EA Israel Progress and Achievements - 2021

by GidonKadosh, sella5 min read24th May 2021No comments

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EA IsraelCommunityEffective altruism groups
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Context

Effective Altruism Israel has recently put together a document highlighting its key achievements and progress. 

This document was originally made for a potential donor (and therefore leaves out common EA terminology), but we decided to share it on the EA forum, and intend to update it over time as we make additional progress. The most up-to-date version of this document can be found here.

This post is a copy of the document's current version, and we will publish a new version to the forum once a year, along with our most recent community survey report. In order to help keep track of the updates we make to this document, we will log significant changes in this document.

For background on EA Israel, please refer to our strategy document, and to our official website (currently only available in Hebrew).  Additional information can be found on our most recent community survey.

Advocacy for Effectiveness 

One of the primary goals of EA Israel is to encourage individuals and organizations to rely on evidence and reasoning in order to maximize their social impact.

Nonprofit sector

As a part of our initiative to encourage Israeli charities to conduct cost-effectiveness research, on Q4 2020 EA Israel’s volunteers published with Animals charity a cost-effectiveness report on their program for promoting a vegan diet. 

While working with Israeli charities, we encountered a significant incentive gap within Israeli charities for cost-effectiveness research. In addition, we recognized the unique opportunity EA Israel has in filling this gap, as an organization that does not depend on Israeli charities as its ‘customers’, as do other actors in the existing landscape. 
For this goal, we made a detailed project plan for launching an Israeli Charity Effectiveness Prize, and consulted on its details with prominent figures of both the Israeli nonprofit sector and the global EA community. We are currently fundraising for this project.

Guidance on career and research topics

EA Israel has provided career guidance and thesis selection guidance to dozens of individuals to help maximize their social impact.
Our experience in this field relies both on resources from the global community of EA, and on resources created and refined by EA Israel, such as a career consultation guide which is now widely used across the EA community.

In addition, we organized two career guidance events with over 250 participants that featured panelists who are successful entrepreneurs, researchers, and CEOs of charities. 

Fourth sector (social entrepreneurship)

Israel is a strong hub for startups, considered to be one of the world’s strongest hubs outside the US, and EA Israel aims to assist entrepreneurs who want to have a significant positive impact through their work. We have built a collection of workshops and lectures providing entrepreneurs with concrete tools for evaluating the social impact of interventions and cause areas, and delivered them to the social accelerator BNZ Impact and the Kaveret program in order to collect feedback. We have already started approaching other social accelerators for additional collaborations.

Guide for effective donations

In Q2 2020, EA Israel published a guide for effective donations which reached ~1000 entrances and is now (without any paid promotions) one of the top Google results when inquiring in Hebrew about where to donate.

Fundraising for effective charities

Founders Pledge collaboration

Founders Pledge is an EA initiative where entrepreneurs make a commitment to donate a portion of their personal proceeds to charity when they sell their business. EA Israel worked on creating an Israeli Founders Pledge chapter, and recently organized a successful event with seven founders of round A+ startups as a pilot. We’re currently discussing the next steps with Founders Pledge, and preparing for a second event.

Giving Week

In 2019 and 2020 we participated in Google’s Giving Week in order to fundraise for effective charities. We gave lectures on Effective Giving, sponsored a donation-matching program for the Good Food Institute, and organized a lecture with GiveDirectly.

EA community building

Creating a local EA community is one of the best ways to spread the concepts of Effective Altruism, build additional volunteer capacity, and create meaningful connections and collaborations between individuals and organizations.

Setting up a large community 

True to Q2 2021, the Israeli EA community consists of ~35 (+12 since Q3 2020, when measuring began) active volunteers who take part in EA Israel’s projects or global EA projects, ~131 (+91) members who are involved in regular community activities, and a broader community that consists of ~1300 (+500) Facebook followers, ~450 (+300) monthly website visitors, and 450 (+350) registered readers of our newsletter. Compared to member’s high level of engagement, the community’s rate of growth is extremely high. 

Academic course

EA Israel has set up an academic Practical Ethics course in Tel Aviv University, one of Israel’s top universities. It is a fairly popular elective course, with forty students enrolling in its first semester in this university.

Special thanks to Joey Glickman and the Glickman Family Foundation for their support in launching this course.

Public events

Since its foundation, EA Israel has organized about 21 public events with lectures on different topics of Effective Altruism, tools for impact evaluation, specific cause areas, networking-based events, and more. The popularity of these events increased over time, with about 50-100 regular participants, though this increase ceased with the start of the pandemic.
Some key lecturers in these events were Nobel Prize winner Michael Kremer, former chief scientist of the ministry of environmental protection Sinaia Netanyahu, founder of an education-focused venture capital firm Shahar Wilner, and others.

Fellowship program

Based on conversations with EA community organizers globally, academic fellowships stand out as a uniquely effective way to generate a large number of talented, dedicated community members. They have been praised consistently across universities including Harvard, Oxford, Yale, MIT, Duke, NTNU, and more.

After consulting with local EA groups that ran similar fellowships programs, most dominantly EA Harvard, EA Israel created its own academic fellowship, consisting of 10 students who meet weekly and receive extensive training for impact evaluation methodologies and in-depth knowledge about the world’s most pressing problems.

Reading groups

EA Israel is currently managing 5 reading groups discussing different cause areas, tools for impact evaluation, diving into the biggest challenges of humanity. These groups meet monthly and consist of 34 active members total.

Content creation

Since its foundation, EA Israel released 13 introductory videos, published 38 blog posts, translated 13 key articles, and published 13 newsletters, all on different topics regarding Effective Altruism.

Official nonprofit

With the support of the Centre of Effective Altruism. EA Israel employs a CEO in a paid role, in order to expedite its growth of resources, community and infrastructure.

On Q3 2020 (two years after the foundation of the Israeli community) EA Israel was founded as an official Israeli nonprofit, in order to enable donations for EA Israel’s projects and with the goal of allowing Israelis to make tax-deductible donations to effective global charities. We are currently working on attaining EA Israel’s tax deductibility status.

Impact beyond Israel

EA-themed International Debate Championship

On Q4 2020 EA Israel initiated and helped run the Effective Altruism Debating Championship, funded by Open Philanthropy and in collaboration with the World Universities Debating Championship . It consisted of over 150 participants from 25 countries who watched 10+ hours of EA materials as preparation for the competition. Over $4,000 donated to effective charities through the competition. Alongside the competition, we also organized a Distinguished Lecture Series featuring William Mackaskill, Nick Beckstead, Joey Savoie, Kat Woods, Lewis Bollard, Karolina Sarek, and more. 

A pilot was recently launched in order to test the possibility of scaling up this project, as a few debating programs showed interest in adopting EA content to their curriculums. If the pilot is successful, this project could account for exposing thousands of teenagers globally to in-depth EA material every year.

Finally, we’ve utilized both the debating tournament and the distinguished lecture series to do a randomized experiment on EA advocacy (also funded by Open Philanthropy) and are currently analyzing the results.

Probably Good - Career guidance organization

EA Israel supported the foundation of a new EA organization that provides career guidance intended to help people do as much good as possible. Though still in early stages, this project has received positive feedback from core EA organizations and the broader community, and we believe it has the potential to create large scale global impact.

Improving best practices for local EA groups

We believe there is high potential impact in helping other local EA communities improve their performance, and allowing local groups (especially new ones) to duplicate our model and efforts. For this reason, EA Israel made sure all of its significant documents are written in English, along with guidelines and explanations for other group organizers. Among these resources: Our volunteer onboarding process, template CRM system for an EA group, curated list of EA reading materials, comprehensive list of activities EA Israel is running and plans to run in the future, contact form for EA groups, and more.

On Q3 2020, we published an extensive strategy document that serves as a handbook for new organizers. This handbook was highly endorsed within the community, with dozens of group organizers approaching us with questions about these public documents. 

Networking and supporting the global community

We actively seek opportunities to connect the needs of EA movement members around the globe with matching people in Israel, resulting in many cases of small-medium but successful collaborations. Active volunteers in EA Israel are participating in discussions on the global EA forum, global EA Conferences, and various sub-communities and project discussions. Among our documents published at the global EA forum are a detailed description of our local research group strategy, of how we approach career consultation calls, and of the cost-effectiveness analysis of Challenge 22

EA Israel have organized online meetups with other local groups, including a meetup with EA UAE and with EA Geneva.

In addition, We had also made several contributions to the EAHub, the EA community’s knowledge center. These contributions include content writing, extensive feedback, recruiting web developers, and a foundation of a networking system (EA Colabs).

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