Charity Entrepreneurship (CE) is a unique organization in that it works across a number of cause areas. This is partially due to a limited number of charities that can be founded in each area in a given year, and partly to do with epistemic modesty about what cause areas are most promising. This post briefly lays out some areas we have covered in the past and areas we are likely or unlikely to cover in the next few years.
Six causes we have worked on in the past and could work on again in the future:
Farm animal welfare
Effective altruism meta
Four new causes we are considering working on in the future:
Health security/biosecurity - currently working on
High scale global poverty
Three causes we are unlikely to work on in the future:
How we prioritize causes
We pick causes that we think are both the most impactful and are a good fit for the career path of charity entrepreneurship. Our values are utilitarian and our epistemology is highly scientific and empirical. When we look at cause areas we look for some similar traits as we do when we prioritize interventions within a cause area. Specifically, we value tight feedback loops and falsifiability. We value these factors as we think the world is complex and it's very hard to make progress or sound conclusions without this sort of evidence. We tend to look for convergent evidence using a cluster approach and put the burden of proof on the extraordinary claim. This results in a lot of caution towards taking ungrounded expected value calculations, a priori reasoning, and case study style evidence as strong evidence. The cause areas we are most excited about look high impact and are robust to a skeptical epistemology. That doesn’t mean we do not support charities that have a low probability of success or present more novel approaches, e.g. health policy. For more information on this viewpoint, Alex Berger (Co-director of Open Philanthropy) describes many of the perspectives we have at CE in this podcast episode.