As we move towards the end of the year, we’re reviewing our recent events and planning for 2018. This update covers:
- EA Global London and high touch recruitment,
- Planning for 2018
- A new hire for our Operations team; Mason Hartman
We’ve just finished our third and final EA Global conference for this year, this time in London.
As I mentioned in my last update, we’re currently focusing on two broad areas:
a) helping people become deeply engaged with the ideas and community of effective altruism, and
b) the long-term health and trajectory of the effective altruism community.
Our EA Global conferences have an essential role to play in achieving these goals.
At EA Global London we experimented with achieving the first goal by focusing on more advanced content aimed at people who already had a solid understanding of effective altruism. Content included potential new interventions in policy reform and health, as well as workshops to help participants improve their decision-making skills, productivity, and self-care.
We need to review the surveys and conduct follow up interviews with attendees, but early reviews of the survey seem positive. So far almost half (253) of the attendees filled in our post-event survey. 68% of those selected deepening their understanding of EA concepts as one of their goals and of those a majority (83%) entirely met or exceeded their goals.
One thing we notably experimented with at EA Global London to increase the engagement of attendees was pre-arranging short (15 minutes) one-to-one meetings between our staff and attendees. Four other members of staff and I focussed on this, and we met about a third of attendees to discuss their plans, answer questions and connect them with others. On the first pass, this seems very valuable and in some cases has led to arranging to follow up with attendees who could be promising for direct work. We learned a lot about how to create valuable interactions between attendees, what messaging issues we need to work on and where we can help both new and highly involved EAs.
We came away from the conference with a strengthened belief that in-person events (compared to media and online interaction) are particularly good opportunities to deepen EAs in their understanding and engagement.
While our first goal is more focused on individual impact, we recognise that to do the most good, in the long run, we need to ensure we have a healthy community. We need to work well together, remain mindful of all our uncertainty and keep an open mind to all possible interventions.
Shaping norms and values to this end is challenging. Our EA Global conferences are one way we can influence the focus of the community. We used the themes of Doing Good Together and intellectual exploration at our conferences this year to make steps in that direction. I’d be very interested to hear if you have noticed any shifts in focus in the community as a result.
Much of our work this quarter will be planning for 2018. The main areas we are looking at include:
- Planning our 2018 budget and beginning our winter fundraiser
- Liaising with Open Phil to review our first grant and plan our activities for 2018
- Planning our calendar of events for next year
- Looking at how we can increase our support to local groups
- Prioritizing our tech projects
- Deciding whether to run a summer internship program.
To this end I’d be very interested in hearing from many of you about:
- Your experiences with the in-person EA community (local groups and events, more on this below)
- The tech solutions we should prioritise.
For both our events and local groups support, we plan to experiment with and encourage more one to one and small group interactions.
We hypothesise that by meeting more people one-on-one, we can both tailor the ways they can become more involved and learn more about the needs of the community. We want to run specialised events so that we can deliver more advanced and targeted EA content. For example, we’re considering running a small event for EA group leaders to sync up on strategy with group leaders.
Having experimented with making EA Global London more advanced, we’re also considering how we might better segment our conferences next year. Limiting the audience to those with a stronger understanding of EA means we are better able to tailor content to the level of the audience, but it means those who are newer do not gain the benefit of interacting with more experienced EAs.
My colleague Larissa and I plan to speak to more people over the next couple of months.
Since you are very much our target audience, I would be interested in any rough thoughts you have on the following:
i) If you were to discover EA today, what sort of event would it be most valuable for you to attend?
ii) What, if anything, do you think is the most important benefit to the community at large of coming together at conferences?
iii) what do you get out of interacting with the EA community in person?
And finally, I would like to invite you all to join me in welcoming Mason Hartman to CEA. She is joining Miranda’s operations team to help us systematise many more of our processes.
Mason has a strong interest in process automation and has experience organizing events, designing and coding user interfaces, and developing research workflows.
We continue to trial or have volunteer support in tech product management and high touch recruitment, and I’ll keep you posted as to whether or not this leads to any additional hires.
All the best,