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New to effective altruism and figuring out where to start? Looking for new ways to have an impact?

Here’s our guide to what to do next.

1. Join the newsletter

If you do one thing on this page, you should join the EA Newsletter:

By joining, you'll get a regular reminder that doing good is an important part of your life — along with ideas on how to do that. It's a fantastic way to spend the next ten seconds.

53,000 people subscribe to the newsletter, and we take good care of it. We send one email per month, and we won't use your info for anything else.

Still unsure? Check out our past newsletters to see what we've shared before.

2. Learn more

We know this doesn't sound like a very practical first step. But the world's biggest problems wouldn't be so big if they were easy to solve. And there are plenty of big problems to work on. Where should you begin?

Thankfully, you're not alone. We all struggled with the same question. And while we don't have all the answers — far from it! — we've made real progress. By reading up on past research, you can make a better plan — and save time in the process.

We recommend the Effective Altruism Handbook for an introduction to the key ideas of effective altruism. We also share our favorite articles, books, podcasts, and videos on our resource page.

If you're interested in what you should do with your career, we recommend 80,000 Hours' career planning course. You can also apply for individual career coaching — they recently hired new advisors and are looking to speak with many new people.

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3. Give to outstanding charities

One of the simplest ways to help is by giving to highly effective charities.

For our best advice on giving, see this writeup.

For quick advice, see below:

One option is to use the EA Funds platform. If you support one of their Effective Altruism Funds, a team of experts will guide your donation to the best projects and organizations they can find. If you'd like to be a more active donor, they also offer a curated list of exceptional charities.

Another option is to use an impact-focused charity evaluator. For instance:

If you want to make a serious commitment to improving the world with your donations, you can join Giving What We Can by taking a pledge to give a percentage of your income to effective charities.

Give effectively through EA Funds

Check out the Giving What We Can pledge

4. Discuss and connect

While you can learn a lot by reading, discussing things with others is often the best way to make progress and get your questions answered.

Effective altruism is a global community with thousands of members. Here are some ways to get connected:

You can also find virtual communities on the Effective Altruism Forum and Facebook.

EA Global 2016 Group Photo Arms Up 1

If you're still looking for ideas, you can find personalized recommendations below.

Filters:

Learn the Basics

Read more about effective altruism

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Short-term, Medium-term, Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar

Solving the world's most important problems naturally requires skills, talent, and experience. Rather than immediately donating or volunteering, it is often better for someone new to effective altruism to start by becoming better educated about its theory and practice. The aspiration to do the most good takes more than just good intentions; there’s a lot of evidence and careful reasoning needed to successfully maximize your impact.

Ask a question

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Short-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar

Do you have lots of questions about effective altruism? It can be hard to navigate all of the material that exists on the topic, and find the right people to answer your many queries. If you're facing this problem, expert forums could be the solution.

Sign up for EA email updates

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Medium-term, Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar

Do you want to receive regular updates with interesting articles, organization updates, and job announcements? To receive monthly information via email, sign up for the EA newsletter.

Attend an EAGx or EA group event

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Part-time
  • Duration:Short-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar

If you’re excited about effective altruism and want to meet others who are excited about it too, consider applying to an EAGx or attending an EA group event in your region. These events are run by local organizers to help you get acquainted with the basics of EA; they'll also help you learn more about the global effective altruism community.

Forward the field

Write a blog post

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Short-term, Medium-term, Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Very Familiar

Writing and publishing blog posts is a great way to both provide value to others and train your own skills. Given the field’s current small size, individual contributors have the ability to make great strides in important areas or otherwise contribute novel content. While we encourage everyone to think critically about EA topics, this is probably best suited to people who are well acquainted with effective altruism and/or one of its specific subdomains.

Seek advice on a project or piece of writing

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Short-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Familiar, Very Familiar

Working on a piece of moral philosophy for the EA Forum? Want someone to chek over your petition to the US Congress? Drafting the framework for a new project and could use a second set of eyes? To get feedback on your work, you can join the Effective Altruism Editing and Review group on Facebook.

Conduct expert interviews

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Short-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar, Very Familiar

Since effective altruism is still a nascent field, lots of existing information has yet to be published. If there's some new topic you'd like to learn about and/or share with others, interview a relevant expert and write up the interview. They might be able to tell you about a field of knowledge, a problem area, or their experience.

Write a literature review or meta-analysis

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours, Part-time
  • Duration:Short-term, Medium-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar, Very Familiar

It's often hard to get a clear picture of the state-of-the-art research in domains relevant to EA interests. Meta-analyses -- holistic analyses of a number of individual studies -- are stronger evidence about the impact of an intervention than any one study can be by itself, so they are great tools for people trying to use evidence and reason to make the world better.

Write a cause, problem, or field overview

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours, Part-time
  • Duration:Short-term, Medium-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Familiar, Very Familiar

The effective altruism community has become relatively well-versed in a few domains but could still use a lot of brainpower in many other highly promising areas. We need experienced researchers who are willing to go off the beaten path to investigate areas that typically lie outside the remits of existing organizations.

Tackle a crucial consideration

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours, Part-time
  • Duration:Medium-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Very Familiar

Some questions, if answered, could drastically change our beliefs about what is best to focus on. Orienting your research towards these so-called crucial considerations could have a profound impact compared to other possible research agendas. Tackling one of these is a perfect project for an ambitious researcher particularly keen to make a difference.

Give your time

Volunteer for short-term tasks

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours, Part-time
  • Duration:Short-term, Medium-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar, Very Familiar

Some of the best ways to help are by improving or scaling the efforts of projects that have high leverage to make the world better. If you’re willing to give your time and skills, there’s likely to be some way that you can help. These opportunities will be particularly well suited to people who are able to do things on call and check Facebook notifications frequently.

Build lists of useful people, organizations, and resources

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Medium-term, Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar, Very Familiar

Lists are useful for finding jobs, collaborators, resources, and concrete examples of progress in cause areas. If you're investigating an area for your own purposes, consider getting into the habit of building a list while you do so, and sharing it more widely.

Identify impressive math students or graduates

  • Occupation:Student, Professional
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Short-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Very Familiar

One skill that has proven useful in many EA pursuits is mathematics. From technical research to earning-to-give, mathematics gives people the chance to do uniquely high-leverage EA activities. If you know young adults who are mathematically talented, consider referring them to one of the many quantitative EA opportunities.

Give to outstanding charities

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Short-term, Medium-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar, Very Familiar

One of the simplest ways to make a difference is donating money to one of the organizations you think will do the most good with it.

This is easier said than done — identifying the best charities is complicated work — but we’re here to help.

Set up an Effective Legacy

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar, Very Familiar

By donating to the most effective charities, the amount of good you can do is immense. In the event that the unexpected happens, ensure that your savings go to effective charities by writing a will directed towards GiveWell’s top charities. This is particularly relevant for people with substantial wealth and those later in life.

Consider a giving pledge

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar, Very Familiar

Taking a pledge lets you make a serious commitment to improving the world through your donations. By declaring your intention to give, and joining a community of others who've done the same, you can make altruism a deeper part of your identity, and strengthen the EA movement as a whole.

However, a pledge is a major decision, and it won't make sense for everyone.

Take the Founders Pledge

  • Occupation:Professional
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar, Very Familiar

Startup founders often want to make the world better, but have to pinch pennies while getting their companies up and running. If you're an entrepreneur, you can take the Founders Pledge to maintain your personal commitment to give, and share your commitment with others. Pledgers commit to give a percentage of their future exit or liquidity event earnings to the high-impact charities of their choice.

Contribute your career

Consider an EA-guided career

  • Occupation:Student, Professional
  • Time commitment:Full-time
  • Duration:Medium-term, Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar, Very Familiar

Say you’re a student or early-stage professional who's committed to doing what's best for the world, and think effective altruism offers promise for doing that well. If you’re serious about your values, you can take it to the next level and do EA work full-time. Your time is a vast and valuable resource, but figuring out how to spend it best can be really hard. To help you out, career-advice organization 80,000 Hours has your back.

Make your career more impactful

  • Occupation:Professional
  • Time commitment:Full-time
  • Duration:Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Very Familiar

Most people spend roughly 80,000 hours working in their lives. If you want to make a substantial impact on the world, your career is probably your best opportunity.

Start an EA-inspired project

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Part-time, Full-time
  • Duration:Medium-term, Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Very Familiar

Do you have an idea for a project that would be valuable to do? Do you have time to spare and an entrepreneurial flair? If you’re really familiar with the EA space and think your idea is really worthwhile, write up a project proposal and try to get it off the ground!

Promote EA in your workplace

  • Occupation:Professional
  • Time commitment:Hours, Part-time
  • Duration:Short-term, Medium-term, Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Familiar, Very Familiar

Many people have introduced concepts from effective altruism at their own companies (for example, Google and Microsoft).

Apply the EA mindset to your existing life and communities

  • Occupation:Professional
  • Time commitment:Hours, Part-time
  • Duration:Short-term, Medium-term, Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Familiar, Very Familiar

If you’re coming to EA from a field that's underrepresented in the community (i.e. most things besides academic philosophy and computer science) we probably haven’t figured out how to make best use of your discipline. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the EA basics, cross-reference them against what people in your life and field are doing, and see where the principles might be applied beneficially.

Join key adjacent communities

  • Occupation:Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours, Part-time
  • Duration:Short-term, Medium-term, Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Familiar, Very Familiar

Much of the work that EAs do is augmented by ties to the industries to which they relate. If you have close ties to a community that has relevant components to EA or believe that you could enmesh yourself in one, we encourage you to do so, and help the rest of the community learn from your experience.

Teach a course on EA

  • Occupation:Student, Professional
  • Time commitment:Part-time
  • Duration:Medium-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Very Familiar

If you’re a university professor, high school teacher, or student at a university that permits student-run courses, consider teaching a course on effective altruism. EA classes have historically resided in philosophy and economics departments, but would also be good fits for STEM, business, statistics, and social work.

Create a high-impact international development charity

  • Occupation:Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Part-time, Full-time
  • Duration:Medium-term, Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Familiar, Very Familiar

Although there are many nonprofits working in the international development space, few meet the impact and transparency criteria charity evaluator GiveWell seeks in a highly-effective program. To address this shortage, consider taking the leap and starting a charity along those lines. This is particularly well-suited to people looking to work on international development, and for those with a penchant for evidence-based entrepreneurship.

Engage with others

Attend EA Global

  • Occupation:Student, Professional
  • Time commitment:Full-time
  • Duration:Short-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Familiar, Very Familiar

Effective Altruism Global is the annual conference of the EA community. There are 1 to 3 events every year, focusing on pushing the frontier of our understanding in relevant domains and helping people excited about EA to build their connections and pursuits. Consider attending, particularly if you're relatively familiar with EA and/or have expertise in some relevant subdomain, and are looking to make a big change in the EA direction.

Meet EAs over coffee

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Short-term, Medium-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Very Familiar

Sometimes the best way to get people into EA is simply to learn more about their interests and skills and talk through EA with them face-to-face. If you’re looking for an activity that members of your local EA group can do or something you can do in a region lacking a local group, consider arranging social meetings with people in your local community who might be interested in EA.

Start an effective altruism group

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours, Part-time
  • Duration:Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Very Familiar

One of the most common ways in which people become involved with EA is through personal connections, and local groups (or "chapters") are a good way to facilitate more of those happening. This is a great activity to pick if you live in a region that doesn't already have an EA group hosting discussions, socials, and/or professional networking.

Run an EAGx conference

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Part-time, Full-time
  • Duration:Medium-term, Long-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Very Familiar

If you’re involved in a well-established local group in a fairly large city, consider running an EAGx conference. These are locally-organized, full-day or weekend-long events, with audiences of 50 to 400 attendees. They focus on integrating relevant interest groups, exposing local members to the global EA community, and scaling up the skills and involvement of the group’s members.

Run a local EA event

  • Occupation:Student, Professional
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Medium-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Familiar, Very Familiar

If you’re involved in a less-established local group in a medium or large city, consider running a local EA event. These are locally-organized half-day events, with a range of event structures. We suggest this for groups trying to help their current members improve themselves, and offer something valuable and compelling to people not yet engaged with the local group.

Run a large speaker event

  • Occupation:Student, Professional
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Short-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Familiar, Very Familiar

If you’re part of a student or professional group and trying to extend the reach of your local group, consider running a large speaker event. Local groups often use large speaker events to springboard future engagements, following them with, for instance, a more intimate introduction to EA discussion group. This is a particularly good event to advertise at a student activities fair.

Run a discussion group

  • Occupation:Student, Professional, Retired
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Medium-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Familiar, Very Familiar

If you already have a steady local group or multiple dedicated EAs in the area, a discussion group can help get everyone on the same page and further one another’s understanding. This works best with a small-to-medium-sized group of at least semi-regular members.

Run a focused work session

  • Occupation:Student, Professional
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Short-term
  • Familiarity with EA:New, Familiar, Very Familiar

If you’re a student or remote employee, consider gathering the EAs in your region together for a tandem work session. Individuals have found this to be an easy way to create a local presence where little exists, and local groups have used this for group bonding in a productivity-promoting way.

Organize a table or stall at an event

  • Occupation:Student
  • Time commitment:Hours
  • Duration:Short-term
  • Familiarity with EA:Familiar, Very Familiar

If you’re a university student looking to build or grow a local campus group, tabling is a good way to do so. Most universities have an activities fair where students set up tables to advertise their extracurricular groups (often called something like "Freshers Fair" or "Activities Expo"). This can help students find you early in the academic term, especially if you have at least one other person willing to join you in pitching effective altruism to new people.