CEA is Fundraising for 2019

Up­date (30 April 2019): We pre­vi­ously stated in this post that we planned to post a re­view of our work in 2018 and plans for 2019 “early [in 2019].” Be­cause of our lead­er­ship change early in 2019, these plans were de­layed, and we aren’t cer­tain whether we’ll pub­lish those ma­te­ri­als this year. If we don’t re­lease a full 2018 re­view, we may still re­lease re­ports on in­di­vi­d­ual pro­jects.

Mean­while, if you have any ques­tions about our work, please reach out to Ben West, our Head of Com­mu­nity and Outreach.

The Cen­tre for Effec­tive Altru­ism (CEA) is fundrais­ing for 2019.

This post gives an overview of who we are, what we do, and the pro­jects for which we are rais­ing funds.

We’d re­ally value feed­back from any­one who reads this and has thoughts on our re­cent work, our plans, or our gen­eral strat­egy. Please add your com­ments to this post. If you’d pre­fer they not be pub­lic, you can sub­mit them through this sur­vey or send them to Ben West, who is cur­rently gath­er­ing feed­back from the com­mu­nity about CEA.

What is CEA?

CEA ex­ists to help the effec­tive al­tru­ism com­mu­nity co­or­di­nate and tackle press­ing prob­lems in the world.

Our be­liefs:

  • We want to im­prove the world as much as pos­si­ble, both now and in the fu­ture.

  • To do this, we’ll need to figure out which prob­lems we should solve, pri­ori­tize the most im­por­tant ones, and then work to­gether on the solu­tions.

This re­quires a com­mu­nity of peo­ple who have di­verse back­grounds and skills, but also have two things in com­mon: They care a lot about helping oth­ers, and they want to use ev­i­dence and rea­son to learn how to help as effec­tively as pos­si­ble.

In the last decade, this com­mu­nity has grown from a few dozen peo­ple to thou­sands. Col­lec­tively, its mem­bers have pledged over 1.5 billion dol­lars to char­ity and pro­duced sub­stan­tial progress in mul­ti­ple aca­demic fields.

We think this is an out­stand­ing start — but it’s only the be­gin­ning. CEA wants to help effec­tive al­tru­ism reach its full po­ten­tial by helping peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in these ideas to learn new things, gain skills, and take ac­tion, so that to­gether we can build on the move­ment’s in­tel­lec­tual foun­da­tions and make progress on the prob­lems we’ve pri­ori­tized.

What Does CEA Do?

In or­der to make progress, the EA com­mu­nity will need im­por­tant ideas, tal­ented and ded­i­cated peo­ple, and the nec­es­sary fund­ing for those peo­ple to take ac­tion.

Cru­cially, these el­e­ments need to be ex­tremely well-co­or­di­nated, so that we can work to­gether to do as much good as pos­si­ble. This is where CEA comes in.

Fund­ing effec­tive work

We co­or­di­nate dona­tions through Effec­tive Altru­ism Funds (which helps donors pool their money and have grant­mak­ing teams work out where it can best be spent) and the Giv­ing What We Can com­mu­nity (which en­courages peo­ple to give 10% of their in­come to effec­tive char­i­ties). We also al­lo­cate fund­ing to promis­ing pro­jects and groups through Effec­tive Altru­ism Grants and EA Com­mu­nity Build­ing Grants.

Shar­ing im­por­tant ideas

We help peo­ple get up to speed and con­tribute to the com­mu­nity’s ideas via the Effec­tive Altru­ism Fo­rum and con­tent on effec­tivealtru­ism.org (a col­lec­tion of high-qual­ity ar­ti­cles, in­clud­ing an in­tro­duc­tion to EA that reached over 50,000 read­ers this year). We also share con­tent us­ing so­cial me­dia, record­ings of EA speak­ers, and the Effec­tive Altru­ism Newslet­ter.

Bring­ing peo­ple together

Fi­nally, we help peo­ple co­or­di­nate with one an­other through events and group sup­port.

Events: We or­ga­nize large EA Global con­fer­ences and sup­port vol­un­teer-run EAGx con­fer­ences around the world, so that peo­ple can meet and dis­cuss ideas with oth­ers in­ter­ested in effec­tive al­tru­ism. (Over 1200 peo­ple at­tended EA Global in SF or Lon­don this year, and three EAGx con­fer­ences each drew more than 100 peo­ple.) We also run small, tar­geted events to help peo­ple with par­tic­u­lar skills and in­ter­ests find ways to work on high-im­pact ac­tivi­ties.

Groups: We offer effec­tive al­tru­ism groups around the world a set of mod­els and plans, as well as fund­ing to im­ple­ment them, sav­ing them from hav­ing to rein­vent the wheel. And Ju­lia Wise, our Com­mu­nity Li­ai­son, serves as a con­tact per­son for the com­mu­nity, pro­vid­ing ad­vice and sup­port to groups and in­di­vi­d­u­als.

We’ve come to fo­cus on co­or­di­na­tion af­ter spend­ing years on re­fin­ing our strat­egy, test­ing new ideas, and de­vel­op­ing our be­liefs about the best ways to build a thriv­ing com­mu­nity. We’re still learn­ing, and as such, we’ve made mis­takes over the years. We’re aiming to share more of our think­ing so we can get feed­back from the com­mu­nity; we en­courage you to com­plete our feed­back sur­vey or reach out to Ben West if you have any thoughts.

Re­cent Work and Fu­ture Plans

We planned for 2018 and 2019 us­ing the fun­nel model, which helps us un­der­stand the paths peo­ple take to be­come more en­gaged in the com­mu­nity.

In 2018, we fo­cused on the bot­tom of the fun­nel. While we con­tinued our ex­ist­ing pro­jects with a wide au­di­ence (e.g. the EA Newslet­ter), we es­pe­cially aimed to sup­port the “core” and “con­trib­u­tor” seg­ments of the com­mu­nity.

This meant sup­port­ing peo­ple who already un­der­stood many of the ideas of EA and were ded­i­cat­ing a lot of their time or money to EA pro­jects, so they could im­prove their plans or be­gin to work full-time on the world’s most press­ing prob­lems. For ex­am­ple, they might take a job at a high-im­pact or­ga­ni­za­tion or get fund­ing to pur­sue a new re­search pro­ject.

Here are some of the ways we did this:

  • We made 22 EA Com­mu­nity Build­ing Grants to in­di­vi­d­u­als and groups, and funded 22 other pro­jects through EA Grants, in­clud­ing the All-Party Par­li­a­men­tary Group for Fu­ture Gen­er­a­tions (which is build­ing sup­port for long-ter­mist ideas within the UK Par­li­a­ment) and the work of a re­searcher who is ad­vis­ing philan­thropists on tens of mil­lions of dol­lars in dona­tions. We also ran a sec­ond round of pub­lic grant ap­pli­ca­tions, which closed in Oc­to­ber.

  • We ran a se­ries of re­treats, in­clud­ing events aimed at lo­cal group lead­ers, ar­tifi­cial in­tel­li­gence re­searchers, and com­mu­nity mem­bers with an in­ter­est in op­er­a­tions work. Th­ese were quite im­pact­ful: for ex­am­ple, the op­er­a­tions re­treat led to CEA’s hiring two peo­ple who would oth­er­wise have been un­likely to join, and sev­eral at­ten­dees found work at other EA or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The year’s other ac­com­plish­ments in­clude:

In 2019, we want to keep work­ing at the bot­tom of the fun­nel, while also ex­pand­ing our sup­port to more of the com­mu­nity. This will mean find­ing peo­ple in the “par­ti­ci­pant” seg­ment who have started to en­gage (per­haps by tak­ing the Try Giv­ing pledge, at­tend­ing an EAGx con­fer­ence, or get­ting in­volved with an EA group) and helping them take the next steps.

A few of our pro­jects which al­ign with this strat­egy:

  • We now have two ad­di­tional staff work­ing on stu­dent, city, and na­tional EA groups, al­low­ing us to provide more sup­port.

  • We are con­sid­er­ing ex­pand­ing the EA Com­mu­nity Build­ing Grants Pro­gram to fund the work of more group or­ga­niz­ers.

  • We may pub­lish a col­lec­tion of cu­rated ar­ti­cles on the EA Fo­rum, as a sys­tem­atic way of in­tro­duc­ing newer com­mu­nity mem­bers to core con­cepts.

Bud­get Sum­mary and Fundraising

Our core bud­get for 2019 is $5M. This goes to­ward the ac­tivi­ties de­scribed above, as well as staff salaries, con­trac­tors, pro­fes­sional ser­vices (e.g. lawyers and ac­coun­tants), office space, and other busi­ness ex­penses.

Our 2018 core bud­get was $4M. This year’s in­crease is pri­mar­ily due to two fac­tors:

  1. In­creased head­count: CEA’s team grew from 17 peo­ple to 20 this year, and we aim to make sev­eral more hires in 2019, in­clud­ing an ad­di­tional de­vel­oper and some­one to work with Ju­lia Wise on com­mu­nity health.

  2. A new office: Next year, our UK team is mov­ing to a bet­ter space, which will im­prove pro­duc­tivity, sup­port fu­ture ex­pan­sion, and al­low us to con­tinue shar­ing an office with the Fu­ture of Hu­man­ity In­sti­tute and Global Pri­ori­ties In­sti­tute. This ex­pense is un­usu­ally large in 2019 be­cause it in­cludes mov­ing costs and a one-year rental de­posit.

We also have a re­grant­ing bud­get of $3.7M for EA Grants and EA Com­mu­nity Build­ing Grants, which we use to fund other or­ga­ni­za­tions, pro­jects, in­di­vi­d­u­als, and groups.

We are seek­ing to raise $3M over the next cou­ple of months.

Up­date (21 May 2019): We pre­vi­ously stated in this post that we planned to “run a sep­a­rate fundrais­ing cam­paign for both grant pro­grams af­ter we com­plete an im­pact re­view for them in the first half of 2019”.

We now ex­pect that the im­pact re­view will not be com­pleted in the first half of 2019. We plan to fundraise for Com­mu­nity Build­ing Grants but not EA Grants dur­ing 2019.

How to Donate

You can donate to CEA, or (sep­a­rately) to EA Grants or EA Com­mu­nity Build­ing Grants, through Effec­tive Altru­ism Funds.

We ac­cept dona­tions via credit/​debit card, bank trans­fer, check (US), or GoCard­less di­rect debit (UK). If you have any ques­tions or spe­cific needs, please get in touch to dis­cuss your situ­a­tion.

Dona­tions to CEA will be split be­tween our pro­jects, de­pend­ing on where they will do the most good. We deeply ap­pre­ci­ate your sup­port.


Once again, we’d be happy to an­swer ques­tions about our bud­get and fundrais­ing plans, or any other con­tent in this post.

If you’d pre­fer not to leave a com­ment, you can send com­ments and feed­back to Ben West or use our feed­back sur­vey.

If you want to be alerted when we re­lease our 2018 re­view and plans for 2019, you can sub­scribe to CEA’s monthly email up­date.

You can also read our past monthly up­dates, or read our 2017 re­view and plans for 2018 to see how our work has evolved in the last year.