Part 8: Putting it into Practice
We can't improve the world just by knowing about its problems. At some point, we also have to take action — whether by donating or through our work.
Many people in the EA movement pursue careers in promising cause areas; that's the focus of this sequence. But we recognize that many people aren't in a good position to rethink their career or choose a new field of study, so we've also included resources on personal giving and getting involved in the EA community.
Organization Spotlight: 80,000 Hours
80,000 Hours provides research and support to help people find careers that effectively tackle the world's most pressing problems (with a focus on recent graduates and young professionals).
More about their name:
"You have about 80,000 working hours in your career: 40 years x 50 weeks x 40 hours.
"If you want to have a positive impact with your life, your choice of career is probably your best opportunity because so much time is at stake.
"This means it’s worth thinking hard about how to use this time most effectively. If you can make your career 1% [more impactful], it would in theory be worth spending 800 hours working out how.
"We exist to help people work out how they can best use this time to help the world, and take action on that basis."
Organization Spotlight: Giving What We Can
Members of Giving What We Can (GWWC) take a lifetime pledge to donate at least 10% of their income to highly effective charities. The organization offers tools for donation tracking and a social community for people who have pledged.
GWWC started out with a few dozen members in 2009 — and in so doing, effectively launched the effective altruism movement. Since then, they've grown to more than 5,000 members and brought global attention to ideas around effective giving.
If you want to try building a habit of giving, but don't want to make a lifetime commitment, GWWC offers a "try giving" option where you take a limited-time pledge, for as little as 1% of your income.
(We should note that while many people in the EA community are members of Giving What We Can, many others are not, for a variety of reasons. There are many ways to improve the world aside from donating, and personal financial security can be crucial to increasing your long-term impact.)
Photo credit: Mike Pellinni