[Question] How do you evaluate whether a $500 donation to a project that you know well is a good idea?

At habryka’s recent office hours he made the point that it’s really hard for a big grand-giving organization like the Long-Term Future Fund (LTFF) to fund certain projects. While good rationalist culture for example is valuable, funding culture by committee in a top-down way is problematic. The people with local knowledge of a cultural project are in a better position to judge whether or not a given rationalist culture project is valuable enough that it should be funded then a grant committee like that of the LTFF.

Given that LTFF and OpenPhil have access to a lot of financial captial these days for very rich individuals, the scare resources these days isn’t primarily money but local knowledge about which projects are worthwhile. This suggests that individuals who have a small donation budget and access to a lot of local knowledge of individual projects are more effective when they make use of their scarce resources of local knowledge instead of donating to money to big grant making organizations.

While giving money to big grant makers is straightforward, giving money to small projects is harder. How should an individual who has a yearly donation budget of <$10,000 go about evaluating local projects for donating an amount like $500 to them?