What do I do as the Director of Community for Giving What We Can?

Hello!  For those of you who I haven’t met, my name is Jonathan Courtney, and I have been the Director of Community for Giving What We Can full time since September.  I wanted to take this opportunity to briefly introduce you to  a few of the activities that take up my time, and how I see each of these activities fitting into the larger picture of growing Giving What We Can. 

 

One area that takes up a lot of my time is in emailing people who have expressed interest in Giving What We Canto discuss the pledge.  People often have a number of quite reasonable concerns about taking on a big financial commitment like the pledge, and so we think it can be helpful to have a human point of contact to discuss these issues with them.  I always enjoy hearing about different peoples backgrounds, and doing my best to address any concerns they might have.  

Another feature of my job I really enjoy is Skypeing new members.  If you have taken the pledge at some point in the last few months you have likely gotten a few emails seeing if you are available to Skype.  While some members prefer to be more private, one of the main benefits of Giving What We Can is that it enables people to join a community of likeminded individuals,  and I believe that having the ability to talk face to face with someone about Giving What We Can helps to get one connected to this community. Skypeing with new members is also really helpful as it lets us to get to know our members a bit better, and lets us know more more about who is taking the pledge and why.

Over the last few months I have hosted two social events for members, a dinner in London in October, and a dinner in November to celebrate Giving What We Can’s fifth anniversary.  Both of these events were a lot of fun.  I think that having more in person events to allow members to get to know one another in person is really important.  If you would like to organize a meet up or event in your local area, I would be happy to help!  Email me at: jonathan.courtney@givingwhatwecan.org

Perhaps one of the less glamorous, but no less enjoyable parts of my job is sending out the physical pledge letters to all of the new members of Giving What We Can.  As those of you who have signed up know, shortly after you take the pledge, you receive a letter in the mail welcoming you, discussing our recommended charities in a bit more detail, and giving you a physical pledge form that you can sign and keep as a keepsake.  While this is a small gesture, I really enjoy it as it is a physically tangible representation of Giving What We Can’s membership growth.  It is always great to see membership numbers grown on our dashboard, but somehow it feels more real when I am sending out pledge forms!

One of the other great aspects of my role is that it allows me to give presentations for many our UK Chapters.  Its great not only because I can share Giving What We Can’s research and perspective with people who haven’t heard of it before, but it also gives me a chance to meet and interact with some of the amazing chapters we have all over the UK. I will talk about these presentations in more detail in my next post.

Along with my other main actions I occasionally branch out to try some other projects.  One recent venture was participating the The Project for Awesome, which is a online fundraising campaign hosted by famous youtubers John and Hank Greene.  With the help of several amazing Giving What We Can members, we were able to get a bit of visibility thought the project, and we are excited to give an even more impressive video next year!  

 

Help me do better!

These are a few of the things that keep me busy as the Director of Community, but I would love to have your feedback!  One of the best things about working for Giving What We Can is that we are constantly looking to improve and are flexible enough to shift our time and energy to whichever actions look the most promising.  If you have ideas about projects or actions which you think would be highly effected, either in growing the community, or just promoting Giving What We Can more generally, feel free to send me an email at: jonathan.courtney@givingwhatwecan.org

These last few months have been really great, and I look forward to continuing to help to grow the Giving What We Can community in the coming months!

7

New Comment
1 comment, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 8:43 PM

Hey Jonathan, right now I'm chatting with the founder of The Feast (http://feastongood.com) to set up an international network of EA dinners. Personally, I've had a lot of success in using dinners as a mechanism for community building. I'm a bit at capacity between EA Ventures, EA Global, and other EA outreach work to get a lot of momentum going on the partnership. However, would you be interested in an introduction?

Here's some of the reasoning I sent Ben Todd back in the day on the potential effectiveness of dinners: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PGfQF9R5nJtygF_O2M6E-2Iu8an9VNhkX37xizOs1uM/edit?usp=sharing