I'm an organizer at EA Romania, a group that I started in September 2020 but have only been trying to grow more actively in the past ~6 months. A few months ago I applied for funds from the EAIF to do community building full-time for 6 months but I got rejected. The EAIF didn't give me much feedback but I managed to talk to a lot of people and get some insights about my plans at EAG London. One of the things that some people suggested that I do in my group is offer a fellowship program. At first it seemed like a good idea, but today I started reading the resources on creating fellowship programs and it's not clear for me what value this would have if I can just direct people to the virtual programs instead.
I mean, I can see some benefits like:
- People get to know each other more closely if they do an offline program
- Over time I can customize the program
But I can imagine some difficulties that intuitively for me seem to outweigh these advantages. For example:
- I have already been promoting the virtual program, which means the more engaged members of my community either have already done the program or are currently doing it.
- The people who haven't applied yet would probably not be interested in a local program either (an assumption that I can investigate more carefully, but that seems plausible to me prima facie).
- The international EA community has already developed an entire infrastructure for running these programs, and they seem to be working well. Is it really worth it to replicate these efforts locally?
- These local programs seem to be offered mostly by large university groups. I am not a student and there is no culture of "university groups" of any kind in Romania. At this point our Facebook group has 205 people and our monthly meetups usually have 10-15 participants, most of whom are not students. It seems it would be premature to try to offer a fellowship program within the next 6 months.
- At this stage, I feel there are other activities that I could focus on in order to maximize impact in the long run.
What do you guys think? Do you know any city/country-level groups that offer fellowship programs? Does my reasoning make sense? Or do you think I'm missing something?