Jan 22, 2016
I’m a new volunteer with the Local Effective Altruism Network (LEAN), a team which helps EA communities all around the world organize and achieve their goals. I’m spearheading an effort to help local organizers make applications to host an EAGx event this year! Here is a guide to help you figure out if it makes sense for you to apply to be a regional EAGx organizer, and some tips for your application. Throughout this guide, I’ve identified some areas I think applicants might need help with their applications. So, to get help from myself and LEAN on those points, or if you have any other questions, please comment below, send me a private message, or email me at email@example.com.
Effective Altruism Outreach (EAO) is launching a new EA Global (EAGx) conference series, with local events organized by leaders in communities around the world. For those who don’t know, EAO is an independent team of the Centre for Effective Altruism, which organizes events and the EA community worldwide. In 2015, they organized Effective Altruism Global (EAG), a series of conferences hosted in three different cities: Mountain View, California; Oxford, England; and Melbourne, Australia.
This year, EAO is expanding the scope of global EA conferences. Inspired by the TEDx conferences, whereby people from around the world can organize independent local speaker series sponsored by the organization TED, famous for the presentations they host for public consumption, EAO wants to see effective altruism flourish in all communities where the movement can flourish. EAO is offering a limited number of applicants of EAGx Event Director in the inaugural 2016 series.
Looking at the effective altruism map, I’ve identified a several regions around the world which have EA communities substantial enough to warrant an application to organize an EAGx 2016 event. The list is at the bottom of this article. Please check this list! If you don’t think your city would be on there, think again! I’ve identified over 80 cities in over 40 different countries. If you're from somewhere that isn't on the below list, and still want to apply to organize an EAGx event, by all means do so! The list I've made below is one generated based off limited information, and is meant to provide insight to EAs around the world who may not yet have thought about hosting events. However, the more events, the better! You can start submitting your application here. Submissions are due by January 31st.
Things to Know
1. Find a Team of Multiple Organizers
If you’d want to organize an EAGx event just by yourself, I’m sure everyone would be impressed and grateful for that level of ambition. However, I’ve heard from the EAG team then if for no other reason than to act as a failsafe, they’re looking for applications with more than one organizer. So, find one or more friends and form a team! If you’re the only person in your region willing to organize an EAGx event, contact me and the Local Effective Altruism Network can help you find someone nearby in the same country or region to help you out!
2. Experience Helps
Organizing an EAGx event could prove difficult, so having experience organizing other conferences could really help out. If you don’t have this experience yourself, consider finding someone in your social network willing to co-organize, or at least consult/advise you as an organizer. Again, contact me, and LEAN will be happy to help find someone with this experience if you feel like it would help to have them on the team.
3. Be Willing to Commit Time
Organizing an EAGx event could be a lot of work, so EA Outreach is more willing to approve teams of organizers who are able to devote at least a few hours each week to planning and organizing their event in the months leading up to it, and at least one core member of the organizing team being able to commit at least a five hours per day in the two weeks leading up to the conference.
4. Gain an Intimate Understanding of Effective Altruism
Typically an EAGx organizer will have interacted quite a bit with the ideas of the EA community. This is important because EAGx events will ideally present ideas from a wide range of causes and foci from within EA. In particular, the EAGx team is hoping organizers will have some familiarity with the below topics, perhaps among others:
arguments for cause neutrality
arguments for donating based on cost-effectiveness
the concept of earning-to-give
why it’s useful to assess an intervention on the basis of scale, tractability, and neglectedness
the concept of existential risk
If you’re wanting to apply, but feel you’re unfamiliar with one or more of these concepts, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll find someone to help you along in understanding these ideas, and direct you towards reading material.
5. Estimate How Many People Will Attend
It will help if you can estimate how many people will attend the event. This will give the EAO team an idea of how big the event will be relative to other events around the world, and a sense of what could be accomplished with the event. If you have no idea how to make that sort of estimate, try using the application Guesstimate, made by Ozzie Gooen, for exactly this sort of thing.  This is called a Fermi estimate, and you can find more tips on how to make them here. Here is an example of a Guesstimate for expected attendance at the event I'm applying to host in Vancouver, Canada.
6. Have An Idea of Your Event’s Goals
EAGx events won’t all be the same. Effective altruism grows and spreads on a local basis, and organizers local to each area will know the culture and atmosphere of their own home bases best. So, you’ll know best how to frame effective altruism to appeal, to help, and to inspire the people attending your event. Have an idea of what sort of ideas and conversations you want to foster at the event you’d organize. Be prepared to explain this a bit in your explanation.
7. Have Some Dates In Mind
Finally, look at your calendar, and pick a few dates you’d like to host an EAGx event. If your application is accepted, the EAO team will get back to you, and you and them can work out when your event can be held. Typically, each year, EA conferences are set in the summer, between July and September. Also, it will take time to plan the event, maybe more time than you expect, so I recommend setting a date for your EAGx event at least six months from today. Also, an EAGx event would best take place over 1 to 3 days over a weekend, so pick a day of the week and month you think would make invitees to your event most able to attend.
Fewer and Bigger Events, or Smaller and Many Events?
Local to a geographic area or country, if there are multiple EAGx events hosted nearby each other, this could divide the attendees across more than one event. Last year, the EAG events hosted between 100 and 300 attendees each. Bigger events will provide more opportunities to connect with other members of the community, as laid out [here](http://lesswrong.com/lw/mhf/why_you_should_attend_ea_global_and_some_other/). However, many of us are university students or non-profit employees who have little money to spend on travel costs. So, more events, even if each one turns out to be smaller, could allow a greater total number to attend conferences. If you live in a region with EA presences all around, particularly in the United States or Europe, contact organizers from other nearby meetups and discuss among yourselves where it makes the most sense to organize one or more EAGx events in your geographic region.
Language and Travel Barriers
If you’re outside the English-speaking world, you may want the event you’d organize to take place in your native or local language. However, divisions in language might make this difficult. Alternatively, there may be restrictions or complications to travel between two countries, if that’s what’s required to attend an EAGx event. For example, I see the local EA hubs in various regions include:
Sao Paolo, Brazil
Is it likely attendees from Latvia or Estonia will have a common language with Finnish EAs if they all attended the same EAGx event? Do most Czech EAs speak German or English to communicate with EAs in Austria, if they attend EAGxVienna? Are their restrictions to travel from Viet Nam, the Phillipines, or Malaysia to Singapore, if EAs from those countries want to attend EAGxSingapore? Are the gulfs between Spanish and Portuguese too big to justify Hispanic EAs traveling to an EAGxSaoPaolo event? These are possible complications I honestly don't know solutions too, and might make what would be a sizable EAGx event to small to warrant organizing. Ultimately, you’ll know the region where you’re from best, so let this inform whether you choose to apply or not.
Full List of Possible Host Cities
Los Angeles, California
Houston, or Dallas, Texas
New Orleans, Loiusiana
Miami, or Tampa, Florida
Raleigh, North Carolina
Washington, District of Columbia
New York, New York
New Delhi, India
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Middle East and Africa
Prague, Czech Republic
Belfast, Northern Ireland
North, Central & South America
Mexico City, Mexico
Rio Blanco, Nicaragua
Buenos Aires, Argentina