Gemma Paterson

Tax Technology - Associate Product Manager @ EY
726 karmaJoined Oct 2022Working (0-5 years)Whitechapel, London, UK



London GWWC group co-lead:

Organiser of the EY Effective Altruism workplace group and EA London Quarterly Review coworking sessions

In my day job, I'm an accountant turned product person in tax technology.


Topic Contributions

Absolutely agree - although I'm one of the other GWWC London co-leads so I am also biased here. I think low commitment in person socials are really important and tbh the social proof of meeting people like me who donated significantly was the most important factor for me personally.  

I'd would like to see people be a lot more public with their pledges. I personally think Linkedin is underutilised here - adding pledges to the volunteering section your profile is low effort but sets a benchmark.

I've personally added my pledge to my email signature, but I think this depends a lot on the kind of role you have, the company you work for and if you think the personal reputation risk is worth the potential upside (influencing someone else to donate more to effective charities). 

I think this could be especially powerful for senior people who have a lot of influence but equally I've had a few meaningful conversations with people off the back of it. 

I've got a half-written post on this for this forum series and Alex from @Giving What We Can has created some fantastic banner images for LinkedIn profiles. Some resources from GWWC:

Donating anonymously: Should we be private or public about giving to charity? · Giving What We Can

Why you should mention the Pledge in your LinkedIn summary · Giving What We Can

Great comment - I'd add that usually GWWC pledges in the UK are based on pre tax so it wouldn't actually cost the full £5k. Donations reduce your income for income tax purposes (but not NI) - Payroll Giving (UK) or GAYE - EA Forum (


£50k salary 

£3.75k donation which is grossed up by 25% from your taxes with gift aid to £5k

If you actually donated £5k then that would be a £7.5k total donation when grossed up with gift aid. 

However, the higher rate tax (40%) band starts at ~£50k a year so every £1 donated above that costs 60p 

(Working on a longer explainer on this which updates this piece UK Income Tax & Donations — EA Forum ( but you can check out the underlying spreadsheet which create these graphs here: UK Income tax (including NI) - Google Sheets)

Apologies for the delay in response - it has been a busy month at work!

Thank you for asking!! I have a lot of suggestions on this so have been trying to legibly structure my thoughts.

However, it has ended up turning into a bit of a monster answer and tbh replying to this comment is blocking me doing effective giving posts.

So I'm going to prioritise writing those this week and get back to you later.

Thanks for understanding!

Fantastic post and thank you for articulating this! I feel really similarly doing workplace organising - a lot of the value seems to be driven from connecting people to other people that take doing good seriously. 

Some people struggle to work out what the EA community is supposed to do for them, or what the point of it all is. For what it's worth, my experience has been that this confusion extends to all levels of seniority within the community. But for me, participating in the community was the obvious way to counter the attrition Brooks warned of. I tend to agree that you will tend to become more like those around you, but that applies to people other than your colleagues, and you can choose who those people are! Maybe those 'EAs' even find what you are doing praiseworthy, but a lot of the power is just in feeling less weird for trying.

I often feel like people working at core EA orgs forget how valuable this is for the vast majority of EAs, who do not work with other EAs. Almost everyone I know outside EA, from my parents to my colleagues to my neighbours, is not seeking to improve the wider world with any significant fraction of their resources. They're just getting on with their lives and trying to do right by the people they meet. To the extent they are aware of my giving, their attitude is one of curious fascination. 

Do you have thoughts on what you'd like to see more of in community building to support E2Gers? I'd be particularly curious about what you think made a difference when you were younger vs now

Oh wow!!! We'd love that!!!

I can arrange for there to be a physical certificate for you to sign.

Hi Mohammad - apologies for the delay in my response. 

I understand how you feel. It was easy to get caught up in the opportunities to get lots of money to tackle the suffering and pressing problems in the world. But, retrospectively I think this was a big mistake on their part and everyone involved in EA needs to take a serious look at their approach to risk. 

Hopefully, we can avoid falling into this trap again in the future. 

Thank you! That's very kind! 

I feel similarly about finding EA later in my life - I heard about it when I was a few years into my career rather than in university. I'm glad I did because if I'd heard about it in uni, I could imagine it becoming my whole deal. I've got a lot of value from working a normie corporate job first and I'm glad a lot of my friends really don't care about EA at all. 

One of my other half-written drafts is about the benefits of doing graduate training at an employer that churns out dozens of graduates a year rather than a small EA organisation (where the quality of management, mentorship, training and support is more variable). I think the 80k advice on career capital for new grads is great and getting people to think about their long term output (thinking 20-30 years head rather than just 5) is excellent, but I think their ideas for initial first jobs are limited (and so obviously written by cerebral oxford grads who would have access to top of the range opportunities). 

IMO they underrate graduates spending their first few years post-grad joining professions where there are existing networks and professional ethics requirements. Examples would be law/accountancy/engineering/medicine/teaching etc. I think there are downsides (time requirement, skills you might not use later) but I think there are benefits to having a more diverse non-academia EA talent pipeline and I want to spread effective giving into those spaces!! Having the pipeline mostly filled with early start up employees, policy people and management consultants is high risk - none of these roles are accountable to external ethical or professional standards. Plus, having worked in international tax, I now have opinions on potentially high impact tax policy work that isn't obvious to people without that background - I like being able to bring a different perspective.


Good for you on bad criticisms! Keep at it 💪

Hmmm I'm not being as prescriptive as that. Maybe there is a better solution to this specific problem - maybe requiring someone with higher karma to confirm the suggestion? (original person gets the credit)

See also the Payroll Giving (UK) or GAYE - EA Forum ( page which it is the top google result for "Effective Altruism Payroll Giving". It made sense for me to update since I am an accountant and have experience trying to get this done at my workplace. 

Did I need to make a post about something unrelated to do that? 

Should we be making it so difficult for users with an EA forum account to make updates to the forum wikis? 

I imagine the platform vision for the EA forum is to be the "Wikipedia for do-gooders" and make it useful as a resource for people working out the best ways to do good. For example, when you google "Effective Altruism AI Safety" on incognito mode - the first result is the forum topic on AI safety:  AI safety - EA Forum (

I was chatting to @Rusheb about this who has spent the last year upskilling to transition into AI Safety from software development. He had some great ideas for links (ie. new 80k guides, site that had links for newbies or people making the transition from software engineering)

Ideally someone who had this experience and opinions on what would be useful on a landing page for AI Safety should be able to suggest this on the wiki page (like you can do on Wikipedia with the caveat that you can be overruled).  However, he doesn't have the forum karma to do that and the tooltip explaining that was unclear on how to get the karma to do it. 

I have the forum karma to do it but I don't think I should get the credit - I didn't have the AI safety knowledge - he did. In this scenario, the forum has lost out on some free improvements to its wiki plus an engaged user who would feel "bought in". Is there a way to "lend him" my karma? 

I got it from posting about EA Taskmaster which shouldn't make me an authority on AI Safety.

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