In October, we gained 105 new Giving What We Can pledges, more than double the number for October 2015, and gained 6,863 newsletter subscribers (including the remaining Student Freshers’ Fair imports).
We ran a week-long retreat in Barcelona to bring everyone together in one place. This was a valuable space to think big about future strategy, work on intra-divisional projects and build relationships.
We’ve also been invited to interview in mid-December with Y Combinator, the world’s leading startup incubator, which has produced companies including Airbnb, Dropbox, and Reddit. We’ll soon begin our fundraising round and have begun preparing.
As a result of the election, the last week has been tough for many members of staff. We took a couple of days to reflect on what happened, discuss how the new presidency affects strategy for CEA and the EA movement, and spend time together as a team. Many members of the team had taken some time off to campaign for Hillary, and their phone banking team was in the top five teams worldwide for calls. Ultimately, the result and our worries about its impact on foreign aid spending, farm animal welfare, global catastrophic risks and the nature of democratic institutions, just make our resolve to make the world better even stronger.
For more details on the projects we’re working on, positions we’re hiring for and our metrics dashboard please see below.
New members per month over the last 12 months
This month we got 105 pledges, one short of our September number but still very strong for any month outside giving season, and more than double the number of members for October 2015.
Total newsletter subscribers by month
We continued to benefit from the automations and adverts we’ve set up as the last imports of the over 5,000 subscriptions from university chapter events.
Unfortunately, we are experiencing some discrepancies in the dates associated with subscriptions and the total numbers reported which Mailchimp (our email marketing software) acknowledge is an outstanding issue their end. This means some growth is incorrectly associated with existing subscribers appearing in November so we've had to use total subscribers to show it.
IN-DEPTH UPDATES FROM ACROSS CEA
We are excited to have an interview with Y Combinator in mid-December. We will find out on the day of the interview whether or not we will be accepted into their three-month startup incubator programme starting in January 2017.
Networking and Media
We have had a number of meetings with very high net worth individuals who are interested in using a significant proportion or most of their wealth on philanthropy; this included two philanthropy salons in London. Our opportunities in this area have increased significantly since the launch of Doing Good Better; it’s an area we may focus more on in the future.
We are advertising for four positions:
- Executive Assistant
- Office Manager for our UK office
- Director of US Operations
- Assistant Producer within our Events Team
Please think of anyone you know who might be interested, and encourage them to apply.
COMMUNITY AND OUTREACH DIVISION
The Community and Outreach Division is focussed on inspiring people to become actively involved in effective altruism. This means reaching out to new audiences as well as equipping the existing community with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to do the most good. We work closely with the Special Projects Division to share new ideas in this space.
Online Infrastructure and Marketing Team
The Online Infrastructure and Marketing team have been developing an introduction to effective altruism email series for new newsletter subscribers. We are currently testing different content that covers the core concepts in effective altruism. We have also set up an archive of all previous newsletters as a community resource. The most recent newsletter included new content on Cause X.
A third of charitable donations normally take place in December, so the team are working on content to help people think about where to donate, incentives for people to start conversations about effective altruism (including working with members on the Giving What We Can pledge drive), and key improvements to our websites to make donations and pledges easier.
Community, Chapters, and Events Team
Giving What We Can Trust
The Giving What We Can Trust, set up and managed by staff at CEA, collected £380,000 in donations during the previous quarter and is preparing to regrant these to effective charities.
Learning the lessons from the review of EA Global 2016 and our location survey we are leaning towards having three distinct events, tentatively located across Boston or Cambridge, London, and the Bay Area, likely spread out across May, July / August, and October 2017.
We’re also improving our EAGx process using feedback from participants and organisers of successful events in Flanders, Belgium and Berlin, Germany. We plan to encourage groups to run day-long events by default, offer grants upfront and we will make conference resources publicly available on the eaglobal.org website for the whole community to use.
Student Activities Fairs generated over 5,000 Newsletter signups in total and we’re solidifying our back office support with help of intern Harri Besceli.
I wrote recently about the importance of setting norms and values in the community following the post about Intentional Insights that documented some ways in which they acted out of line with EA values. In the post, I proposed creating both a set of EA guiding values and a community panel that investigates and makes recommendations on potential egregious violations of those principles. This is an area that seems crucially important as EA grows, but also poses significant risks, depending on the implementation. Julia Wise and I have been speaking to members of the community about whether and how to take this forward and would appreciate any thoughts that you have.
SPECIAL PROJECTS DIVISION
The Special Projects Division’s mission is to improve our understanding of how to do the most good in the world and to bring those ideas to the people best positioned to implement them. Below are a few highlights from the individual teams over the past month.
The research fundamentals team has collectively focused on developing a conceptual map of the key ideas in effective altruism, which will be available on effectivealtruism.org later this year.
Max Dalton also joined us this month. Max received a first class degree from Oxford in philosophy, politics, and economics and a masters in economics from the University of York. He’ll work on several projects, including with Owen Cotton-Barratt on creating quantitative cause prioritisation models.
The philanthropic advising team continued researching potentially promising funding opportunities in suicide prevention, science funding, and evidence-based policy in low-income countries. They also advised Alwaleed Philanthropies, a $30 billion foundation focused on global humanitarianism, on its grantmaking and introduced it to potential partners.
Sebastian Farquhar and Toby Ord have continued consulting for the UK government in a variety of areas. Sebastian has also been working with researchers from the Future of Humanity Institute on a biosafety policy paper.
Oxford Institute for Effective Altruism
Jon Courtney joined Michelle Hutchinson this month to help set up an academic institute at Oxford to focus on effective altruism. The team submitted a grant application to Oxford University, which, if successful, would fund Michelle’s salary for two years. The application was very well received by the Oxford faculty.