What do we mean by cause prioritisation? 

 

Each of us (including individuals, organisations and institutions) has limited resources. 

Resources come in the form of money, time, skills, technology, network, etc. 

In order to do more good, we consider the range of issues/causes that we care about. And we choose to work on those that we think can make the most out of our limited resources. 

Effective Altruism (EA) is about combining the head and the heart. 

It often means that we need to prioritise certain causes before others, because choosing to act on these would likely make a much greater impact. 

Check out the EA cause areas → 

 
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How to figure out? 

 

From an effective altruism (EA) perspective, we’ve found the following importance, neglectedness and tractibility (INT) framework to be useful.

This INT framework is broad, but it is a general guide for those who want to apply an EA thinking in the area that they want to do good in. 

 

IMPORTANCE

We find causes important to work on to the extent that they are great in impact. 

Question to ask yourself: 

  • Does this cause affect many people’s lives, by a great amount? 
  • Am I taking a more global perspective? 
 

NEGLECTEDNESS

We also want to think about whether they are highly neglected in our societies

Question to ask yourself:

  • Are there few other people working on addressing these issues?
  • Are my contributions (i.e. time, money, work) going to make a big difference because there's a gap that I'm filling in here? 
 

TRACTIBILITY

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We consider if they are highly tractable before we put our energy into this. 

Question to ask yourself: 

  • Will additional resources do a great deal to address the problem? 
  • Am I likely to succeed in making a difference in the long-run and that our collective impact will grow?  
  • Would others care as well, such that I can foresee this will gain traction? 

Do-It-Yourself

Use the INT framework to figure out what to focus on.

Sometimes, the recommendations that the EA communities make do not always suit you.

For some reason, you might not find that you want to give to the GiveWell-recommended charities. Or maybe you find that animal welfare is not the cause that you want to specifically impact on.

Perhaps you've figured that you want to take a high-impact career path in research or advocacy but you need a bit more guidance to decide on the work to do. 

This is when we try to do cause prioritisation for ourselves. 

  1. If you know which are the cause areas or charities that you are considering, lay your range of options out.
  2. Do more research in these areas. 
  3. Talk to people who have knowledge and experience in these areas you are considering. 
  4. Look at what you've found out with an INT-perspective.
  5. Decide where you can realistically make the greatest impact on. 
  6. Start working on it! 

Book a session if you want us to go through with you one-on-one. We will lend you our EA-mindedness. → 

If you'd like to discuss with someone in our community, join our next EA meetup. We are here to support each other's efforts to do more good.