Here’s perhaps the most powerful thing you can do to have more impact: join a good community.
Joining a community is like networking on steroids – you can meet hundreds of people at once. Moreover, 1,000 people working together can achieve far more than 1,000 times as much.
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.
This community is not for everyone, but many of our readers have found the connections they made extremely helpful. Personally, we’ve met some of the most intelligent, impressive and altruistic people in our lives through the community.
We explain more about why to get involved in the career guide:
How to get involved
The easiest thing to do right now is to join the effective altruism newsletter. You’ll be sent a couple of emails that introduce the key ideas; a monthly update on new research; and be notified of the key conferences each year.
For a more popular introduction, check out Doing Good Better, a book by our co-founder Will MacAskill (though it’s a little out of date), or his TED talk. Steven Levitt, the author of Freakonomics, said the book “should be required reading for anyone interested in making the world better”.
Ways to meet people
Once you’re up to speed, try to meet people in-person, since this is how to find connections that can really help your career. The best way to do this is to attend an Effective Altruism Global conference. There are over 10 each year all over the world. To be notified of the latest dates, join the effective altruism newsletter.
When 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 in your career (e.g. if you want to start an organisation, meet people who started one last year).
When you’re getting involved, look for “five-minute favours” – quick ways you can help someone else in the community. There are probably some small things you can do that will be a great help to someone else in the community, such as 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 community. These are, roughly in descending order of size: San Francisco, London / Oxford / Cambridge, Berlin, Boston, Melbourne / Sydney, New York and Vancouver. Read more about why and how to visit.