MarisaJurczyk

I'm an Operations Specialist at Rethink Charity, where I help with day-to-day operations, as well as maintaining RC Forward's website and supporting the EA Giving Tuesday project. I'm also a volunteer at ALLFED, where I work on social research.

I recently completed a BA in Sociology and studied value drift in the EA movement for my senior thesis. I also previously volunteered for Rethink Charity's Students for High-Impact Charity project as a Student Leader Coordinator.

MarisaJurczyk's Comments

The EA Hotel is now the Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research (CEEALAR)
I worry that without it it's too similar to CEA though

Valid.

You could keep the name but drop the first 'A': CEELAR

I also like this.

The EA Hotel is now the Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research (CEEALAR)

I agree that CEEALAR (I'm pronouncing it see-uh-lar, almost like CLR, in my head) looks a little odd and might be hard to remember the acronym for. But I also agree that to get charitable status, dropping "hotel" was probably a good choice. A lot of nonprofits in the US use "house" (e.g. Covenant House) to give more of a charitable vibe. "EA House" already sounds less for-profit, though maybe less distinctive since EA houses are all over the place. Also, Centre gives me think tank vibes, which may or may not be what you're looking for.

If you're tied to the name, I'd recommend dropping the first E to make it CEALAR (Centre for Effective Altruism Learning And Research) to make it more pronounceable, aesthetic, and brief.

Overall, names are hard, and I'm not sure if it's worth stressing as people will probably keep informally calling it the EA Hotel as is.

Props for putting in the work to keep this organization alive and well. It's a wonderful asset to the EA community. :)

Important EA-related questions EA would like to know from general public

I might be too late, but I was just cleaning through some notes of mine and found some questions related to this from various research agendas that I found interesting:

  • Why do people donate to ineffective charities?
  • Why do people want to donate directly and not too overhead?
  • Why do people care about future people more than current people?
  • How do social norms and expectations influence giving?

Some of these can be incorporated into your current questions (e.g. in the most important qualities when giving, you can mention low overhead). Maybe you can also have people choose or rank who they want to benefit from their giving the most (e.g. their community, animals, future generations, etc.).

Not sure if this is helpful, but glad that you're doing this regardless. :)

Has any EA oriented organization tried promoting donors on their social media?

This is interesting! Have other non-EA organizations been doing this? My main concern would be coming off as self-promoting (for individuals - such is expected for nonprofit orgs). I think EAs are particularly conscious about coming across as people who actually genuinely care about helping the world, rather than people who are just doing good for social status.

I also wonder if there is actually a stigma worth fighting around donating to EA and EA-aligned orgs. In my perspective, it seems that the biggest barriers to EA(-aligned) orgs getting the funding they need is: a) not enough big donors know about, or are sympathetic to EA ideas, or b) orgs themselves aren't giving enough compelling reasons to donate, in the form of quantitative data about cost-effectiveness, impact, and the like.

On the other hand, I could see a scenario where I saw on social media that Person A, who I greatly respect, donates to Organization B, and I might be more compelled to donate to them as a result (though this probably isn't a particularly good way to go about deciding where to donate). I think this is part of why peer-to-peer fundraising is one of the most effective funding techniques. (P2P might be a way to accomplish similar goals to what you mention, while bypassing some of the challenges, though it of course brings up different challenges.)

Remote local group leaders?

Interesting idea! I do see some advantages to this - it seems like there are a lot of people trying to get experience working for EA-related causes, and quite a bit of those people seem interested in gaining ops experience. This seems like a good way to get those people connected with EA, and get people involved who don't currently have local communities.

One worry I have is that people who aren't going to meetups probably don't have a good sense of the culture of the local EA group and how well events are going. This could be worked around by collecting feedback from local group participants, but I think you could get much more information much more easily by being part of the meetups.

An alternative that I think might be useful: A lot of EAs have remote jobs or some flexibility on where they live. As someone with a remote job who currently lives in a community without an active local group and seemingly without people who would be interested in being involved with one, I would be open to moving to a community with lots of EAs but without an active EA group for the sake of helping as a group organizer. Perhaps I'm odd in that way, but perhaps there are a few other EAs that are similar.

In either case, I'd be interested in seeing a list of EA cities that have this problem and coming up with ways to match interested people with open roles. Feel free to reach out to me if you'd like help with this. :)

What book(s) would you want a gifted teenager to come across?

I'm surprised no one has recommended 'Doing Good Better' by MacAskill. I would say that and 'Strangers Downing' as mentioned in a previous comment were most responsible for my engagement with EA. 'Strangers Drowning' I think somewhat primed me to be EA - it made the ideas of EA seem less foreign and odd when I actually came across them. 'Doing Good Better' helped me understand the EA argument quite a bit better and was probably the thing that tipped me from being interested in EA to identifying more or less as an EA.

Want to Save the World? Enter the Priesthood

I definitely agree that religious outreach is a neglected but promising area of EA community-building.

I think a big part of what makes reaching out to religious groups at least somewhat promising is that a lot of them are already trying to do good. If we focus EA outreach on the general population, or most other subpopulations that EA currently focuses outreach on, you'll likely have some people who care about doing good, and others who have different motivations. But in many religious spaces, an obligation to help others is already at the heart of what they do. And it's a lot easier to sell EA to someone who already agrees that we have an obligation to help others as much as possible. Of course, different sects and individual religious communities have varying degrees of commitment to service and doing good, but I would imagine there's some research already available on which groups are most oriented towards doing good (and if not, this is certainly doable research).

Also, from anecdotal experiences from friends and ex-colleagues as well as my own personal experience, I know a lot of agnostic/atheists who are involved in religious groups because they're looking for a community, and often more specifically, they were looking for a community oriented towards thinking deeply about the world's truths and/or doing good in the world. I think EA groups would fulfill this need for a lot of people (and perhaps relieve them from having to pretend to believe something they don't in exchange for social support).