Speaker events have become increasingly common in the last year, as our community moves online. There have been excellent events from a variety of organisations, covering a range of topics from introductions to effective giving, to deep dives on specific cause areas, to careers panels, to introductory talks for those new to effective altruism.
We believe that collaborative coordination of these events will reduce duplicated effort and also build a product that has a higher profile and can attract bigger audiences and bigger speakers.
We also think there is value in a long-term vision for the events. Rather than just coordinating a 'season' of events, we are trying to build an ongoing, multi-year series that can grow its momentum and audience over time.
We also believe that we can run events that cater better to different audiences. A big challenge last year was simultaneously broadcasting to people who are experienced EAs and people who are new to the field.
How will it work?
Giving What We Can and One for the World are currently leading on the coordination of these events (but are very open for more people to join us and in many cases take more core leadership roles). Our goals are:
- To grow the community of people interested in effective giving and effective altruism.
- To work with partners across EA to reduce duplication and get a multiplier effect by mixing different communities (e.g. OFTW student chapter members, mid-career EAs, WANBAM mentees, subject-matter groups, industry and workplace groups, 80,000 Hours etc).
- To create a standard system of advertising, registrations and follow up, where lower attendance events can still have pay-offs and partners have incentives to advertise and help out because they get a defined follow up list from the event.
- To shoot for some major A-list speakers, leveraging the combined brand value of the partners and the richness of the EA community.
In pursuit of these goals, we have identified some key enablers:
- A consistent process for registering and following up with attendees - this process needs to capture the data we and our partners need and give attendees simple follow up actions that they can act on easily such as being connected to a local/university/workplace group, signing up to a newsletter, making a donation, or taking a pledge (ideally this can be largely automated)
- Partnerships with key networks and organisations - it often seems that we are 'preaching to the converted' in our events. By working with broader networks, we can bring new people into the space and expose them to new ideas (see below for how our consultancy career panel aimed to achieve this)
- A consistent process for advertising talks - this can be refined over time to a) consistently bring new people into our audience; b) optimise messaging; and c) make it really easy for partners to spread the word within their own networks
What events are planned?
We just delivered the first event, a consultancy career panel exploring 'how to have the greatest impact as a consultant' (see recording).
This test produced some encouraging results:
- A good level of registration (250) and attendance (125) with a relatively short advertising window
- A much broader audience than we would have achieved individually (see appendix)
- A successful partnership with the Effective Altruism & Consulting Network - tapping into their members really helped us reach people to whom the talk was relevant, and also those who may not be that involved in EA currently. Some of the questions on the day showed a lack of familiarity with basic EA concepts (e.g. 'is Patagonia creating impact?'), which is a really good sign because it suggests we are reaching new people
- An unexpectedly effective advertising mechanism - LinkedIn now lets you browse your professional connections and invite them individually to LinkedIn events, which helped each organiser proactively invite e.g. every consultant in their network, rather than just posting on more 'generic' EA groups and mailing lists (see the event listing here)
The next event we're planning is on March 24th, 4pm ET is in collaboration with EA Medicine (https://www.ea-med.com/) and will similarly focus on how people in that industry are using their careers, advocacy and money to make an impact. After that, we are keen to add new types of events, such as introductions to effective altruism or more traditional talks from a particular speaker - please let us know your ideas.
What can I do to help?
- If you run a potential partner organisation (even if you are currently an informal group), especially one that includes people on the fringe of EA, please get in touch. We think it’s best if people with particular expertise/networks take the lead on organising relevant events and we use our community and infrastructure to support them.
- If you are organising an event or event series already please get in touch – we could work together to amplify what you are doing and get a broader community benefit.
- Please share the events on Facebook, LinkedIn and by direct communications such as WhatsApp to people who would find them valuable, ideally on an individual basis. If the event is particularly suited to your network, spending 30 mins on sending targeted invites and personalised messages can have a huge payoff. Register here for bulletins on each event.
- If you have the capacity, you are organised and you have strong communication skills, we think the series would really benefit from a volunteer coordinator. At this stage, this would be a part-time volunteer role (~8 hours per month). If the series is successful, we could seek funding for this position, but we can't promise that progression until we have greater proof of concept.
|Source Name||Registered||Attended||Attended %|
|GWWC Facebook Event (promoted by various orgs)|
|GWWC LinkedIn Event (promoted by various orgs)|
|EA Consulting Network|
|GWWC Website Events Page|
|EA International Events Calendar|
|Pursuing a degree|
|What stage of your career are you in?*||Registered||Attended|
|Working (0-5 years experience)|
|Pursuing an undergraduate degree|
|Pursuing a graduate degree (e.g. Masters)|
|Working (6-15 years experience)|
|Pursuing a doctoral degree (e.g. PhD)|
|Working (15+ years experience)|
|Seeking work / Not currently working|
|Pursuing a professional degree|
|In high school|
|Pursuing other degree/diploma|
Opt-ins for follow up
Note: This was in the post-event feedback which had a low response rate. In future we’d ask this during the event as a poll to increase our response rate.
|Giving What We Can (Effective giving recommendations, pledges, and donations)|
|One For The World (Pledge to GiveWell’s charities from the US, UK, Canada or Australia)|
|Centre for Effective Altruism (News and updates on EA)|
|An Effective Altruism group in my city/university|
|80,000 Hours (High-impact careers advice)|
|Effective Altruism Consulting Network|
|WANBAM (Mentorship for women, trans people of any gender, and non-binary people interested in EA)|
What, if anything, changes in this mechanism/strategy post-COVID?
What is the minimum threshold of expected attendees required for GWWC/OFTW to be interested in collaborating?
This sounds like a great idea!