 2021, FEM prevents maternal deaths and other health burdens due to unintended pregnancies through an evidence-based solution. FEM produces informative radio broadcasts that shift knowledge, attitudes, and behavior around family planning in Nigeria. Since launch, the organization has managed to reach an estimated audience of 5 million listeners in Kano State, Nigeria, and has built the partnerships and operational capacity to reach 10 million more listeners across three other Nigerian states: Anambra, Kogi, and Ondo. By 2030, FEM expects to reach a total of 50 million people across the country. FEM’s rapid and significant success has inspired CE to devote our next research cycle to mass media interventions.
Mental health charities - improving subjective well-being at scale
Many of the forum users are probably not aware that we incubated Happier Lives Institute (HLI) in its early stage through our 2019 Incubation Program. Since then, the organization published break-through papers on subjective well-being, including the effects of cash transfers that led to discovering an error in GiveWell’s analysis of deworming, which reduces the cost-effectiveness estimate by 10%-30%. In 2020, we launched another mental-health-focused organization called Canopie that evolved to be a scalable and cost-effective digital program to prevent and treat perinatal mood disorders.The organization partnered with the Mayor of Washington, DC to provide Canopie to all expecting and new mums, and is now working to secure relationships with healthcare organizations in the US and the UK This would allow Canopie to become accessible to millions of new mums per year. Once scaled, Canopie would cost $1.06 per mother reached, and $42.43 per mother protected from depression. In our 2022 program, we additionally incubated two mental-health charities: Vida Plena, an organization focused on implementing cost-effective programs in Latin America (the team estimates they can be at least 8x more cost-effective than GiveDirectly in terms of improving subjective well-being, if run at scale) and Kaya Guides, an organization that aims to reduce depression among youth in India through a guided self-help program. The team estimates they could be 45x more cost-effective at increasing subjective well-being than direct cash transfers in LMICs. Once at scale, the marginal cost of helping an additional person could be as low as $3.93.
We have created an Our Charities page on our website, where you can find up-to-date information about all of our incubated interventions, their progress, achievements, cost-effectiveness and funding gaps. We highly encourage you to visit it to learn more.
We believe that we have a proven methodology for reliably creating effective charities. We’ve refined our approach, strengthened our team, and are now moving to scale Charity Entrepreneurship. We will run the Incubation Program twice per year, and start between eight and ten new organizations annually. We have learned from our mistakes and challenges (we will write a post about them too), as well as from our incubatees’ successes. There remains considerable uncertainty and a huge amount of scope for growth, but we are increasingly confident that our model represents a clear and counterfactually significant benchmark to beat. Few, if any, careers have evidence showing that they do as much good or reduce as much suffering.
We hope that even more people in the impact-focused community will decide to choose nonprofit entrepreneurship as their full-time job. As shown above, when the right ideas are launched, it can lead to changing millions, or even billions, of lives for the better.
Organization that addresses antimicrobial resistance by advocating for better (pull) funding mechanisms to drive the development and responsible use of new antimicrobials.
An advocacy organization that promotes academic guidelines to restrict potentially harmful “dual-use” research.
A charity that rolls out dual HIV/syphilis rapid diagnostic tests, penicillin, and training to antenatal clinics, to effectively tackle congenital syphilis at scale in low-and middle-income countries.
An organization that distributes Oral Rehydration Solution and zinc co-packages to effectively treat life-threatening diarrhea in under five year olds in low-and middle-income countries.
A charity that builds healthcare capacity to provide “Kangaroo Care”, an exceptionally simple and cost-effective treatment, to avert hundreds of thousands of newborn deaths each year in low-and middle-income countries.
An organization that aims to reduce stock-outs of contraceptives and other essential medicines by improving the way they are delivered and managed within public health facilities.
If interested, you can read more about them here: https://www.charityentrepreneurship.com/post/announcing-our-2023-charity-ideas-apply-now If you have any questions or hesitations about applying, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org