Smaller local EA groups have the difficulty that if no one is willing to lead, the group will generally cease to exist. Since there are a number of EAs looking for volunteer opportunities, could it make sense to have a remote leader? This sounds strange because the main idea of having local groups is that in-person connection. However, I could imagine that a fair amount of the work of organizing could be done remotely and then the remote person would interface with local officers who actually run the events in person. I apologize if this has already been discussed, but I have not seen it on the EA forum.
Interesting idea! I do see some advantages to this - it seems like there are a lot of people trying to get experience working for EA-related causes, and quite a bit of those people seem interested in gaining ops experience. This seems like a good way to get those people connected with EA, and get people involved who don't currently have local communities.
One worry I have is that people who aren't going to meetups probably don't have a good sense of the culture of the local EA group and how well events are going. This could be worked around by collecting feedback from local group participants, but I think you could get much more information much more easily by being part of the meetups.
An alternative that I think might be useful: A lot of EAs have remote jobs or some flexibility on where they live. As someone with a remote job who currently lives in a community without an active local group and seemingly without people who would be interested in being involved with one, I would be open to moving to a community with lots of EAs but without an active EA group for the sake of helping as a group organizer. Perhaps I'm odd in that way, but perhaps there are a few other EAs that are similar.
In either case, I'd be interested in seeing a list of EA cities that have this problem and coming up with ways to match interested people with open roles. Feel free to reach out to me if you'd like help with this. :)