Running Effective Altruism Groups: A Literature Review

by Fods12 1 min read8th Jul 20199 comments


This post is a link to a literature review conducted by myself (James Fodor) and Miles Tidmarsh to assist organisers of EA community groups in making decisions about how to better run their groups. Below is the introduction to the literature review. The full text pdf is available here.


The purpose of this literature review is to summarise the extant literature concerning the evidence for effective methods and strategies for running local EA community and university groups. The focus is not primarily on running larger organisations that attempt to produce original EA research or organise larger scale activism, though some of the lessons contained herein may also be relevant to such organisations. The review focuses primarily, but not exclusively, upon evidence generated within the EA community, including qualitative and quantitative evidence produced by various local groups and organisers from around the world. The primary objective is to provide practical advice that will assist local group leaders in making decisions pertinent to the running of their group. The review covers several major areas of group activity: marketing, community, and management. It is intended that this review will be updated as more evidence becomes available.

Because much of the evidence is ambiguous, we have decided to include as much of the raw data as possible rather than present only our interpretation of it. Thus each subsection begins with our brief recommendation based on the evidence we have reviewed, followed by excerpts from the papers that informed this recommendation. Readers are encouraged to critically evaluate our conclusions on the basis of the evidence presented, given that they may interpret the evidence somewhat differently to us. Finally, we observed in the process of compiling this review that the evidence base for effectively running EA groups is not as extensive or as robust as we would desire it to be. We hope that producing this review may prompt others to publish more results or investigations into effective practises that could be of value to the wider EA community.