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 2011, 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. (And you can get a free physical copy by signing up for our newsletter.)
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. Here are some tips on getting started:
Meet people interested in effective altruism
How to meet people in person
We think the best way to meet people in person is to attend an Effective Altruism Global(x) conference. Click the link to see all upcoming events.
The EAGx series are locally organised conferences aimed at people new to the community. EAGx conferences have taken place in cities around the world, including Nairobi, Norway, Hong Kong, Sydney, Boston, as well as virtually.
If you’ve already had some involvement in the community, you could attend an EAG event. They usually take place annually in London and San Francisco, and there are travel grants available.
Besides conferences, there are also hundreds of effective altruism groups at cities and universities around the world — if you’re a student, we especially recommend getting involved in your university group. To see if there’s a group near you, search this directory.
Finally, here’s a list of other 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.
Here are 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:
- The biggest hubs are the San Francisco Bay Area (especially if you’re interested in AI) and Oxford in the UK.
- Also consider Boston/Cambridge (Massachusetts) for biorisk or Washington DC for US policy.
- There are also less concentrated hubs in London, Cambridge (UK), and New York, among other cities.
Read more about why and how to visit.
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.