Announcing the 2019-20 Donor Lottery

Posted on Monday, December 2nd 2019
(last updated Tuesday, December 29th 2020)

(See this page for up-to-date information on any lotteries we are currently running.)

In advance of this year’s giving season, EA Funds will once again run a donor lottery.

Donor lotteries provide donors with a chance to guide a large amount of money to projects they believe will do the most good.

There will be two open lotteries, one with a block size of $100,000 and one with a block size of $500,000. Carl Shulman will provide backstop funding for the lotteries from his discretionary funds held at the Centre for Effective Altruism.

If you’d like to read more about the process, please have a look at the EA Funds Donor Lotteries page. The TL;DR is:

  • You donate into one of the open lotteries
  • Your odds of winning are proportional to the size of your donation relative to the lottery block size
  • A winner is chosen at random
  • The winner may recommend grants to charitable organisations or other projects aimed at improving the world (subject to certain limitations), up to the value of the lottery block size

Key dates (both lotteries):

  • Open date: Monday, 2 December 2019
  • Close date: Friday, 17 January 2020 (date by which all entries must have been made through the EA Funds website)
  • Lock date: Friday, 24 January 2020 (date by which EA Funds must have confirmed receipt of money for entires to be valid)
  • Draw date: Friday, 31 January 2020

All dates are at 8pm UTC

To enter the lottery, make a donation via the EA Funds Donor Lottery page for the block size of your choice:

Enter the Donor Lottery

You can donate directly through the EA Funds interface. Donations are tax deductible in the United States and the United Kingdom (donors in the Netherlands can also make tax-deductible donations in £GBP by choosing the ‘UK’ option on the payment page).

If you’d like to make a cryptocurrency donation worth over $1,000 (BTC or ETH) please contact for more details.

Making recommendations

Winners will have the option to make recommendations to the Centre for Effective Altruism, which is the legal entity backing EA Funds. However, CEA may face constraints in the particular organisations that it can make grants to, and is likely to be somewhat averse to approving riskier grants. To allow for more flexibility, we’ll also offer potential winners in the US or the UK the option of setting up a Donor Advised Fund that can handle the grantmaking instead (if a winner arises in another country we’ll explore options for setting up a similar system, but can’t guarantee that this will be possible). If you win a lottery block, we’ll talk to you about your preferences.

For more information, please see the ‘Caveats and Limitations’ section of the Donor Lottery page.

Previous donor lotteries:

  • 2017-18: a $100,000 lottery, won by Adam Gleave, who generously published a report on his grant recommendations
  • 2018-19: a $100,000 lottery (no winners) and a $500,000 lottery won by an anonymous donor (grant decision in progress)

Further reading: