At 80,000 Hours, we want to reach more people with our research about how to have a greater social impact with your career.

If you think our advice is useful, or you’ve benefited from it in the past, we hope you’ll agree that reaching more people in our target audience could be pretty good.

So how can you help us do that?

It’s pretty simple: tell a friend about us who you think could be interested.

Historically, 1/3 of the people who've made the most impactful career changes because of us said that they first heard about us either through a friend, or through the EA community. So telling a friend has a good track record.

It might also be really quick and easy to do. We reckon it could be the highest-expected-impact three minutes of your week.

Right now, we’re running a book giveaway, where anyone who signs up to our newsletter can get a free physical book mailed to them which introduces ideas we think are important to planning a high-impact career – they get to choose between:

  • The Precipice
  • Doing Good Better
  • The 80,000 Hours career guide

So if your friend would be interested in one of those books, signing up for our newsletter might be a pretty easy sell!

They’d also get emails from us, with:

  • One idea every 2 weeks about how they can have a greater impact
  • Job openings we’re excited about
  • Opportunities to get involved with the community.

Thanks so much for helping us help more people to solve the world’s most pressing problems!

Appendix A: What kind of friend should I tell?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably exactly the kind of person we would like to reach (or would be, if you didn’t already know about us).

And it’s likely that your friends are pretty similar to you. So, one plausible answer is just, ‘all your friends!’

But if you want more detail, or help generating people to send our link, then here are some heuristics: [1]

  • Aged 18-30, or ideally 18-25
  • Interested in doing good (especially with their career)
  • Ambitious, talented, driven
  • Inclined towards optimisation

Appendix B: Why do you think telling a friend has high expected value?

If your friend finds out about 80,000 Hours, and then goes on to switch their career to something that’s higher impact than what they would have done otherwise, that's very valuable! Depending on how far along in their career your friend is, it could be anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 more hours dedicated to high impact areas.

Of course, most people who hear about us won’t make a significant change in their plans. But some will.

Using historical data, it looks like about 1 in 300 of our newsletter subscribers have made a change to their career plans that we counted as significant. If you only count the plan changes we think might be the very most impactful, then it’s more like 1 in 10,000.

If you want to dig into the data, you can check out our annual reviews - there, you can see how many people we've helped change plans and how many people we've historically reached.

Since telling your friends about us is so quick and easy (just send them to 80k.link/forum), it seems like maybe even a small chance of changing their plans is solidly worth your time.

You might reasonably disagree - especially if you value your time very highly (and maybe you should!) - but we think for at least lots of readers it's worth quickly thinking of a few people you could send our way.

Thanks so much for your help!


  1. They don’t need to have all of these traits, or even any of them. These characteristics describe somebody we would be really really keen to speak to, but it’s potentially good for us to speak to people with different traits, too. ↩︎

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Really excited to see what results y'all get from this! Is there a suggested message or template?

(also - I've seen FB ads for this, which I adore and find a bit funny.)

edit: below is a template version of the message I sent a friend, without my personal notes. HIGHLY recommend personalizing (e.g., since my friend knows I help lead an EA group, I mentioned that 80k is how I came across EA).

Hey XX, since you are looking for jobs and interested in helping make a positive difference in the world, I thought you might be interested in this book giveaway! 80k.link/forum

If you sign up to their newsletter, you get to pick from 3 free books:
- The Precipice
- Doing Good Better
- The 80,000 Hours career guide

You'll also receive updates like
- One idea every 2 weeks about how to have a greater impact
- Job openings we’re excited about
- Opportunities to get involved with the community

That looks like a good template - thanks for making it & for sharing!

it looks like about 1 in 300 of our newsletter subscribers have made a change to their career plans that we counted as significant

 

I'd add that we get a lot of random newsletter subscribers on the website. I think forum readers could sign up people who are far more likely to good fit for our advice than average, and therefore much more likely to make an impactful career change than the baserate.

 

Edit: The stat is also the rate of people who have changed in the past, rather than the fraction who will ever make a plan change. On the other hand, it's only a correlation, and we're not sure about the casual impact of the newsletter.

Edit: Some other stats: on average 20-35% of people open each newsletter and the annual unsubscribe rate is under 15%, which implies the average tenure is 6.7 years. During a giveaway, I'd expect there to be an initial spike of unsubscriptions by people who only signed up for the book, but after that for reading to be similar to long-term averages. Pasts efforts of these kinds have also seemed useful in subs who stick around but it's often hard to untangle.

I recommend making an Instagram account and posting about the book giveaway there.

I think sharing things like this to my Instagram story is particularly low effort, convenient, has a good reach and doesn’t feel preachy.