Summary of the annual review May 2014

NOTE: This piece is now out of date. More current information on our plans and impact can be found on our Evaluations page.



In this document, we present some concluding comments about our annual review and provide a guide to the rest of the documents. The summary of our previous review is here.

Overview comments

With the end of this annual review, 80,000 Hours has reached an important milestone. Over the last year we performed a major impact evaluation. We found that as of December 2013 we’ve caused 107 ‘significant plan changes’ – a metric we developed to track our impact. You can see some examples here. Given this, we think we’ve achieved initial proof of concept that our prototype online content, coaching and community can change careers. We presented an overview of the evaluation here and an in-depth analysis of the plan changes here. We think this proof of concept is sufficiently compelling to move our focus on to improving the quality of our programs.

On this basis, we’ve focused our strategy. To complete our ‘discovery phase’, for the rest of 2014 we’ll deepen our knowledge of social impact careers through research. We’ll also improve our online content. We’ll do this through successive rounds of coaching people and writing answers to their most pressing questions. We’ll summarise our findings on a series of six research pages, which we’ll submit for external evaluation.

In 2015, we intend to move into our ‘execution phase’, in which we’ll aim to take the model we’ve discovered to its full potential. We envisage initially focusing on further improving the quality of our programs, in particular by writing a careers guide. We aim to finish this in time for the press campaign surrounding the launch of Will MacAskill’s book on effective altruism in August 2015. Securing this book deal with Gotham Books (Penguin US) and Guardian-Faber was another major success of 2013. As part of CEA’s effective altruism outreach project, it may become a major source of new users.

After that, we may move our focus to outreach to ensure our programs connect with our entire target market. Or we may develop further programs, such as training a social impact career coach for every top university.

Ultimately, we want to become the best source of advice in the world for the most talented, young graduates who want to make a positive impact, enabling them to best use their 80,000 hours to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

While our key goals in the discovery phase are clarifying our strategy and testing our programs, we think our impact evaluation showed we’re justifying our costs through the value of the plan changes our users have adopted. Since we think the value of the plan changes we have caused is only a small portion of our total impact, this implies we’ve used resources highly effectively.

Besides proof of concept and focusing our strategy, we had other important achievements, including good progress building the team, fundraising and continued growth in reach and impact.

Overall, we’re very excited about the next year.

Guide to the annual review documents

Our annual review serves multiple audiences, including donors, advisors, potential employees and other organisations who may be able to learn from our mistakes. In addition, this year we combined the annual review with an impact evaluation and strategic review, so this review is particularly long.

The start of each document contains a summary. We’ve sometimes erred on the side of being repetitive so it’s easier to read sections independently.

Below, we present a list of the main documents. These are organised according to the questions you might be interested in. Following this, there is a complete list of all the documents in the review.

Documents by question

1. Where can I get a brief, complete overview of your strategy and plan?

See our summary business plan document. This is primarily for fundraising, but it also gives an introductory overview of 80,000 Hours.

2. What have you worked on over the last year?

See our review of progress. Key metrics for the year are in our review of program performance and costs.

3. What’s the strategy, and how has it changed?

See our strategic review.

To see a brief overview of our business model, see our summary business plan. To see a more in-depth version and an overview of our reasoning behind it, see our business model document.

4. What’s the plan?

To see our priorities for the next year, see the team plan. To understand our big picture plan, see the strategy documents above.

5. What’s the evidence that your programs really help people?

See our review of program performance and costs for an overview. This document is supported by our in-depth evaluation of plan change impact.

6. Has 80,000 Hours been an effective use of resources?

The evaluation of plan change impact gives the evidence that the 107 significant plan changes justify our historical costs, including the opportunity costs of labour.

We think the impact of significant plan changes only accounts for a small proportion of the value we’ve created. We’ve also invested for future growth and built the effective altruism community. Our review of what impact 80,000 Hours has had outlines our overall impact.

7. What’s your financial situation?

See the finance report.

8. I’m interested in donating to 80,000 Hours. What should I read first?

To get an overview, see our summary business plan.

After that, you might like to find out more about our impact by reading the review of program performance and costs and our overview of what impact 80,000 Hours has had. To find out more about our strategy for the future, see the strategic review. You can see our financial situation and fundraising goals in the finance report. Feel free to contact [email protected] if you have any questions.

Complete list of review documents

Impact evaluation

  • Review of program performance and costs – gives an overview of how each stage of our channel is performing and presents our key metrics for 2013.

  • Plan change analysis and cost-effectiveness – analyses how many significant plan changes we’ve caused, and whether the value of these plan changes justifies our historical costs.

  • Earning to give evaluation – presents data on how much people pursuing earning to give are giving, and how much of this is due to 80,000 Hours.

  • What impact has 80,000 Hours had? – gives a brief overview of the different ways in which we may have had an impact since our founding.

  • Coaching evaluation – explains what we did in our most recent round of coaching, how many people made significant plan changes, what we learned about which research questions to focus on, what we can improve and how satisfied people were with the service.

  • Evaluation of our impact survey – presents the results of our survey of users about how 80,000 Hours has changed their careers, and key demographic information.

Strategic review

  • The strategic review – explains how our strategy has changed over time, our big picture plan, and the key strategic decisions we face.

  • Business model overview – presents our complete business model with an overview of the evidence behind it.

  • Coaching requests analysis – summarises key demographic information so we can better understand our market.

Annual review

Our previous review is here.