People: Tee Barnett, Baxter Bullock
Slack channel: shic.slack.com
Development Stage: fully operational and looking for funding
See a more detailed overview of SHIC here.
Students For High-Impact Charity has launched a global network of classes and extracurricular clubs dedicated to exploring how effective altruism can inspire students to maximize their prosocial impact.
We envision a global network of secondary and university students with the technical ability to thrive in the real world and the vision to make it a better place for others.
Our program provides an official curriculum, school accreditation, attentive staff support, career development guidance, and a web-based platform for SHIC clubs to flourish worldwide.
As a venture proposition, SHIC enjoys several advantages relative to typical startups. Most notably, we’ve launched as an independent .impact initiative under the foundational umbrella of Charity Science, allowing for our program to operate with charitable status. Moving forward, we plan to pivot to a social venture model by leveraging multiple avenues for revenue generation.
Initial Growth and Impact
We interpret coordinator and ambassador demand as a proxy for general student demand, and after launching officially in mid-March, this demand has already outstripped our expectations. We originally forecasted half a dozen pilot commitments by mid-May; we’ve since doubled that. Several others have committed to integrating SHIC curriculum into their elective classes, including two school teachers in New Zealand and Vancouver who will reach from 30-40 students between them. Our optimistic projections rest at 75 groups launched by year-end 2016, 50 as a best guess, and 25 as a lower bound estimate. Considering the progress made since our April launch date, we will almost certainly outpace our lower bound estimates.
As the only meta-charity dedicated to influencing and tracking the giving behavior of secondary school students, we are acutely aware of the importance of striking a balance between organizational cost-effectiveness and optimizing for long-run impact.
Our uniquely cost-effective organizational structure and scalability potential suggests that SHIC can make a severely disproportionate impact relative to operations investment. And because we own the niche for bringing effective altruism to secondary school students, there remains ample room for growth. Our immediate impact includes regular student fundraising initiatives, published research and analysis on collected metrics, and reinforcement of STEM education. We cultivate long-term impact primarily with club membership, activities that shape future giving behaviors and career development.
SHIC consciously avoided replicating the model of long-term dependence on individual donors and institutional grants, electing instead to support effective charity directly while harnessing the considerable potential for generating self-sustaining revenue – an approach that is uniquely appealing to the EA community. The end game for SHIC, in this respect, is financial support from thousands of educational entities that allows our program to scale and remain sustainable. Although we will need that initial boost from the EA community to launch, SHIC fully intends to free up initial donors to pursue other worthwhile effective causes once our organization becomes self-sustaining.
Our revenue generation mechanism borrows the more potent aspects of the Kickstarter model, soliciting financial support from schools by offering a multi-tiered system of valuable goods and services in return. Our curriculum is the primary value added, and all schools, regardless of their level of support, will receive the basic curriculum, attentive staff support for ambassadors and teachers, access to our web-based community, and various means of seeing tangible reflections of student involvement. For example, each school and its respective ambassador are highlighted on our website, and we will have real-time rankings for all fundraising that schools conduct on behalf of effective charities.
SHIC and Movement Building
SHIC sees student recruitment as an essential force multiplier in movement building, the expected value of which far exceeds the initial investment. Our program is particularly well-placed to inspire a uniquely counterfactual shift in the next generation of global citizens, operating as far more than a civics club.
A lack of growth in the EA movement directly results in untold sums of money misallocated to less impactful causes. Few things are more vital than informing the next generation of this opportunity cost. Charities with substantial marketing capabilities, and seemingly the entire private sector, understand how vital it is to make an impression at an early age. Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of youth programs in shaping charitable giving behaviors (please contact us for citations). Effective Altruism, despite having strong roots in academia, has yet to make a concerted effort below the university level in this respect, and massive potential counterfactual returns both for effective charities and the movement as a whole have remained untapped.
Our ultimate goal is to embed the SHIC curriculum within the institutional fabric of secondary education across the globe. We posit that a failure to do so will produce yet another generation with a tenuous grasp on what it truly means to do good. A healthy foundation of young adults familiar with effective altruism, on the other hand, could only accelerate this paradigm shift. A larger pool of students well-versed in potent interventions and earning to give could amplify resources and quality human capital flowing within the movement. An open empirical question remains, however, as to whether a program dedicated to expanding the next generation of Effective Altruists is worth the investment. We see SHIC as best suited to address these questions at this particular point in time.
You can schedule a time to chat with Tee and Baxter, or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to join our growing effort to build SHIC!