Intentional Insights Annual Report 2016

Caption: Agnes Vishnevkin and Gleb Tsipursky, Co-Founders of Intentional Insights. Photo by Adam Cairns, The Columbus Dispatch.

The main problem facing our world is people, organizations, and governments failing to assess reality accurately and make good decisions. To address this problem, Intentional Insights (InIn) promotes research-based strategies for rational thinking, emotional and social intelligence, wise decision-making, and goal achievement. Generous contributions of time and money from our supporters makes this work possible, and we are very glad that we can help these folks channel their resources to accomplish their desired vision for the world.

This report describes what our volunteers and donors made possible over this last year, and where we plan to go in the coming months based on discussions with our supporters, such as the November 2016 InIn Stakeholder Meeting. This year we covered a variety of topics, such as politics, effective giving, decision-making, and leadership and organizational development, among others. Our articles popularizing science-based approaches to all areas of life were published in a variety of popular venues. We appeared on network TV, radio stations, podcasts, and videocasts to spread these ideas. We also shared our content with over forty thousand followers via multiple social media platforms, an e-newsletter, our blog, and our YouTube channel. All this was made possible by contributions of time from our volunteers, who did editing, writing, research, provided advice on a variety of topics, connected us with their contacts, and helped in many other ways. Financial contributions from our donors were vital in paying for contractors who worked on social media management, graphics, video editing, and a host of other areas, as well as paying for high-quality video production, administrative and legal fees, and other financial needs. While contributions of both time and money are valuable, we are currently most lacking financial support, and that is our biggest hurdle to making an even bigger impact than we are currently making.

This annual report starts with a narrative describing highlights of our work in 2016, followed by numbers describing our accomplishments, and ending with our anticipated financial needs for the next year.


The US presidential election provided a perfect opportunity to promote rational decision-making and emotional intelligence in politics. In one of our TV appearances, we provided commentary on the third presidential debate for an affiliate of Fox. We discussed ways in which politicians use the psychology of persuasion to manipulate voters and how to avoid being influenced by such tactics.

We also appeared on TV to provide commentary on the first presidential debate on an affiliate of ABC and on the second presidential debate on an of affiliate Fox. We used the opportunity presented by the presidential debates to talk about how one can manage one’s emotions and use various research-based strategies to convey their message most effectively. Our other radio appearances included KGO 810 (San Francisco, California), KRLD NewsRadio 1080 (Dallas, Texas), and 700 WLW (Cincinnati, Ohio), among others.

We also placed several of our pieces in prominent venues, such as TIME, Salon, The Conversation, The Plain Dealer, and The Dallas Morning News.


Our new animated video titled “Effective Giving” received over 9,100 views on Facebook and YouTube. It describes how emotional pictures and stories pull us to donate, yet these stories and pictures have little to do with effectiveness of the nonprofit. Thus, folks who make decisions about giving based on pictures and stories are often misled into giving to nonprofits that focus their resources on marketing as opposed to solving social problems. The video then suggests several watchdog groups that serve as consumer reports for charities focusing on evaluating the effectiveness of each nonprofit in using its resources to make the most positive social impact. We are especially proud of this high-quality video, which was made possible by generous in-kind and financial contributions from supporters passionate about spreading effective giving messages broadly.

Another accomplishment we want to highlight is our article in TIME, which discussed effective giving in the context of the scandal which revealed that the Wounded Warrior Project spent millions of donor dollars on first-class airfare and employee retreats instead of addressing the needs of veterans. We also published a prominent piece in The Chronicle of Philanthropy about how nonprofits can use emotionally intelligent communication to address the negative impact of the Trump Foundation scandal, a series of articles for The Life You Can Save’s blog on various aspects of effective giving; and a very popular piece in Salon on basic income. We conducted several presentations on effective giving, such as this Giving Game event at the Ohio State University, and this presentation about the principles of effective giving. We also interviewed a number of folks involved in effective giving for our videocast and podcast, including prominent activists and everyday participants.


We have started creating more short videos based on feedback from our supporters. One of these videos is a brief overview of the 4 basic strategies we can use to prevent thinking errors from clouding our decision-making. These strategies include getting an outside perspective, considering alternatives, establishing decision criteria in advance of considering the decision itself, and accounting for overconfidence. Unfortunately, the audio quality was not great, so we subtitled this video. We hope that donations from our generous supporters will enable us to purchase better recording equipment to make higher-quality videos in the future.

We distribute our videos both through our own channels, and through partnerships with other venues. For instance, the video above was distributed by the popular self-improvement website Dumb Little Man. We did a number of longer and more in-depth videos in the form of videotaped presentations on topics such as managing one’s feelings to make wise decisions, addressing overconfidence, the relationship between religion and rational decision-making, dealing with grief rationally, and combining intuitive and reflective decision-making. We are especially proud of this video, where one of our volunteers described how much she gained from improving her decision-making about her emotions.

We also published a number of articles related to decision-making. Highlights include our articles about investing wisely in Psychology Today, making decisions about your personal finances in The Huffington Post, assessing extremely rare events in Psychology Today, evaluating others accurately in Patheos, managing one’s identity in Lifehack, building strong relationships in Elite Daily, and many others.


We have been working on content to bring research-based rational thinking, wise decision-making, and emotional and social intelligence strategies into the professional world. One outcome is a video workshop series on developing a meaningful and fulfilling workplace. Research shows that a workplace that provides a rich sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment increases employee motivation and engagement, decreases turnover, reduces sick days by improving physical and mental health, improves teamwork, and has a number of other benefits - all of which lead a higher bottom line.

We have built out this videotaped workshop into a full online course in partnership with Humanist Learning Systems, and it is available for credit for Human Resources Professionals (HRCI, SHRM, AHRI, CHRP, CHRL, CHRE), Certified Professionals in Learning and Performance (CPLP), Life Coaches and Conflict Coaches (ICF), and Certified Legal Managers (CLM). We also presented a workshop for therapists on helping them communicate with clients effectively. We published several articles on leadership and organizational development, including for Lead Change Group on leadership and emotional intelligence, and for Psychology Today on using emotional intelligence to address fears of public speaking. We revised the latter for The Conversation with a focus on what people can learn about public speaking from presidential candidates, and had a radio appearance on NPR about this topic. We also published a piece in Psychology Today on career development.


Our supporters - InIn Insiders - are at the core of our success. They generously give of their time, talent, and treasure to build a more rational world. Over the past year they edited articles, led projects, participated in board meetings, and made generous financial contributions. If you consider yourself an active supporters of Intentional Insights, please join our InIn Insiders Facebook group and email list to connect with other supporters.

All InIn Insiders are invited to participate in our monthly open board meetings and semi-annual stakeholders meetings. These meetings are conducted via Google Hangouts, and you can view the recordings on our YouTube channel. For example, our most recent stakeholders meeting took place on November 2, 2016, and included a lively discussion of InIn’s accomplishments over the past year and our plans for the coming months.

Throughout 2016, the time, efforts, and donations of our supporters enabled our content to reach millions of people around the world. Thank you to all of our supporters for making this work possible!


Our biggest challenges are to make a positive impact and to be financially sustainable while doing so.

As 2016 comes to a close, we are happy and proud with the impact we’ve been able to make, including our content appearing in high-profile venues like TIME and Salon, and being featured in TV and radio programs around the country.

However, we are struggling to achieve financial sustainability. While many of our supporters make generous donations, they are far from enough to cover the costs of InIn’s daily operations. Fortunately, there has been an improvement in our financial situation: while the two co-founders of the organization used to support about 95% of its financial needs, $39,900 out of $42,000 one year ago, now they are donating around $26,000 or 57%. While this is still not sustainable, it is a definite improvement in our financial situation thanks to our generous donors. We hope that you consider helping the organization become self-sustaining.


Ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of Intentional Insights will be a major focus of our efforts. We plan to invest more resources into various fundraising activities. We will work to connect with more potential donors and invite them to support rational thinking and wise decision-making to address the basic problems facing our society. We will also orient toward generating earned revenue by creating books and tip sheets that will be available for purchase, in addition to continuing to offer our free articles, videos, and other content to meet our mission of reaching a broad audience.

Another focus for the coming year will be to shift some of our resources to promoting rationality in politics. This past election has convinced us of the great need to focus on making our politics less irrational, and the success of our content around the US presidential election shows that we can have a positive impact in this area. For more information, check out the draft Guiding Document of the Rational Politics project.

Finally, we have started work on a new website for Intentional Insights. The new site will help us be more effective in reaching and engaging a bigger audience. We expect the website to be launched in the spring of 2017.

2016 by the Numbers

(Data as of October 15, 2016)
77Blog posts published on the Intentional Insights website
214​Articles published in other venues: TIME, Psychology Today, The Conversation, Salon, Lead Change Group, Lifehack, Elite Daily, The Plain Dealer, The Dallas Morning News, Sun-Sentinel, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Buffalo News, Skeptical Inquirer, Patheos, Alternet, Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Huffington Post and elsewhere
11 Media appearances on TV and radio: Network TV, such as affiliates of ABC and Fox; radio stations such as NPR, KGO (San Francisco), 700WLW (Cincinnati) Sunny 95 (Columbus), KLRD (Dallas), and others.
55 InIn Youtube videos
Social media followers Facebook: 6,200
Facebook (Dr. Gleb Tsipursky): 4,200
Twitter: 12,100
Twitter (Dr. Gleb Tsipursky): 11,900
Pinterest: 6,900
Instagram: 490
2,106 Newsletter subscribers
11,928 Website visitors
899 Users of Find Your Purpose Beta web app
71 Volunteers

Financial Needs for 2017

$45,250 Annual operating costs
$11,200 Content development
$8,700 Social media management
$7,500 Website management
$5,500 Marketing
$4,000 Administrative and legal costs
$3,500 Research
$2,750 Fundraising
$2,200 Travel

Top Financial Priorities for 2016

$45,250 Annual operating costs
$16,000 Donor database and financial software
A donor database and financial software will allow us to streamline daily operations and channel maximum resources toward developing content and engaging with our audience.
$81,000 Full-time staff position (salary and benefits)
At this time the work of Intentional Insights is carried out by a team of volunteers and paid contractors. This arrangement is not sustainable and poses a threat to the success of the organization. Having a full-time staff person will ensure that Intentional Insights will not only survive, but thrive, and make a lasting positive impact on the world.

Thank You!

The positive impact of the past year was made possible by our generous supporters and their contributions of time and money. With your support, we can go a lot further next year!

To help create a more rational, wiser world, please volunteer and make a monthly or one-time tax-deductible donation.

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