Last updated: 8th November, 2023
Interested in starting an effective altruism group in your city, workplace, university, or country? Here are four steps for getting started:
1. Get familiar with effective altruism
We recommend organisers have a level of EA knowledge at least equivalent to that of an introductory EA fellowship graduate and are in the process of learning more in-depth EA ideas. If you feel you don’t yet have this level of knowledge, then we recommend you take some time to grow your knowledge before starting the group.
Probably the best way to gain this knowledge is to join an Introductory Virtual Program ran by CEA. This is very useful even if you already have extensive EA knowledge. It is great preparation for facilitating discussions about EA, and you'd be well equipped if you choose to run a similar course in the future. There are also In-Depth Virtual Programs that are also recommended for organisers.
To learn by yourself, you can work through the EA Handbook, which covers very similar content to the Introductory Virtual Program.
2. Get connected with the effective altruism community
There are lots of ways to get connected to the community (see key contacts and things we recommend you sign up to). Many groups are on Facebook, but the most useful resources are probably the EA Forum and the EA Newsletter, so if you aren't a Facebook user you can still get most of the community connections.
We also recommend joining the online group EA Anywhere. This is the local EA group for people that don't have their own local group. By attending their events, you can network with others in the community and get a bit of a feeling about how EA groups operate. In fact, some people interested in starting a group have joined EA Anywhere and had a stint helping to organise the group and facilitate discussions - this would be good preparation for running your own group!
Additionally, we suggest joining the EA Online Events Facebook group or signing up to the International EA events Google Calendar, and spending a bit of time going to events and meeting people! You may also want to consider attending an EA Global or EAGx event near you.
3. Making an informed decision about starting a group
Starting a group isn’t for everyone. In general, we think you’ll be well-suited to start a group if you have:
- The ability to connect with a range of other people, and make them feel welcome.
- A solid understanding of effective altruism so that you can explain EA concepts well and answer questions from community members in an accurate and nuanced way (see CEA’s fidelity model of spreading ideas).
- Organisational skills
- Time available to organise the group
- Resilience in the face of challenges!
For university students, it's helpful if you aren't about to graduate within the next year, and have enough time to recruit members so that the group can continue after you graduate. If you are going to graduate soon, it is probably better to focus on finishing your studies, and perhaps advertising the Introductory Virtual Program at your university.
If your team has a combination of the above attributes, you'll be set up! If you're not sure about any of these attributes, feel free to contact the Centre for Effective Altruism's Groups team on email@example.com and we’ll be happy to chat about them.
It helps to have at least one co-organiser to share the load. You might be able to find co-organisers or potential group members in your area by:
- Searching for nearby groups on the EA Forum Community page.
- Searching for nearby people on the EA Hub or the EA Forum Community page.
- Posting on the EA Forum or EA Facebook group.
- Asking contacts you might have in the EA community.
- Asking CEA's Groups team (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out if other people in your area have been in touch with CEA.
4. Get in touch with CEA's Groups Team
Once you've considered the above steps and have decided you want to start a group, or if you just have more questions, then get in touch with CEA's Groups Team. Here's where to email depending on which type of group you want to start:
- University group: email@example.com
- All other groups (e.g. city, national, profession-based, city-uni hybrid groups, etc.): firstname.lastname@example.org