Inspired by the global EA survey, we wanted to create an annual survey that will inform us on various aspects of our community and help us make better decisions in our day-to-day and strategic operations.
We decided to focus on three main areas - Impact, relationship with EA Israel and the international EA community, and EA Israel demographics. We created two surveys:
- A general short survey for our wider community - people who read our newsletter, follow us on Facebook or are members of our Facebook group.
- An in-depth survey for our core members, who are active either in the Israeli community or global community.
We released both surveys towards the end of 2020. We received 73 reponses on our general survey, and 13 responses on our in-depth survey. We analyzed the results, leading to this insight report. To encourage participation, a member of EA Israel agreed to donate 10 ILS to Givewell’s Maximum Impact Fund for each response of the survey (while asking respondents not to pass the survey on to others).
With the survey results in mind, our current focus is to understand exactly what changes we should implement in our current strategy, to improve our function as an organization and a community. We are also documenting questions we believe should be formulated differently to improve next year’s survey based on what we’ve learned this year.
This report is the work of Yair Kabakovitch, Guy Raveh and Karen Avner. Special thanks to Yair for leading this project and developing EA Israel’s strategy for community research.
** Disclaimer: Out of our 1300-2100 followers on the various media, 73 chose to respond to the survey. This creates a clear self-selection bias, and we don’t expect these results to be representative of the larger followers groups. **
Background on EA Israel
The EA Israel group exists since Q4 2018, and consists of:
- Managing team: 7 members who serve as a decision-making board for EA Israel and meet monthly.
- Contributors: Currently about 28 additional members, who take an active part in EA Israel or EA’s international community.
About 20 additional members showed interest in being active, and are going through our onboarding process.
- Participants: About 131 additional members are involved in activities such as reading groups, or have requested a 1-1 consultation call. 46 out of 131 are marked as dedicated participants who are more active than others.
- Followers: The “outer” circle of our community consists of ~1300 Facebook followers,~450 registered readers of our newsletter, and ~450 monthly unique website visitors.
Summary: Key insights
- Most participants in the survey have adjusted their career choices based on EA principles because of EA, and a third have done so significantly. Most participants felt extremely positive about the change they made.
- Of those who have significant income, 62% donate regularly to effective organizations.
- It looks like many people plan to make EA a bigger part of their lives in the future.
- Despite a majority of the community feeling positive towards making additional changes in their life based on EA principles, most have not made that change yet. Therefore, we may need to improve in “pushing towards the last mile” and help these people follow through and make these changes.
- About 50% of the responders first heard about Effective Altruism via EA Israel.
- There is considerable potential for EA community building in Israel.
2. Relationship with EA and EA Israel
- It seems our active members are overall satisfied with EA Israel - they feel good within the community and believe EA Israel contributes to their overall positive impact.
- Another important insight is that overall active members are satisfied with EA Israel as an organization, and feel the community is rewarding. The level of bureaucracy is just right, people receive enough management resources for their projects and overall are happy with how the management of EA Israel is leading the organization and the community.
- Most of the people in the community heard about EA Israel through their friends or through Facebook. The main involvement with EA Israel is through our events, newsletter, facebook group and materials on our website. With regard to the global EA community - it appears to be that the connection to the global EA community is weak, as there are only a few members that are active on the EA Forum or participate in EA conferences.
- Members of our community want to hear more lectures about specific subjects, and to get more volunteering and career opportunities. They want more diverse content, want to understand how to engage with EA with less totality, and want to find a clearer and more responsive framework for volunteering and recruitment.
The EA Israel community is young, with an average age of 26-30. We have a ratio of 60% men to 40% women. The vast majority of people live in central Israel. Most people are in science/tech (as students, part-time workers or full-time workers). The overwhelming majority of our community is Jewish, and our active members are specifically atheist, agnostic or secular Jews. In the contributor community there are also people skilled in economics and law, as well as people who are skilled in social sciences, operations, philosophy, education, and public policy.
Reflections on EA Israel’s strategy
- The community followers strongly desire to bring back our physical events that were put on hold due to COVID.
- We need to invest more effort into increasing the engagement of EA Israel members with the global community.
- During COVID we focused on our infrastructure, methodology, and volunteers, rather than on the community followers, and this report emphasizes our need to shift back our focus. Our current strategy is reflected in the survey results:
- Our impact on members of the community followers is limited, although many of them feel highly positive towards taking action based on EA principles.
- As discussed on EA Israel’s branding strategy, we’re continuously working on improving the diversity of our group, and aim to have a representation from additional demographic backgrounds. Reflecting on the survey results, we think there’s room to improve in this area,
- There is significant engagement with the materials on our website, and we should consider investing more resources into improving and extending them.
- The answers to this survey, combined with other recent insights, led us to believe that in order to increase the amount of people willing to meaningfully dedicate a significant portion of their lives to EA causes in our community, we should now focus more on our community followers who want to become more involved, but don’t yet have the time to give EA a high priority or make it a core part of their schedule. For this goal:
- We believe reestablishing physical events will help significantly. We also want to organize more non introductory events, such as networking events and “lightning talks”.
- We’re making an effort to focus more on engagement and discussions in our Facebook group.
- We’re planning a mentoring project, where we will match experienced members of the community (not necessarily from the community contributors) to mentor (equipped with EA resources) newer members.
How do people spend their time and money?
Highlights: A minority of our community is engaged in their day-to-day life with EA, through their donations or their time. It appears that many people plan to make EA a bigger part of their lives in the future, and a major portion donate a bit nowadays according to EA principles.
How did EA impact people's career decisions?
Highlights: Most of the participants have adjusted their career choices due to EA influence, and a third have done so significantly. Of those who have significant income, 62% are regularly donating effectively (most donations are a small percentage of their income). Also, 38% of the people who answered the survey have elaborated in their own words how EA has affected their career path or donations, and all were extremely positive about the change they made.
2. Relationship with EA Israel and the international EA community
How did people first hear about EA Israel
- Noticeably, about 50% of the responders said they heard about it from friends.
- 33% of the responders said it was because of an event that they either went to or heard about on Facebook (half and half).
- About 33% said they heard about it via Facebook posts, suggestions, or advertisements.
- About 12.5% said they heard about EA Israel from international EA websites (for instance, heard of EA through 80,000 Hours and Givewell and then searched for a local community).
First encounter with EA
- About 50% of the responders first heard about Effective Altruism through EA Israel.
Involvement in EA Israel in the past year
- About 50% of the responders said they attended a virtual event.
- About 50% said they read materials on the website.
- About 33% said they participated in Facebook discussions
- The most common answers beyond these were participating in an event, reading group, or volunteering.
Involvement in EA in the past year
- Only 62% of the people who answered the survey (46 people) have answered this question, so the results are likely more skewed in favor of more engaged members than other questions. It seems that donations, books and facebook posts/comments are the main EA interactions people engage in. Also, the connection to the global EA community is weak, as there are only a few people that are active on the EA Forum or participate in EA conferences.
What people want to see more of
- 66% of the responders would like to hear lectures about specific subjects. Note: This was after a year without events, due to COVID.
- 50% would want to hear about volunteering opportunities, and the same amount would like to hear about career opportunities.
- Almost 40% would like to have more social events.
- Free text answers: one said they wanted a database of effective charities in Israel, and one said they wanted to see more community growth.
How can EA Israel help you maximize your impact?
- Many of the responders said they are interested in some kind of career consulting.
- Some responders said they think EA Israel can help them with that, but they are not really sure how.
- Suggestions people had: a platform where people openly discuss career options, choices and thoughts, recommend specific companies and fields in Israel, inform about unrecommended career paths, create / introduce a well-defined mechanism for contribution (when you already have a job), help one figure out how to form a profitable project that has a positive impact.
What needs to change to encourage people to be more actively engaged in EA?
- People want more diverse content, and to understand how to engage with EA with less totality and a clearer and more responsive framework for volunteering and recruiting.
EA Israel Newsletter data
- The EA Israel newsletter is a monthly newspaper that contains updates on our latest activities and events, interesting career opportunities and content we feel would interest our community and deepen their proficiency in EA. We have 400 subscribers, with an open-rate of almost 50%, and click-rate of roughly 10% (these numbers are very high in relation to other newsletters).
Involvement in EA Israel in the past year
- Almost all responders said they attended virtual and physical events, volunteered, and read Facebook discussions.
- About half said they read materials on the website and organized / led a project.
Overall satisfaction with EA Israel
Highlights: It seems our active members are overall satisfied with EA Israel - the majority feel it is rewarding to them, they would recommend it to a friend, and that involvement in EA Israel was important for their positive impact. We do have room for improvement as there is a small but significant minority that does not have such positive feelings towards EA Israel.
How excited would people be to introduce a friend they thought would agree with the core principles of EA to EA Israel?
How important was being involved with EA Israel to community member’s positive impact?
EA Israel as a community
Highlights: People overall feel good in EA Israel - the majority of our core members believe they share the same values with other members of the community. Also, they feel acceptance from the community, and confidence in their ability to get help, were they to experience some problem or wrongdoing relevant to the community members or its activities.
To what extent do people believe they share the values of another randomly picked member of EA Israel?
How alienated do people feel at EA Israel?
How certain are people that they would know how to get help if they feel uncomfortable, wronged or some serious problem happens at EA Israel or with one of our members?
How inclusive do people think EA Israel is?
Highlights: Our active members are somewhat conflicted about the inclusiveness of EA Israel. It does not seem we are exclusive, but it does show we have room to grow in this category. From the free-text answers we conclude that although the community is welcoming, our main weakness with regard to inclusiveness is approachability - members do not feel we have an excellent mechanism for integrating new members in our activities.
EA Israel as an organization
Highlights: Overall active members of the community are satisfied with EA Israel as an organization - the level of bureaucracy is just right (organized and not too strict), people receive enough management resources for their projects and overall are happy with how the management of EA Israel is leading the organization and the community.
Level of bureaucracy people feel exists in the operations of EA Israel
Level of satisfaction of people with the management board of EA Israel
Do people receive enough management resources in their EA Israel projects?
Highlights: The EA Israel community is young. Both groups have a similar average age of 26-30.
Highlights: Of the options ‘man’, ‘woman’, ‘other’ or ‘prefer not to say’, all participants answered either ‘man’ or ‘woman’. Women are underrepresented among community contributors relative to their representation among community followers. However, according to a count of our Slack members (the platform used by our contributors group to coordinate), ~40% women in the community contributors. We are unsure which of these metrics is more informative.
The age and gender distribution revealed in the survey roughly matches the distribution of members in our facebook group:
Ethnicity and Religion
Highlights: The questions that were asked are: “What is your religious affiliation?” and “Which languages are spoken at your home?”. All respondents affiliated themselves with Judaism. Some community followers were religious; but all community contributors who answered were atheist, agnostic, or secular Jewish. There were 7 Russian speakers + 1 Georgian speaker out of the entire 86 responders, but of the 13 community contributors, only one was a Russian speaker.
Highlights: The vast majority of people live in central Israel. In contrast, only about 40-45% of the general Israeli population live in Central Israel.
Highlights: Most of the community followers are either working or studying, and those populations are both represented in the community contributors, with a larger portion of working individuals.
Highlights: A major part of our community is in the early stage of their careers.
Highlights: Most people are in the fields of science / tech. Among community contributors, some are skilled in economics and law. There’s a pool of people from the social sciences, operations, philosophy, education, and government to tap into.
The data we collected in this community report helped us understand our community better and make better decisions in our day-to-day and strategic operations. With the survey results in mind, we’ve made several updates to our current strategy (described in the section Reflections on EA Israel’s Strategy above) .
We were happy to find out that 50% of the responders first heard about Effective Altruism via EA Israel. We were also happy to hear that most respondents have adjusted their career choices based on EA principles, and that of those who have significant income, 62% donate regularly to effective organizations. It appears that many people plan to make EA a bigger part of their lives in the future, though most have not made this change so far. We conclude that there is considerable potential for additional EA community building in Israel.
Most of the people in the community heard about EA Israel through their friends or through Facebook. Most interactions with EA Israel are through our events, newsletter, facebook group and materials on our website. We aim to increase our investments in these resources. The connection to the global EA community is not as strong as we would have hoped, as there are relatively few members that are active on the EA Forum or participate in EA conferences. We understand we need to invest more effort into increasing the engagement of EA Israel members with the global community.
Members of our community want to hear more lectures about specific subjects, and to get more volunteering and career opportunities. They want more diverse content and want to understand how to engage with EA with less totality.
Our core members are satisfied with EA Israel as an organization- they feel the community is rewarding, the level of bureaucracy is just right, people receive enough management resources for their projects and overall are happy with how the management of EA Israel is leading the organization and the community.
The answers to this survey, combined with other recent insights, led us to believe that in order to increase the amount of highly engaged members, we should focus more on our community followers who want to become more involved, but don’t yet have the time to give EA a high priority or make it a core part of their schedule.
We would be happy to receive any feedback you might have, whether here on the forum or through our contact mail - Effectivealtruismisrael@gmail.com.
Cool to see EA Israel ran a community survey too! We in EA Philippines ran a similar survey last year and found it helpful too.
Did you consider asking people for their cause prioritization? I think that's something important to track year on year to see how your community's cause priorities are shifting. This would also help EA Israel think of which causes to do more community building activities on, whether to increase the number of people interested in it or to cater to a growing interest that you haven't catered to before.
Thank you for this input! I agree this is an important question, but the team decided not to include it and other several questions in the larger survey as we wanted to make it relatively short. We did include this question in our in-depth survey, but when looking at the results, we realized it doesn't hold actionable insight when looking only at our contributors and not at the larger community followers - so we didn't include this question in the report as well.
This is one of the points we wanted to review before conducting next year's survey - I'll refer the team to your comment when this is reviewed, thank you!