A portion of the money that moved through Charity Science’s account amounts to roughly $10,000 in the last month (this does not include fundraisers on the AMF platform, in the US, or matching funds, among other sources. Counterfactuals are currently very rough approximations and will be updated more precisely at the end of the year).
We are starting to move our hours into the X-mas fundraiser and are excited at some of the expansive steps we are taking. However, we are also concerned at the lack of matching funding we have this year. Last year, we had a large matching donor that might have had a large effect on how much funds were raised successfully. This and other factors, such as donor fatigue, might contribute to less money being moved than last year. Currently we are unsure how well X-mas will do but think the implications of its results could be far researching on charity sciences future activities.
We currently have 6 staff and several interns and volunteers. The last two months have seen Charity Science grow into the largest team we have ever had.
Two big experiments have been going on at Charity Science over the last month or two. These are the Skeptics For Charity and legacy fundraising experiments. We are starting to get a sense of how both of these are doing and although we plan on publishing more complete reports on our website, we wanted to give a quick update here:
The legacy experiment so far looks promising. We have started it off in a relatively lean way with very low monetary costs and time costs. The last month has seen the free will preparation service spike in popularity with over 30 people interested in donating to effective charities in their wills. Popularity is likely due to the articles written by Kieran and Baxter posted on various online publications, including the Huffington Post, Atheist Republic, Quartz, and The Life You Can Save blog. The majority of users have been from the US, with some traffic from Australia and the UK, as well as several other countries that are not yet supported by the service. We have been able to use the last will templates accurately, but we have had to seek paid services when dealing with more complex requests. One user in particular could potentially be a very influential donor, so we have taken particular care in this case.
Although we feel the service is going well given the size of some of the wills, we want to look more into liability and legal concerns. We currently think that although these issues are resolved it’s better not to write more wills until we have confirmed all the details for the process. Thus, we have temporarily suspended the service until these questions can be answered and we have contacted previous users to extend our apologies. Users may still fill out the form and we will contact them in the future with further options.
The Skeptics For Charity experiment has had less positive results, although there have been a lot of outreach methods, including newsletters, Adwords adjustments, and a round of social media postings. The site has enjoyed some decent web traffic, but there has been a very low pledge sign up rate. We have had some confusion as to what explains a peculiar spike in traffic that occurred and plan on doing more thorough tracking in the future. We plan on doing further outreach and website improvements and re-evaluating the progress of this experiment in the next couple months.
One theory is that there’s interest, but pledging is a major step. Although we do allow visitors to the site to mitigate the risks by donating instead, it still might seem intimidating and not completely clear as to what the visitor is pledging. Plans are in motion to run a/b split testing using Google Analytics to test whether ‘regular donations’ should replace pledging.
Our Online ads experiment is still progressing with minimal time expended and results. We do not plan to scale this up until we are accepted to the larger Google grants program.