EA Germany’s Mid-Year Update 2023
This post outlines our current status regarding the planned focus areas in our strategy for this year.
EA Germany (EAD)
In the 2022 EA survey, 9.9% of all participants were from Germany, up from 7.4% in 2020, remaining the third-largest community behind the US and the UK. We are a membership association with 108 members, six board members, five employed team members (four FTEs), and ten contractors and volunteers (for EAGxBerlin 2023, intro program and newsletter).
In 2023, the association gained 35 new members and two new employees.
There are currently 27 active local groups in Germany, some of which are university-based, but most refer to themselves as local groups.
Group size ranges from 5-50 active members. Overall, there are ~50-70 community builders and a total of >300 people regularly involved in the groups.
We have gathered data points about the outcomes of our programmes, which we will share in the following sections. Since, however, we are uncertain about the interpretation of this data, we cannot be sure about the overall impact of our programs.
In the future, we will focus on finding better evaluation criteria in order to estimate our impact.
Foundational programs are either the continuation of existing programs or those that seem broadly beneficial to growing a sustainable community. We have established OKRs for each program and are reviewing them monthly.
We have been running and are regularly updating effektiveraltruismus.de, the German website about effective altruism, since Effektiv Spenden handed it over to us in late 2022. They also handed us the newsletter, which enabled us to send out our existing monthly German-language newsletter to more than 4,000 subscribers compared to the 350 we had before.
We are in regular exchange with Open Philanthropy grantees to coordinate the translation of articles from English into German. They have published some of their content on our website, and we have promoted their podcast with narrations of articles.
Additionally, we have been helping to coordinate the publication of EA-relevant books in German, including the German launch of What We Owe The Future on 30th August 2023.
We have applied for and received funding to run EAGxBerlin on September 8-10, 2023 and hired a team of six people in order to do so.
Additionally, we have organised meetups for German EAs at 4 EAG(x) conferences with ~5-50 attendees each.
Intro Program [formerly Intro Fellowship]
The Intro Program, which used to be called “EA Intro Fellowship”, was held in the winter of 22⁄23 and summer of ’23. During the last round, we received a peak of more than 100 applications. Around 60 % of the participants completed the program successfully and more than 90 % of program participants described at least one relevant event outcome, e.g. making an important professional connection, discovering a new opportunity, or getting a deeper understanding of a key idea.
We had ~160 calls and meetings related to career paths and decisions between January and June: ~60 at conferences, ~30 at retreats. The others were career calls or office hours. Recommendations came through our programs, 80,000 hours, and the form on our website.
We appointed our team member Milena Canzler as the German Community Health contact person, listing her contact details on our website while also including a German and English contact form. In several cases, we have already been able to provide support. Additionally, we provide materials and training for awareness teams at EA-related events in order to avoid negative experiences for and harm to participants.
Local Community Building Support
Starting October 2022, we have conducted monthly Community Building Calls with 10-20 community builders each. In those, we share updates, best practices, and experiences, as well as discussing Community Building strategies. The feedback suggests that for some people, the main value of the calls lies in receiving updates and inputs provided by speakers, while others mainly value the exchange with other community builders in order to stay motivated and get to know each other better.
To better understand local groups’ needs and provide better support, we’ve had meetings with community builders from all 27 currently active local groups. In those cases where group organisers change, we get in touch more regularly to ensure a smooth transition.
We collected and arranged German-speaking materials for general presentations, group planning, design, retreat organisation, as well as Community Health resources for organisers.
Community Building Retreats
In March, we held a retreat with 27 community builders in Berlin.
The feedback was positive (9.2/10). Two months after the retreat, we conducted an additional survey in which the 14 respondents reported ongoing benefits, especially for
asking for help or advice from other EAs/community builders,
knowing how to approach the team and use the EAD offers,
using/finding relevant resources.
Changes implemented by participants after the retreat included
one person starting to co-organize the Intro Program in Germany,
curriculum changes in the Intro Program in a local group,
EAGx attendance planning for a local group,
inspiration to increase donations,
a new approach to one’s role at meetings to enjoy them more.
Another Community Building Retreat took place in September.
In January, teams of volunteer community builders organised three retreats with 155 participants in total, distributed approximately evenly among the retreats.
The feedback was positive (8.8-8.9/10), and we learned a lot about how we can improve our support for volunteer teams in the future. Our learnings include doing a kick-off meeting with all volunteers at the start and providing a document containing all central information on processes, to-dos and cost coverage.
Volunteers organised another EAD retreat with 43 people in August, which took place in Potsdam. It was very well rated (9/10). We are planning to conduct a follow-up survey two months after the retreat.
Employer of Record and Fiscal Sponsorship
So far, during 2023, we have employed 13 people via our Employer of Record program, working in Community Building, AI Safety, Global Health, Biosecurity and Animal Welfare.
We’re providing fiscal sponsorship for three local groups in Germany by accepting grants and handling reimbursements on their behalf.
CRM System: In March, we set up a CRM system based on Airtable to allow us to offer targeted introductions between community members and personalised follow-ups.
Website relaunch: We are setting up a new website in WordPress, which we are planning to launch this year.
Accounting Setup: We set up our accounting with new software to save time and reduce risk.
Legal review: We are currently working on getting legal advice on our questions regarding contracts and processes.
Hiring: We held hiring rounds for an EA Berlin community builder (cancelled due to lack of funding), a 6-person EAGxBerlin team and a communications manager.
Healthy organisational culture and leadership: Managers hold weekly 1-1s with each team member. We organise two team retreats annually and regular co-working sessions to ensure a healthy organisational culture and leadership.
Networking and discovery of funding opportunities: We participated in several conferences, such as the EAGxRotterdam, EAG Bay Area, EAGxNordics, EAG London and EAGxWarsaw, to build a more extensive network for making introductions and exchanging knowledge with other community builders, funders etc.
We published a post about our current thinking on Impact Estimations. Based on this thinking, we started a few exploratory programs that we are still evaluating:
Members Retreat June: Weekend-Retreat with 25 participants. On average, participants scored their likelihood to recommend the event at 8.6/10. Twelve initiatives were either launched or planned, such as the establishment of a university group in Berlin, collaboration with scholarship foundations, and the arrangement of virtual events for those without a nearby group. On average, attendees made 3.9 new connections.
Career Program May/June: 5-week program with 21 participants and four facilitators. Participants rated it 8.1/10 in how valuable they found it.
Career Mentoring starting in July: 13 mentees and nine mentors applied. We expect results in the fall.
Until the end of 2023, we will focus on the following projects:
Funding: We will assess different scenarios and look for alternative funding sources besides CEA’s Community Building Grants.
1-1s: As part of our exploratory programs, we will talk to more people to connect them more quickly with sources of information and other individuals. We will promote this, e.g. via our newsletter, website and social media.
Website relaunch: We will create a website and brand design with volunteers and contractors. The goal is a clear, bilingual website that is easy to customise and adapt.
AI Safety Field Building: We are actively monitoring activities in Germany and whether we see opportunities to support or offer services that are also interesting to funders. However, we are not planning any actions of our own before Q4.