This review focuses on hard metrics rather than offering an in-depth narrative description of the lessons we have learned or how well we felt specific fundraising strategies succeeded. That information is linked to in the ‘Attempted experiments’ section.
We also want to thank our volunteers and donors for making it all possible. This could not have been accomplished without everybody’s combined efforts. This report is a list of everything we have managed to achieve. We look forward to seeing how many people we will be able to help next year.
- We raised 4.5 times more money in our second 6 months than in our first 6 months, which is a substantial improvement.
- We moved $55,974 to effective charities over the last year. Taking into account our costs, this means that for every dollar we spent we raised $3.70.
- We will be continuing with Charity Science. Our plans will be published on this blog at a later date.
Goal from July 2013
- $50,000 over 1 year (around what we could donate doing earning to give)
Benchmarks from April 2014
- If we move less than $20,000 (over the year) to effective charities then shut down
- If we move $20,000-$40,000 then keep going but only in a lean and experimental mode
- If we move over $50,000 then consider expansion
- Grant writing: July - December 2013 (6 months)
- Planning next steps and charity evaluation: December 2013 - February 2014 (3 months)
- Networking: February - August 2014 (7 months)
- Events: July - September (3 months)
We spent about 3 months working full time on planning and reviewing charities as well as some unrecorded time before we started working on this project full time. During this time we also worked on re-branding and getting charitable status.
We spent about 12 months doing full time fundraising, with the team spending about 78 hours per week on this. The breakdown of this time was the following:
- 6 months on grant writing
- 3 months on planning/research/operations
- 3 months on networking
- 1.5 months on the event
- 1.5 months on logistics/website/reports/email
Here is a breakdown of our time over the most recent 6 months:
A breakdown of our time over our first 6 months can be seen here.
The total cost of these activities (including salaries) was around $15,000. This is lower than the total we spent as we spent a portion of our personal savings to cover various costs.
We spent about $12,000 on salaries (three full time staff, two of whom worked full time on these fundraising projects), and about $3,000 on other expenses. At some points we experienced financial pressures due to not receiving a large donation which we were expecting. We plan on raising more money for operating expenses at the start of 2015 to guarantee that this does not happen again and slow down our work.
The totals above exclude $5,875 in donations ($11,750 counting the match) and the Google Grants that we obtained for various charities, because it was unclear whether these would have happened without our work, and unclear how much money in donations a Google Grant is worth. When we calculated counterfactuals we tried to take a conservative guess and ask individuals we were unsure about. We suspect that many organizations would include these excluded numbers in their totals. We also expect that several donations were made that we were unable to track this year due to our directly pointing people to GiveWell or to our proven charities, but we do not have a concrete estimate of their total size. We only counted donations for which we had tax receipts (or other solid proof that the donation was made), and which we were convinced could be attributed to a Charity Science staff member or volunteer project.
- Evidence Action - $22,812 CAD including match
- Give Directly - $20,428* CAD including match
- GiveWell unrestricted - $2,000 CAD including match
- SCI - $724 CAD including match
Below is a chart of the total amount moved to each charity (including funds from the match) over the last year to provide a visual sense of which charities got the most donations.
Over our second 6 months: ~$45,974 (including funds from the match)
Ratio: 3.7:1 (over the year)
- We think that our grant writing experiment during our first 6 months was not successful.
- We think that our experiments over our second 6 months were relatively successful.
- We have been improving at fundraising significantly and feel that we will continue to do so over time.
- We currently think that Charity Science is worth continuing (with some large changes and improvements).
We are currently writing a separate post describing our future plans, including the changes and improvements referred to above. Look out for that on our operations blog, or consider subscribing to our operations blog's RSS feed.