SHIC Will Suspend Outreach Operations

Hi capybaralet, 
Thanks for your comments and enthusiasm for the program!

> I must admit I was frustrated by reading this post.  I want this work to continue, and I don't find the levels of engagement you report surprising or worth massively updating on (i.e. suspending outreach).

I admit when the decision was made to stop actively working on SHIC, I was pretty sad and frustrated too. However for our team, and our funders too, the main question was "do we think this is worth continuing compared to other things we could spend our time and money on?", and the answer was "probably not".  

You might also be interested in this post which combines the experience of all the EA outreach attempts I was aware of at the time:

This probably will answer many of your questions about why we didn't continue to test out different ideas of engaging students and teachers - we'd already tried quite a few different things and learnt from work from other EAs. The post is now nearly 2 years old and there have been other efforts in the EA community to work with high schoolers since then. But I still basically agree with my conclusion which was:

> I don’t think our outreach described in this post was a particularly effective use of resources. However, outreach could be effective if you are able to attract highly promising students to sign up for a program over a longer term. This might be possible if you have a strong brand (such as an association with elite University) allowing you to attract suitable students through schools and other networks, and the resources to run a fellowship-type program with these students.
To answer your specific questions:
1. There were only a few students who engaged significantly out of class, so it is hard to know what to conclude from a small number. Some were quite keen on EA concepts, others were eager to do good, but didn't seem to be particularly excited about apply EA principles to their career path or volunteering, so we didn't feel that the impact these students could have was sufficient to outweigh the small number.
2.  The question of whether to use "effective altruism" was discussed a lot within our team. We ended up using the term a little in the program, referred to EA on our website, providing copies of "Doing Good Better" to the teachers to lend to interested students, and using the term with the advanced workshop students. The reason for not using the term prominently was partly because we felt some teachers/parents might be put off by the term, and also to provide brand separation between the EA community and SHIC - if we used "EA" and did a poor job that would reflect poorly on EA as a whole. Similarly, if EA got a poor reputation we might still be able to continue with SHIC. 
3. Some high schools have policies around teachers not connecting with students on social media (except through official school pages), and we know some schools and parents are cautious about how minors interact over social media, especially with older folks like us! So we were wary about using social media to have one-on-one or small group conversations. Our hope was that the advanced workshop students would eventually drive their own EA group, and make their own social media presence. 

Why EA groups should not use “Effective Altruism” in their name.

Thanks for sharing your groups' experience Koen. I'm sympathetic to the idea that "Effective Altruism" wasn't the best choice of name, and I agree it is very important for any translations of the name to be done thoughtfully  as the most obvious translation isn't always going to work well.

My own belief (I'm not speaking for CEA) is that there is a big advantage of having a consistent brand and worldwide recognisable network,  so even if "effective altruism" wasn't the best choice initially, since it is the name we use now there is a cost to deviating from it that we shouldn't ignore.  The ideal in my mind would be if in each language had a carefully selected agreed upon name that EA groups operating in that language use. My guess is that it is probably better to have a not-perfect name that everyone uses, than a whole variety of different names. (I don't think "effective altruism" is bad enough for us to want to change the English speaking groups' names, but evidence could well change my mind on that). 

You mentioned one possible cost to not having this consistent brand (folks interested in EA not finding you). Another is if people google "PISE" or "Positive Impact Society" after seeing or hearing something about your group, they won't find the ideas and network that the group is based on, making the group appear less substantial and valuable than it actually is. The subtitle idea would help a bit if "effective altruism" was written in full and was obvious enough that folks would notice it and google that too. Another cost is that there are people who hear "effective altruism" several times in several places before  deciding to learn more/ get involved, so each exposure of that name (as long as it is positive!) helps. 

Some years back we did have several different names for EA groups: "effective altruism", "80,000 Hours", "Giving What We Can" (and "The Life You Can Save" however they were just global poverty focused). These groups did very similar things to each other, but had different names it felt messy and confusing, so I was pleased when these became more consistent. 

I'm not sure how much my preferences here are because of the usefulness of a consistent brand, a personal aesthetic preference, or due to the fact that I explain the EA ecosystem to a lot of newcomers and the more names there are the more complex this explanation becomes! 

Donating to EA funds from Germany

Hey zwiebrot, you might like to try a donation swap with a donor from another country. You can register your interest on There is a good chance there will be another donor from another country who would like to support a charity listed on Effectiv Spenden, so you can donate to each other's chosen charity.  

Announcing the EA donation swap system

Yes it is! We are still quietly swapping away. At some point we'll write a post to summarise what we've been up to.

Donating effectively does not necessarily imply donating tax-deductibly

Readers might be interested in the EA Donation Swap system, which increases the overall tax-deductibility of EA donations, without people having to change the organisation they support.

An example of how it works:
- Cara from Australia wants to the Good Food Institute (which is registered in Canada but not Australia)
- Sam from Canada wants to donate to AMF (which is registered in both countries).
Cara and Sam are matched through the EA Donation Swap website, and agree to swap donations, resulting in Sam donating to the Good Food Institute (and getting his tax-deduction), and Cara donating to AMF (and getting her tax-deduction).

We've also arranged swaps when one recipient organisation is NOT a registered charity in any country, and the swap results in one donor getting tax-deduction, which they wouldn't have done without the swap.

At the moment we are very constrained by Global Health and Poverty donors from countries with a lot of EA charities (UK, US, Canada) and countries with no EA charities - so if you are in this boat contact us! This constraint means we can't guarantee we'll be able to find you a matching donor.

If you are interested or have any questions, you can check out or email us on

Note: We haven't looked in to whether donation swapping is legal in all countries.

EA Survey 2019 Series: How many people are there in the EA community?

Thanks for this David! Nice comparisons!

When I talk to people about EA (often after people ask me about what I do with myself), it is very common for people to ask questions like "I haven't heard of effective altruism before, how large is the movement?" and then "Why isn't it larger? Have you tried ..." with some suggestions for large scale outreach.

While I feel comfortable discussing this question when I'm talking to dedicated EAs, the nuanced pros and cons of various movement-building strategies isn't really what I would like the first conversation about EA to turn to... it is just not all that inspiring. I'd much rather keep talking about cause areas and charities and how we might build a wonderful future.

How do other people deal with questions about the size of the movement?

Announcing the EA Virtual Group*

Thanks Sami, this is a great idea! I'm really glad this group is starting up to support our geographically widespread community.

EAGxVirtual Unconference (Saturday, June 20th 2020)

In case you haven't seen it, here is a guide to talking about EA, which includes a list of approaches various community members like to use, discussions of pitfalls to avoid, and FAQs. It is very open for additions and changes.

Does Effective Altruism have a graphic standards/brand style/brand identity guide?

Hey Quinn. I think your new logo for the Effective Environmentalism page looks lovely! Apologies for this comment being clearly far too late! I was reminded by seeing the new EE cover image today, and figured I'd comment so you and others know the answer for future projects.

At the moment there really isn't any community-wide graphic standards. Many groups use the lightbulb logo in some form or other. Blues and teals seem to be the usual colours, and Roboto Slab and Raleway seem to be the usual fonts.

Here is CEA's personal style guide for which anyone is welcome to follow or take inspiration from.

There are also a variety of editable graphics sources from a variety of groups here:

Neglected EA Regions

One data point suggesting the positive impact of setting up facebook groups for places that have no groups:

Back in 2014 or 2015 LEAN set up an "EA Christchurch" facebook group, that I was able to stumble upon. By posting on this group I found another couple of interested people in my city, and we've had a small but thriving EA group since. I might not have had the gumption to start a local group (or may have taken a lot longer to start) without that facebook group connecting us.

Of course that doesn't mean this strategy will work in other situations, or whether the strategy could just have easily been net negative, but I believe it was very positive in our situation.

Note at first I was very suspicious that the admins, and most of the members, were not from Christchurch, so if you haven't already you might want to explain who you are and what you are hoping to do for the group on the group page.

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