Working at EA organizations series: Effective Altruism Foundation

by SoerenMind 4y26th Oct 20152 comments

6


This is the third post in the Working At EA Organizations series. The posts so far:


Effective Altruism Foundation (EAF; official name: Stiftung für Effektiven Altruismus) is known to many as GBS Switzerland and is currently rebranding. The following are my notes from an interview with Jonas Vollmer (the executive director of EAF) which he reviewed before publishing.

Current talent needs

EAF is somewhat money-constrained but also looking to hire in a few month’s time. There are three positions to be filled, one of which is for EAF’s sister-organization, Foundational Research Institute (FRI). If you are particularly talented or a great fit for EAF, you should apply even if you don’t fit any profile. The most urgent positions are:


  • A person for operations, finance and running the organization. The tasks depend on the skillset and interests of the person, e.g. a person with a particular interest in REG could do mostly operations for REG. Who they look for:

    • Strong interest in EA.

    • Demonstrated ability to run things, e.g. a chapter, organization or volunteer project.

    • Speaking German is a big advantage though you may be hired if you’re committed to learn the language.

    • Programming, IT and Excel skills would be highly advantageous.

  • A Director of Growth to scale REG. The position could be part-time or full-time. Would work very long hours during poker tournaments. Who they look for:

    • Good networker, good people skills / social skills.

    • Interest or experience in poker.

    • Experience in project management, marketing and/or similar fields.

    • You can demonstrate the necessary social skills in many ways, including in a personal conversation with EAF.

  • A researcher for the Foundational Research Institute. Would do research into topics such as AI trajectories, technological forecasting and all things far-future-related with the aim of reducing future suffering. Working hours are flexible, ideally full-time. Preferably would work from Switzerland, but could also work from home. Who they look for:

    • Very strong analytical/quantitative skills and a strong interest in the subject.

    • One way to demonstrate your fit is by publicizing your thoughts on some related topic, e.g. on a personal blog.

Approach Brian Tomasik or Lukas Gloor for more information. They should be able to determine your fit.


What’s the interview process like?

Historically, most employees have previously volunteered for EAF (or GBS), though this is a small sample. An application form can be found on the ‘Work with us’-page.

 

 

How to get involved on a lower-commitment basis

EAF is very open to having volunteers. This is also a great chance to demonstrate your skills and see if there’s a fit for a full-time engagement. Often paperwork and operational tasks are done by EAF’s leaders because it’s hard to find reliable volunteers who can work independently. If you can do this, that’s a big plus.

To become a volunteer, get in touch with a team member of EAF (if in doubt, ask Jonas Vollmer) to determine how you can best contribute.

It’s especially important that you don’t just stop after just a few months. The longer and the more hours the more useful the work usually becomes.

Don’t know how you want to contribute? Be persistent and get info on EAF’s work from team members. Ideas will come up. Potential volunteers are encouraged to not be shy about asking questions.

Potential volunteer tasks:

  • It can be useful if you’re motivated enough to do low-status tasks such as paper work and are reliable at doing this.

  • Video or image editing. If you’re committed to do this longer-term it may even be worth teaching yourself these skills.

  • Don’t forget to ask how else you could contribute! How you can best contribute is best determined in person.

How competitive are the positions?

The applicant pool for any position is usually not big and most applicants have historically been previously known to the team. EAF could find suitable volunteer tasks for ~50% of enthusiastic interested EAs (on the current margin).


Why work at Effective Altruism Foundation?

EAF is a team of young and highly skilled people with diverse backgrounds and a very strong altruistic motivation. You would be working on challenging and meaningful projects in an exceptionally honest and friendly atmosphere. There is large potential in establishing the EA movement in German-speaking areas and EAF is making considerable progress.