.impact updates (1 of 3): New leadership, organizational overview and changes, LEAN

New Leadership

Hi all! I’m Ge­orgie—I re­cently took over as Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor of .im­pact, so I wanted to in­tro­duce my­self and provide some up­dates on where we’re headed as an or­gani­sa­tion. I’d be more than happy to talk to any­one who would like to chat about .im­pact op­er­a­tions, or if you’d just like to have a gen­eral chat! You can sched­ule a time to talk here.

Or­ga­ni­za­tional overview and changes

Thus far, .im­pact has had nu­mer­ous teams with sev­eral mov­ing parts. With the help of some re­mark­able vol­un­teers, we have been re­spon­si­ble for sev­eral no­table pro­jects, in­clud­ing:

The EA Hub

The EA Forum

The EA Newslet­ter (which has reached over 10,000 sub­scribers in less than a year, with the help of vol­un­teers in­clud­ing Tom Ash, Pas­cal Zim­mer, Sören Min­der­mann, and Michał Trzęsimiech among oth­ers)

The An­nual EA Sur­vey

The EA Wiki

EA Aus­tralia’s web­site and dona­tion rout­ing sys­tem

The Lo­cal Effec­tive Altru­ism Net­work (LEAN)

The first Lo­cal Group Survey

Sup­port­ing Stu­dents for High-Im­pact Char­ity (SHIC)

The Hub and the Fo­rum are mon­i­tored by Harysh Ilangho­van (.im­pact’s Direc­tor of Tech­ni­cal Oper­a­tions) and some of our vol­un­teers. The monthly EA Newslet­ter is com­posed by the vol­un­teers I men­tioned, among oth­ers. We will con­tinue to pro­duce the an­nual EA Sur­vey, as it is not only ex­tremely valuable for the move­ment, but also sig­nifi­cantly in­forms and en­ables our in­ter­nal eval­u­a­tions and out­reach strate­gies. We have de­cided to scale back our time on the EA Wiki, so as not to spread our­selves too thin.

The ma­jor­ity of our time will be spent on LEAN, with some new pro­jects in the pipeline (more to fol­low on this in sub­se­quent posts).

The Lo­cal Effec­tive Altru­ism Net­work (LEAN)

.im­pact is re­spon­si­ble for launch­ing and de­vel­op­ing LEAN, the Lo­cal Effec­tive Altru­ism Net­work. LEAN has a database of around 300 groups: 155 of these were seeded by us, and 57 ei­ther con­tacted us di­rectly or re­sponded to a page on the Hub where we offered to help set up groups. Th­ese groups are some­times made up of hun­dreds of mem­bers, while oth­ers are just start­ing and only have one or­ga­nizer op­er­at­ing as a point of con­tact.

We offer a num­ber of re­sources to sup­port these groups, the de­tails of which can be found on the LEAN web­site. Our most re­cent LEAN Newslet­ter also in­cludes some ex­am­ples of our achieve­ments and work. You can find spe­cific de­tails about the re­sources and sup­port we offer on the site, so rather than re­peat­ing that con­tent, I will use this op­por­tu­nity to ex­plain our strat­egy mov­ing for­wards.

Begin­ning with the LEAN web­site, we in­tend to build our pub­lic-fac­ing pres­ence as the ‘go-to’ for high-touch com­mu­nity build­ing and lo­cal group sup­port.

We have already re­sponded to many of the re­quests logged in the Lo­cal Group Sur­vey, in­clud­ing cre­at­ing web­sites, fronting web host­ing costs, set­ting up paid meetup ac­counts, pro­vid­ing Mailchimp ac­cess, and pro­vid­ing tips on fundrais­ing and ideas for events. We will con­tinue to provide these re­sources to all groups. How­ever, there are par­tic­u­lar sub­sets of lo­cal groups that we’d like to fo­cus on.

There were two very ev­i­dent con­clu­sions we were able to draw from the Lo­cal Groups Sur­vey, which seem to be true even when ac­count­ing for the sam­pling is­sues and bi­ases:

  1. Most of the im­pact comes from the largest groups (you can pick your jaw up off the floor now)

  2. Lo­cal Groups risk death or dor­mancy due to loneli­ness (is some­one chop­ping onions around here?)

There­fore, the sub­sets that we’d like to fo­cus on are: “medium-sized”* city groups and groups with only one or­ga­nizer.

To ad­dress the first ob­ser­va­tion, we will be work­ing closely with a few medium-sized city groups in or­der to de­velop them into “large groups”**. City groups ar­guably have a more difficult task ahead of them than uni­ver­sity groups, who have an ex­ist­ing in­fras­truc­ture that en­ables their ac­tivity. This as­sis­tance, there­fore, is (ever so slightly) less tractable but more likely to be coun­ter­fac­tual.

To avoid dor­mancy, as in the sec­ond ob­ser­va­tion, we will be de­vel­op­ing high-touch re­la­tion­ships with groups that have only one or two or­ga­niz­ers. In the sur­vey, most rea­sons for group dor­mancy in­cluded lack of mo­ti­va­tion stem­ming from the in­abil­ity to find a co-or­ganiser or oth­ers with a high enough level of en­thu­si­asm for or­ganis­ing mee­tups or events. The difficulty in find­ing co-or­ga­niz­ers made the prospect of start­ing a group more in­timi­dat­ing, and the sense that no one in the area knew about EA led to ap­a­thy and, thus, in­ac­tion. We will fo­cus on ei­ther lo­cat­ing a co-or­ga­nizer for these groups, or act­ing as a re­mote co-or­ga­nizer. This means in­creas­ing our con­tact time with them (via video calls and emails), and en­sur­ing that this com­mu­ni­ca­tion is sub­stan­tive and on­go­ing.

LEAN have a num­ber of former, or ex­pe­rienced, lo­cal group lead­ers who have kindly vol­un­teered their time to Skype those who are just start­ing out; many peo­ple who have spent a year or more grow­ing a lo­cal group have a wealth of knowl­edge to im­part to those who are ei­ther com­pletely new to the pro­cess, or would like to strate­gize to scale up, or have more spe­cific is­sues to ad­dress. This is a great form of com­mu­nity sup­port. If you would like to help with this pro­ject, or would like to Skype one of our ex­pe­rienced lo­cal group lead­ers, please do reach out to us.

On a re­lated note: in the EA Sur­vey, only 19% of re­spon­dents found the EA com­mu­nity ‘very wel­com­ing’ (45%: wel­com­ing, 27%: nei­ther wel­com­ing nor un­wel­com­ing, 5%: un­wel­com­ing, 4%: very un­wel­com­ing), so per­haps we can tan­gen­tially ad­dress this (as well as some other com­mu­nity is­sues) via our sup­port.

In gen­eral, in­creased and on­go­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion will be an ap­proach that we will take with all groups: less spam, more per­sonal con­ver­sa­tions. We want to provide the re­sources and sup­port, but more im­por­tantly, we want it to be fun—be­cause who doesn’t love good, clean, well-or­ga­nized fun?

We will still be pro­vid­ing all groups with nu­mer­ous re­sources and reach­ing out to ev­ery­one with new, ex­cit­ing ini­ti­a­tives. And if you like new, ex­cit­ing ini­ti­a­tives, you should prob­a­bly keep your eyes peeled for the sec­ond and third in­stal­l­ments of .im­pact’s up­dates, which will be up on the Fo­rum soon!

If you have any feed­back, or have an in­ter­est in op­por­tu­ni­ties to donate or work with us, please do get in touch.

For Ge­orgie and .im­pact op­er­a­tions: georgiedotim­pact@gmail.com

LEAN, es­pe­cially if you’d like to try your hand at build­ing a lo­cal group: lean@eahub.org

* “medium-sized” broadly refers to groups with 4-10 com­mit­ted or­ga­niz­ers, who have events that could at­tract over 80 par­ti­ci­pants.

** “large groups” broadly refers to those with 10+ com­mit­ted or­ga­niz­ers, who have events that reg­u­larly at­tract over 80 par­ti­ci­pants, are re­spon­si­ble for a num­ber of GWWC pledges and have a some­what es­tab­lished pres­ence in the lo­cal com­mu­nity.