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New to EA and figuring out where to start? Long-timer looking for new things to do?
Here’s our guide to getting involved as an effective altruist.

Click on the title of an activity to see more details.

Each description includes the following specifications:

  1. Occupation
    This refers to one's primary working status. Student refers to someone who spends the majority of their time in a formal learning institution. Professional refers to someone who spends the majority of their time doing paid work. Retiree refers to someone who spends the majority of their time neither studying nor working. Group refers to an EA or EA-adjacent meetup or society, populated by students, professionals, and/or retirees.
  2. Time Commitment
    This refers to how much time the activity regularly takes up. Hours is roughly 10 hours or fewer per week. Part-time is 10 to 20 hours. Full-time is 20 hours or more.
  3. Duration
    This refers to the period of time for which one actively participates in some way. Short-term is roughly a month or less. Medium-term is 1-6 months. Long-term is 6 months to a lifetime.
  4. Familiarity with Effective Altruism
    This refers to one’s understanding of the ideas of the self-described “effective altruism” community (as opposed to practices that are effectively altruistic). New refers to someone who knows little more than the basic principles of EA, and/or would have difficulty describing the arguments for the causes on which EAs often focus. Familiar refers to someone who solidly understands the basics but would have difficulty describing in detail philosophical or factual considerations that underpin EA decisionmaking. Very familiar refers to someone who has an extensive understanding of most EA considerations, such that they are able to make uncommon references and generate their own arguments about the space.

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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 questions on expert forums

  • 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 local 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 attend an EAGx or local group event in your region. These events are run by local group organizers to help you get acquainted with the basics and get an insight into the global effective altruism community.

Attend a rationality workshop

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

Improving the world in ambitious ways takes skill and mental acuity, so personal capacity-building may be one of the best ways to help the world in the long-run. The Center for Applied Rationality offers regular workshops for those most dedicated to improving the world, to help them build a personal improvement toolset.

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, Group
  • 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, Group
  • 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.

Evaluate existing research

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

Much of the research that effective altruists focus on and generate is new and carried out minimally, if at all. To promote quality research and good epistemic standards, individuals and organizations need to provide one another with feedback on their thinking and work.

Write a literature review or meta-analysis

  • Occupation: Student, Professional, Retired, Group
  • 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, Group
  • 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 or intern remotely

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

Even if you don’t live near an EA organization’s headquarters, you can often contribute to their goals. What’s better, volunteering is one of the most common means by which EA organization employees get their feet in the door; it’s a great way for you and the organization to get to know one another.

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.

Fill out the Annual EA Survey

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

Rethink Charity runs the annual survey of the EA community. This reaches and establishes contact with as many people as possible, and provides a large amount of useful data that people and organizations across the community use frequently. It's useful to take the survey, even if you're not very involved in EA.

Transcribe talks about EA

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

Dozens of EA video presentations now exist, but almost none of them have transcriptions. This seems like a problem, as most of the early developments in the community’s idea base came in long-form textual posts and forum discussions. If you’re willing to put in some time (and learn a lot in the process), consider transcribing talks and posting the transcriptions to the EA Forum.

Translate EA content into other languages

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

Most content about EA is in English, which means we are likely failing to attract some great allies who wouldn’t naturally find or turn to English-language sources. If you’re fluent in another language and keen to help others learn about EA, you can help make it accessible to more people by translating EA content.

Build lists of useful people, organizations, and resources

  • Occupation: Student, Professional, Retired, Group
  • 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.

Give out EA books at relevant nearby events

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

The Centre for Effective Altruism has found that giving away free copies of Doing Good Better is an effective way of encouraging people to take the Giving What We Can pledge. If you're willing to put yourself out there and you live in an area hosting EA-adjacent events, you can ask the organizers if they would like to give away free copies of the book.

Identify impressive math students or graduates

  • Occupation: Student, Professional, Group
  • 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 most straightforward ways to make a difference is donating money to the causes you think are going to have the most charitable bang for your buck. This is certainly easier said than done — identifying the best charities is complicated work — but we’re here to help. If you have some money to spare, consider donating to an outstanding charity.

Set up an Effective Legacy

  • Occupation: Student, Professional, Retired, Group
  • 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.

Take the Giving What We Can pledge

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

"Precommitment can work for those who recognize they can donate a portion of their income and benefit the world significantly, yet have trouble getting around to actually donating." If you’re serious about doing as much good as you can, consider taking the Giving What We Can pledge, a commitment to give a generous fraction of your lifetime income to the most cost-effective charities you can find.

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.

Take the Raising for Effective Giving pledge

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

Poker, stock trading, professional gaming, and daily fantasy sports offer unique opportunities for a talented few to strike it rich. If you’ve made good money in one of those fields and care about helping people as effectively as you can, take the Raising for Effective Giving pledge in your industry.

Contribute your career.

Consider an EA-guided career

  • Occupation: Student, Professional, Group
  • 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.

Apply for an EA job

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

If you’re a professional who’s sold on EA, and are committed to dedicating your time and energy to what’s best for the world, then you may be ready to apply for a full-time occupation doing EA work.

Apply for an EA Grant

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

Do you have a high-impact startup you're looking to run but little money to back it? Is there research you’d like to pursue but you lack the time to commit to it? If so, you’re a great candidate for an EA Grant, a new initiative to support enterprising EAs in their high-expected-value pursuits.

Start an EA-inspired project

  • Occupation: Student, Professional, Retired, Group
  • 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 flare? 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!

Do workplace activism

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

Your colleagues may be a huge, untapped potential donor base. If you work at a formal workplace, you can help your colleagues make the world a better place through their efforts and your company's donation-matching program.

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, Group
  • 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 new, 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 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, Group
  • 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 EA local 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, Group
  • 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, Group
  • 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, Group
  • 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 pledge drive

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

Psychology literature shows that making public commitments helps to increase one’s follow-through on goals. This makes giving pledges particularly valuable for getting EAs to become and stay engaged. If you would like to increase the commitment of your local group’s members and/or get the people around you with high-earning potential to give more, we recommend running a pledge drive.

Run a discussion group

  • Occupation: Student, Professional, Retired, Group
  • 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, Group
  • 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, Group
  • 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 means of doing so. Most universities have a student activities fair where students advertise their activities, often called something like a Freshers Fair or Activities Expo. This is great for students early in the academic term and who have at least one other student willing to pitch effective altruism to new people.