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TLDR/summary:

I (Gergő) started EA Hungary as a paid organizer in mid-September 2021. In one year, we’ve had 100+ intro fellowship applicants, 88 of whom completed it successfully. We have run other fellowships, from whom around 20 people have benefited. I have had about 110 calls, most of which were oriented on career support for the new members. EA Hungary brought counterfactually ~35 people to EAGx conferences and organized a retreat for 20 students. EA Hungary hired the second employee (Dia) in July, doing ~0.5 FTE.

The aim of this post is to share the progress of EA Hungary in its first year (2021 Oct to 2022 Sept) I wrote this up with the intent of helping those who are starting a new group (hence the chronological order). If you are only interested in the main outcomes, read the tables. I hope this will be useful. 

Background and how I got funding 

I learned about EA sometime in 2020 and while attending the EAGxVirtual (13 – 14 June 2020), I met a few other people based in Hungary. We had the first in-person meetup in August 2020, with 6 people. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, so we carried on with online meetups about once per month. We ran the intro fellowship for existing members (7 people), followed by the in-depth fellowship (4 people).

During this time (and afterwards) I was supported by Catherine Low from CEA, from whom I learned a lot (∼1 call every 1,5 months).

In the meantime, I was also volunteering for SoGive as a charity analyst and then as an analysis coordinator (teaching people basic charity analysis + operations work). I learned a lot from this and I think it really sped up my involvement within EA. My experience with SoGive also helped me start and run EA Hungary more effectively, as I have already gained some operations and mentoring experience.

In the fall of 2021, I started a second Master’s in Philosophy at ELTE - (Eötvös Loránd University).

Thanks to these activities mentioned above, I had a strong enough track record[1] to apply for funding from EAIF  to do 0.5 FTE, (although this upscaled to full-time pretty quickly).

(I also have this story presented in memes, don’t ask why.)

2021 Fall semester (from 2021 Mid-Sept to 2022 January)

Main outcomes: 

(Where you see gaps it means that I didn’t record the exact numbers/data)

8-week intro Fellowship:  
Number of applicants:

26

Data
Number of people successfully completing the fellowship

22

 
Number of people who filled out the completion survey:

22

Data
1-1 Mentoring calls

∼20

 

Other outcomes:

- Online social around week 4, which was attended by around 6 people
- End-of-fellowship meal which was attended by 14 people.

General info about the 2021 Fall period:

- Marketing and advertisement of the fellowship was almost completely done on Facebook groups of various university programs of ELTE university. (Facebook is still the most widely used social media in Hungary, although it is slowly losing popularity)

- Lots of start-up time costs, as I was still figuring things out. 

If you would like to save time on operations, I recommend using some draft emails/forms from the EA Hungary care package as well as these amazing resources: EA Student Groups Handbook, Masterdocs of EA community building guides and resourcesEA Groups Resource Centre, and this folder.

2022 Spring Semester (2022 February-May)

Main outcomes:

8-week intro Fellowship:  
Number of people successfully completing the fellowship

19

Data
Number of people who filled out the completion survey:

15

Data
In-depth fellowship  
Number of people successfully completing the fellowship

13

 
1-1 Mentoring calls (unfortunately I didn’t keep an exact account, so this is a rough estimate)

∼30



 
EAGxOxford attendees

4

 
EAGxPrague attendees (the two numbers mean all attendeescounterfactual attendees (ie. people who would most likely not be present if it wasn’t for EA Hungary)

14-∼11

FB link

Other outcomes:

-Weekly socials during the fellowship which were attended by 5-10 people per session
- An end-of-fellowship meal which was attended by 18 people
- One person attributed the Giving What We Can pledge to EA Hungary’s influence
- Around 10 people signed up to volunteer after they completed the intro fellowship

General info about 2022 Spring period:

Same marketing strategy as in  Fall 2021
- Had some help organising from volunteers from the Fall 2021 period, which was great! My experience was that the amount of help from volunteers resembles the 20/80 rule, where the most engaged volunteers help a disproportionate amount.

EA Hungary members at EAGxPrague, thank you to the organisers!

2022 Summer (June-Aug)

Main outcomes:

8-week intro Fellowship June-July  
Number of applicants:

24

Data
Number of people successfully completing the fellowship

17

 
8-week intro fellowship for professionals  
Number of people successfully completing the fellowship5 
In-depth fellowship  
Number of applicants:

7

 
Number of people successfully completing the fellowship

5

 

Thoughts on the in-depth fellowship:

We were slightly discouraged by how few people applied for the in-depth fellowship, even though we had a lot of excited members. It seems like students become very busy during summer, and an 8-week fellowship might not be the best fit in our context. 

 

Cause area exploration fellowship  
Number of people successfully completing the fellowship5Data
Intensive 4+4-session intro Fellowship starting in August  
Number of people successfully completing the 4 days

23

 
Number of people who signed up for the second 4 sessions*

13

Data
Number of people successfully finishing the second half

13

 

What is the 4+4 session intro fellowship?

Partly inspired by this post on the EA forum, we decided to try advertising an intensive 4-day fellowship with the hope of attracting more people, given that they have to commit less. Additionally, after they completed the 4 sessions, they had the opportunity to join another 4 sessions (hence the +4). This was called an intensive fellowship because the first 4 sessions were run over just one week (from Monday to Thursday+social on Friday).  We used a modified fellowship curriculum which basically merges the PISE's 4-week fellowship and the general 8-week Oxford fellowship.

*While only about 50% of the participants who finished the first 4 sessions signed up for the second half, our sense was that people didn’t join mainly due to time constraints, and not because they didn’t enjoy the program. Our hope is that those who couldn't join the second half will still become part of our community and finish the intro fellowship later.

Overall, EA Hungary saw positive results from this pilot and I plan to write a forum post about this that goes into more detail. Once written, the post will be linked here.

 

Cause area exploration fellowship 
Number of people successfully completing the fellowship5

What is the cause area exploration fellowship?

The cause area exploration fellowship is the first section of this career planning program, it consists of 5 sessions. All members can sign up for this program, including intro-fellowship participants who are just starting out. Feedback from participants was encouraging, but I am still not sure how important it is to have this as an option. My current best guess is that it is worth running if you have people enrolled in intro/in-depth fellowships who want to commit more, but people shouldn't join this course instead of an in-depth fellowship.

Retreat 
We did a 3-day retreat for 20 members 
Feedback survey was filled out by 7 attendees[2]Data

Thoughts on the retreat:

We organised a retreat for our student members. It was challenging in terms of logistics, given that it was the first time we ran something like this. However, it turned out to be very valuable for our members, and it was really fun. People who attended the retreat became very excited about Effective Altruism and they also got to bond and make friendships, which seems very important in helping people to become part of the global EA community in the long run. In advertising, we called it a community conference to make it sound less weird. We think this is a better name!

EA Hungary Community Conference, 2022 August
Mentoring/connecting/logistics calls: 
1-1 calls

∼50

Thoughts about 1-1 calls:

These seem to be extremely valuable for members because they can get feedback on their plans, as well as personalised advice, recommendations, etc. My general aim was to have a 1-1 call with everyone who finished the intro fellowship, and then another one once they finish the in-dept fellowship. Due to  lack of time, I often fell short on this.

Other outcomes:

- 3 co-reading sessions (people reading some EA materials together and discussing them) were attended by 4-8 people per session
- Policy-themed dinner party attended by 5 people
-Tabling at a student conference where we collected about 20 emails.

General info about the 2022 Summer period:

-Same marketing strategy as in 2021 Fall, but we also used some paid Facebook and Instagram ads. The results of this were promising and I plan to write a forum post about this at some point, which will be linked here.

EAGxBerlin

EAGxBerlin 
Main outcome was bringing 33 people to EAGxBerlin of which at least 24 people would most likely not have been there if EA Hungary didn’t exist.33-24

I was conflicted about whether to include EAGxBerlin here or in next year's report, but given that we did most of the preparations for it in the summer and that my contract started 2021 in mid-September, I thought it would be more fitting here, marking the end of our first year.

EAGxBerlin marked the end of our first year, thank you to the organisers! 

Thoughts about bringing members to EAGxConferences:

These seemed very valuable in getting our members more involved with EA. We tried to really encourage people to apply, mainly in 1-1s, and by sending emails to all members. We also emphasised how we are going there as a group (will travel together and stay at the same hotel), so people feel less shy and don't think they have to go alone. (Of course, it is really hard to know the counterfactual impact of our messaging, but being encouraging shouldn't hurt!)

Conclusion

The first year of EA Hungary is promising and we have grown rapidly. However, it is important to note that most of our members are still learning about effective altruism and most of them are also at university. This means that (apart from the 2 people signing up for the 10% pledge), our impact is instrumental at this time. 

One of our core priorities in the next year will be to support and equip our student members to gain the skills necessary to eventually be able to pursue high-impact careers. We also plan to keep running our intro and in-depth fellowships.

Acknowledgments

Thank you Cathrine Low for helping EA Hungary from the very beginning. You are an amazing mentor from whom I learnt so much and you were always there to listen and support us. <3

Also thank you to our volunteers who helped out extensively and Diána Jeneses who joined our team in July. Thank you to Réka Trón who has helped us all the way from the UK by facilitating fellowships!

Thanks to Amarins and Dia for proofreading and Cristina and Eni for making this report significantly more reader-friendly!

  1. ^

    I’m not sure how much track record you need to get funding, but I don’t think you need to volunteer for an EA org beforehand. I would assume funders would look for some experience in community building before funding you, but there could be exceptions to this I think (eg. you are a good fit but stuck working in a non-EA student job). However, I think that the experience of doing operations for SoGive really helped me at my work.

  2. ^

    In the next retreat, we plan to have people fill out the feedback form during the closing session to get more answers.

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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 7:35 AM

Great to see your progress, well done :-)

Thank you! :)

Nice work, well done!

Very impressive! Well done!

Indeed a great Accomplishment, Thanks for introducing EA to many passionate young minds. I believe there should be more discussions about the EA books in the future Wishing you good luck to your future endeavors.

Thank you for the feedback! Indeed I should have written more about our experience with tabling and giving away books - but I have already procrastinated so much on writing this report, I didn't want to take even longer x)! I hope to write about this at a later time though!

Yeah Sure, that would be great.