One of the biggest projects that is happening within Charity Science is we are trying to figure out which new areas to experiment in. We are looking for areas that a) are most likely to raise the most money possible for effective charities, and b) provide the most learning value.
When we first founded Charity Science, we spent some time researching different areas and considering what to experiment with. Since then we have learned a lot. We need to refresh and expand on our research. To do this we decided to do shallow reviews on different fundraising topics, asking key questions so we can more accurately compare the different options. Although good research is light or nonexistent in most fundraising areas, we still thought we could benefit from spending 10 to 20 hours considering each area across a wide range (around 30) of areas.
A variety of volunteers and charity staff members contributed to making the reports, and they span from very short (less than 1 page) to very long (around 14 pages), depending on area complexity and how promising it seemed. We saved time by stopping research early if the area looked very unpromising.
We will publish both our methodology, our full reports and our relative rankings on this blog so others can benefit from the research we have done. We do not expect these reports to cover 100% of fundraising areas or be perfect, but we do expect them to help individuals and organizations when considering and comparing a wide range of fundraising options. The reports were based on Charity Science and GiveWell-recommended charities so might be less applicable to other cause areas and much larger charities.
The questions and broad structure we attempted to use for each topic area listed below. We also made a evaluation rubric that we gave to staff and volunteers that we found greatly increased report quality.
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