After a lot of deliberation, I just donated a substantial chunk of money to the Against Malaria Foundation. I plan to also make a larger donation to a meta-charity.
I am leaning towards the Center for Applied Rationality - while they are not directly focused on philanthropy I think they are most likely to systematically create effective people who care. This is a tough judgment call. I think compelling cases can be made for donating to Leverage, Centre for Effective Altruism, and SI. Most of them seem to be working on common causes, and it sounds like it doesn't make a huge difference which one you donated to. They all seem like they're en route to secure funding for the immediate future so there's a little time to evaluate them more.
I know that splitting your donations is pretty blatantly unwise - this isn't a trust fund where you, as an individual, need to make sure to have both "stable" sources of altruism and "high variance" sources. Everyone is contributing to the same general cause of "goodness". We should be donating to whatever has the most expected value.
But I feel like having made one significant donation to a project that I know is cost effective (AMF) takes a huge load off my chest. I know I've done some real, something that is definitely going to help someone. And it's easier in casual conversation with most people to explain malaria than it is to explain to recursive self improvement, which I think has some real benefits.
If you have strong opinions on which meta-organization to donate to (or if you think there are important organizations that I'm not even considering), you still have a few days to influence me.