Using a negative tone in our initial communication

Before we meet people in the community, we often send them some documentation about our work at Effective Giving. Several times it seemed like a conversation had started off in the wrong way due to the way we had drafted this document.

An example of this confusion is the question if effective giving is only about direct approaches that lend themselves to rigorous experimental evaluations such as distributing mosquito nets.

Of course our answer is: no, not at all!

Effective giving is about using rationality, existing evidence in our search for maximum expected value of our choices. For philanthropists, those maximum impact opportunities will often not be in direct approaches – as opposed to smaller givers who are stimulated to give to concrete measurable interventions by Effective Altruism organizations such as GiveWell en GivingWhatWeCan

Pieter and Rogier from the Adessium Foundation took plenty of time to indicate which specific texts (or the absence thereof) in the document led to misunderstandings with them. For example, in a document we wrote “impact = number of people x degree of improvement x depth of improvements”. This makes people think that only measurable impact counts, that the impact should be concrete, and thus that that focussing on systems change would not be in line with effective giving. These are all misunderstandings such a sentence can apparently incite to. So it had to be removed! Based on all suggestions we received, we have improved our writing a lot. So again, thanks a lot, Adessium!