CEA update, April 2018

Posted on Sunday, April 1st 2018
(last updated Thursday, January 14th 2021)

Hi everyone,

In summary: This month we’ve shared our current thinking about our strategy and how we understand where the impact of the community comes from. We just hosted an EA Community Building retreat, and have updates on our grants projects and an upcoming Operations Forum in May.

CEA’s current thinking

In the coming months, we plan to share more of our internal thinking. We hope that this will help others working in EA community building to learn about what work we think is valuable. We also encourage you to give us feedback, so that we can improve our strategy. Finally, creating this shared knowledge should make it easier for organizations working in this space to coordinate.

We have recently published a page setting out some of the core hypotheses about our work. It’s hard to summarize, so I recommend you click through and read it. We think that this is the best explainer of what we’re working on and why, as well as a good summary of some core assumptions held by many in the community. We explain how ultimately we’re aiming for an optimal world; the best possible world for everyone that we can reach. Since there’s so much uncertainty about how to get there, we’re trying to do things that seem likely to be positive in many scenarios, namely building a community of people committed to using reason and evidence to do the most good possible. As discussed in our last update, currently that means we’re prioritizing getting to know core members of the EA community so that we can both learn how to help them and better understand how best to bring more people into EA in future.

We’ve also just published an explanation of how we’re currently thinking of understanding the impact of the community, and how much this might vary. While it’s incredibly difficult to assess questions like this, we can think of the impact that individuals have as being a function of their dedication, resources, and realization (see the document for an explanation of what we mean by these terms). When you look at how much each of those factors appears to vary, it seems likely that there is a wide variation in impact.

CEA Grants Updates

EA Grants

Unfortunately, we have not reopened EA Grants to the public due to planning fallacy, being over ambitious about the number of projects one team could juggle. However, we are currently accepting applications for EA Grants on a referral basis. If you or someone you know seems like a promising candidate for EA Grants, please complete our short application. If the project seems like a good fit, we will email a link to complete a second, more detailed application and to conduct an interview with us over Skype before being awarded a grant. We plan to reopen EA Grants applications to the public by the end of Q2.

To help solve the capacity constraints we’re looking to hire a part-time EA Grants Evaluator as a contractor (although we will likely advertise for something full time later in the year). If you or someone you know seem suited for this role, please have them email their CV/resume and cover letter to Kerry Vaughan at Kerry@effectivealtruism.org. We intend to make a hiring decision as soon as we find a qualified applicant.

Community Building Grants

Applications for our Community Building Grants have now closed — we received over 30 independent applications, the majority being for full-time community building work. We are conducting interviews over the next month and making decisions on a rolling basis. We expect the grant round will be complete by the start of June. For further information, see the announcement post on the EA Forum.

Recent & Upcoming Events

EA Community Building Retreat

One of our 2018 priorities is to improve how our projects help people become engaged community members, so we just finished hosting an EA Community Building retreat in the UK for organizers of European EA groups. Our goals were to increase the value that EA groups are capable of producing, and to empower individual attendees with robust plans.

EA Global

We recently announced the key idea for EA Global ahead of the conference in San Francisco 8-10 June: Stay Curious. We chose this theme because the questions raised by effective altruism present difficult intellectual challenges and as such, we must be prepared to evolve continually. It might be the case that we’re still missing ‘cause X’, a major moral issue that will make future generations look back and wonder why we failed to act on it.

We've released the first round of speakers, and the tentative agenda will be online soon. We expect to sell out before the event, so if you want to attend, we encourage you to apply ASAP.

Operations Forum

As 80K points out in their recent article, operations looks like the highest-impact role for many people in the effective altruism and existential risk communities right now, in part because of the significant bottleneck EA organizations face in hiring talented operations staff.

To help address this bottleneck, CEA is running an Operations Forum in San Leandro, CA from May 24-28th. If you think you might be a good fit because of your past work in operations or your interest in joining this field, please use this form to apply.