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I don’t typically send the CEA supporters emails, but I have important news that I wanted to share with you all.

It’s with great pleasure that I can announce that Tara Mac Aulay has moved from COO to CEO of CEA, and I have moved from CEO to President.

In significant part, this is simply making our titles match our existing de facto roles. For many months, Tara has been acting in the CEO position, setting the strategic direction for CEA and managing the team, while I have been focusing on representation of effective altruism in academia, in the media, and among high net worth individuals.

From our perspective, this division makes sense. Tara is exceptionally competent at running an organisation, with an impressive blend of quick decision-making ability, sound judgment, and intense dedication to the mission of CEA. Meanwhile, I have difficult-to-pass-on opportunities available to me in virtue of my position at Oxford and my status as the author of Doing Good Better. So it’s playing to each of our comparative advantages if she focuses on building CEA and I focus on helping build the intellectual foundations of effective altruism. One way of thinking of the distinction is that Tara and CEA will focus on developing effective altruism as a community and I, my two assistants, and my colleagues at the Global Priorities Institute, will focus on developing effective altruism as an idea.

I will still be a Trustee for CEA, and my activities naturally complement the rest of CEA’s, so we will naturally continue to sync up.

I’m very excited to see everything that CEA will achieve under Tara’s leadership; I can’t think of anyone who is better suited to be CEO.

I hope you will all join me in congratulating Tara and continuing to support CEA’s work.

All the best,
Will


Hi everyone,

I have lots to cover in this CEA supporters update. We’ve recently had our quarterly off-site as a company, renewing our focus for the next few months, and I’d like to share our current thinking with you all.

Before I go into that, I would like to thank Will MacAskill for his kind words in his last email to you all. In case any of you missed the announcement, I have changed titles from COO to CEO of CEA, and Will is now the President. We felt this better reflected our current de facto roles. For some months now I have been setting the strategic direction of CEA while Will has focused more on representing EA in academia, the media and to high net worths. Think of CEA as supporting EA as a community and Will, his assistants and the Global Priorities Institute as focusing on EA as an idea.

Naturally, we will continue to collaborate closely as his work crosses over with ours. I am grateful for Will’s confidence and support and am excited to see where we can take the EA community.

This brings me to the usual supporters email which is below and covers:

  1. Our current focus in the long term and Q4
  2. Details of our recent, internal restructure

We’ll be sharing a more detailed write up of our current strategy in the coming months but this gives you an initial insight into our work.

If you have any questions or comments, as always please do get in touch.

All the best,

Tara

CEA’s current focus long term and in Q4

We believe that the right communities can improve the world today and long into the future. That is why our mission is to create a global community of people who have made helping others a core part of their lives, and who use evidence and scientific reasoning to figure out how to do so as effectively as possible and help that community thrive.

CEA’s Q4 focus

Once a quarter we get together in person as a team to review our recent progress and set goals to keep us on track for the next few months.

At our most recent off-site we discussed:

  1. How to help people become deeply engaged with the ideas and community of effective altruism
  2. The long-term health and trajectory of the effective altruism community

1. Helping individuals engage deeply with effective altruism

In the early days of Effective Altruism, the community was small enough that most people knew each other. Once you heard about effective altruism, you could learn more and become more engaged through conversations with others.

Today, the community has grown so large, and the quantity of online content so vast, that it can be confusing to know where to start. We think we might be missing out on great people, who don’t know how to get involved or learn more.

We’re trying to get people up to speed more effectively so that they can start having an impact in the community.

In particular, in Q4 we  are focusing on:

  1. One-to-one interactions 
    As a trial, a couple of members of staff are focusing on one to one interactions with people who are already involved with EA. We want to see whether we can help connect them with material or people who can further their understanding of EA, or help them find new ways to get actively involved.
  2. Creating canonical content on EA
    We are updating the introductory content on www.effectivealtruism.org and creating a series of posts explaining the core ideas of effective altruism. We aim for this series to be an up-to-date survey of EA thinking. We are also trying to support the EA Forum as a place for discussion of new ideas in EA.

2. Protecting the long-term trajectory of the EA community

We’ve been discussing how to ensure that the EA community reaches its potential. That means both avoiding potential risks to the community, and ensuring we cooperate well, making the most of opportunities that arise.

One risk the community faces is that one individual could potentially tarnish the reputation of the EA community. We do a lot of work to guard against this, taking an active role in online moderation and collaborating on projects like putting together the EA Guiding principles.

But communities face other risks as they develop - for instance, they could fracture or simply miss important opportunities. In the next few months, we’ll be researching these risks and working out what we should do to address these risks.

We have also been discussing cooperation as a community using the theme of our EA Global conferences: doing good together. This quarter, one of our Summer Fellows will publish a piece on which norms are valuable for this.

Other plans for Q4

Of course, we are maintaining our activities in other areas. The events team is busy working on EA Global: London, which is taking place at Imperial College London at the beginning of November. Our Tech Team have been helping our Community Team to build a new online portal, which will make it easier for people to find local effective altruism groups. And our operations team have been helping hold everything together. In particular, they soldiered through two audits!

CEA org structure

Over the last few months our headcount has increased. We’ve reached the point where we need to add in another layer of management to support me.

We’ve now created five teams at CEA. Each team plays a different role, to help us reach our overall goals.

  1. Community Team
    Managed byLarissa Hesketh-Rowe, covering events, local groups, Giving What We Can and community support. Members of the EA community do a lot of valuable work. They share knowledge and encourage others to get more involved. This team fosters this community, both online and in person, encourages useful norms and mitigates risks.

  2. Research Team
    Managed by Max Dalton, this team will survey recent work from the effective altruism research community on effectivealtruism.org. For now, the emphasis is on structured communication of existing ideas (in contrast to the more expansive work of the old fundamentals research team). We aim to help individuals understand the core ideas, and then current research, in effective altruism.

  3. High Touch Recruitment
    Currently Kerry Vaughan but with a view to expand this team if the trial project goes well. As mentioned above this team will focuson one-to-one interactions with promising people in the community.

  4. Operations Team
    Managed by Miranda Dixon-Luinenburg. This team underpins all of our work with financial, legal, HR and other support.

  5. Tech Team
    Managed by Sam Deere, this team supports the various websites we run. As the team scales up, they will be able to find tech solutions for the problems both we at CEA and the broader EA community face.

Here is our current org chart.

We are also currently running a few trials and internships including:

  • a Product Management role working with our tech team,
  • an additional person in high touch recruitment,
  • someone to help conduct an evaluation of CEA’s current projects,
  • and an additional person in our operations team to help us build efficient ops processes