Joining a community can be one of the best ways to increase your impact. First, it can enable you to make hundreds of connections in one go. Second, a group of people working together can have more impact than they could individually.
This is why, back in 2012, we helped to found the effective altruism community. It’s a group of people devoted to using evidence and reason to figure out the most effective ways to help others — whether through donations, political advocacy, or their careers.
Many of our readers have made crucial connections within the effective altruism community. Personally, we’ve met some of the most intelligent, impressive, and altruistic people in our lives through it.
The easiest way to get involved
The easiest thing to do right now is to join the Effective Altruism Newsletter, which is a project of the Centre for Effective Altruism. You’ll receive an introduction to the key ideas, a monthly update on new research, and notices of key conferences each year.
This box subscribes you to the Effective Altruism Newsletter, not our newsletter!
Below are some more ways to learn more and get involved.
Learn more about effective altruism
If you want to learn more about the ideas behind the community, you have a choice of introductions:
You can also read Will MacAskill’s Doing Good Better. Steven Levitt, the author of Freakonomics, said the book “should be required reading for anyone interested in making the world better.” The book is more focused on measurable global health interventions than we are today, but discusses the same principles. Will also has a more recent TED talk.
Meet people interested in effective altruism
Once you’re more up to speed, try to meet others interested in the movement (in person or virtually), and ask those people for more introductions.
How to meet people in person
We think the best way to meet people in person is to attend an EAGx (Effective Altruism Global x) conference, which are locally organised conferences for people interested in effective altruism. EAGx conferences have taken place in cities around the world, including Nairobi, Norway, Hong Kong, Sydney, Boston, and many others.
You can also attend a local group event in your city or university. Find nearby groups here.
If you’re a university student, we especially recommend meeting people in a similar position to you via your university’s student group. See if your school has an active group at the link above.
You could also attend an Effective Altruism Global conference. EA Globals are the biggest gatherings of people interested in effective altruism each year, and usually take place in London and San Francisco. It’s oriented towards people who are already familiar with the ideas, and are able to travel to those cities.
Find more in-person and online events.
How to meet people online
If you’d prefer to meet people virtually, we recommend Effective Altruism Virtual Programs, where you’ll be grouped with a handful of other people to discuss the core ideas over several weeks. New programmes start each month.
Some other options:
Some more tips on meeting people
Start by aiming to meet people in a similar situation to yourself, since there will often be opportunities to help each other. Then, try to speak to people who are one or two steps ahead of you on your career path (e.g. if you want to start an organisation, meet people who started one last year).
We have more advice on how to build connections in our article on personal development. One idea is to look for ‘five-minute favours’ — quick ways you can help someone else in the community, like making an introduction or telling them about a book. This will both have an impact and let you meet even more people.
Another way to get more involved is to visit, or even move to, one of the hubs of the effective altruism community. In roughly descending order of size, these are: the London / Oxford / Cambridge area, the San Francisco Bay Area, Berlin, Boston, New York, Vancouver, Melbourne, and Sydney. Read more about why and how to visit.
See more tips on how to get involved.
There are many other great communities that can help you have more impact, or be more successful. What matters is that you find your people — collaborators you can learn from and work with.
We discuss communities and career planning, including a list of some other communities our readers have found helpful, in our full article on career planning.