Many members of the effective altruism community see making a difference primarily in terms of moving money to fill funding gaps rather than moving talent to fill talent gaps. This seems to me to be one of the community’s more serious mistakes, which causes us to:
- Put too much weight on earning to give and fundraising.
- Put too little weight on gaining expertise and developing the skills needed for direct work.
- Overlook pressing causes that aren’t funding constrained.
In the rest of the post, I’ll:
- Outline what I mean by talent gaps.
- Suggest why the community might be biased towards focusing on funding gaps.
- Argue there are whole cause areas we’ve completely overlooked due to this focus.
- Argue that many of the causes the community does support are also more talent constrained than funding constrained.
- Argue that the importance of talent constraints compared to funding constraints is likely to increase over the next 2-5 years.
- Argue further that this imbalance is likely to persist in the long-term.
- Consider some of the arguments against focusing on talent gaps.
- Give ideas for what the community should do differently in order to focus more on talent gaps. In particular, I’ll outline who should earn to give and who shouldn’t, and list the greatest talent needs within the community.