EA Toronto—General Report—Looking Back at 2019


  • EATO has con­tinued to grow through­out 2019 with a core strat­egy that fo­cused on one-on-one meet­ings, com­mu­nity mem­ber pro­jects, and pro­ject events

  • EATO’s event fo­cus has switched from weekly Wed­nes­day pro­ject events to monthly so­cials, monthly con­cept work­shops, and quar­terly im­mer­sive trans­for­ma­tive events, while keep­ing the door open for mem­ber-driven events

  • Colin is finish­ing up his 2nd CEA com­mu­nity build­ing grant and plans to ap­ply for an­other one that will last an­other year, un­til Fe­bru­ary 25th, 2021, if successful

  • EATO plans to reg­ister as a not-for-profit in 2020 and, af­ter­wards, to ap­ply for growth fund­ing from non-EA sources to take on interns

  • EATO is grad­u­ally tran­si­tion­ing from a di­rect pro­ject work and big event host­ing strat­egy to a co­or­di­na­tion and sup­port strategy

  • The pri­mary ob­jec­tive for 2021 will likely be ca­reer plan changes with sup­ported events and co­or­di­na­tion as sec­ondary objectives

EA Toronto

The main tar­get au­di­ence of EATO is the in­ter­sec­tion of early ca­reer pro­fes­sion­als from a di­ver­sity of back­grounds and peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in and ca­pa­ble of mak­ing an in­creased, pos­i­tive im­pact over their life­time (es­pe­cially some­one can score well on the three-fac­tor model: re­sources, ded­i­ca­tion, and re­al­iza­tion— di­rected to­wards hav­ing an effec­tive im­pact).

The size of EATO is 70-100 ac­tive mem­bers who check-in with the group through events, one-on-ones, and pro­jects ev­ery quar­ter. Fur­ther, we have about 200 mem­bers on our Face­book group and Face­book page as well as 600 mem­bers on Meetup of which about 50-70 are ac­tive on any given month.

The struc­ture of EATO fea­tures a grow­ing va­ri­ety of pro­jects and com­mu­ni­ties, most of which I will ex­plain in fur­ther de­tail in an­other sec­tion be­cause of their rele­vance as EATO-sup­ported pro­jects.

  • EA Toronto—the main group

  • EA and An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy Read­ing Group—a monthly read­ing group

  • Univer­sity of Toronto Effec­tive Altru­ism (UTEA) - a small, new group

  • Giv­ing What We Can Toronto Meetup Group—a small, new group

  • In­clu­sion and Diver­sity Group—a small and de­vel­op­ing new group

  • Feel­ing Good Read­ing Group—a small and de­vel­op­ing new group

  • Think Bet­ter, an EA-al­igned not-for-profit, think­bet­ter.ca—a five mem­ber team and an alumni com­mu­nity of about 100

EATO has a few differ­ent points of fo­cus in terms of ar­eas of in­ter­est, types of ac­tivi­ties, and pro­jects. There are four main fo­cus ar­eas that have come out of a mix of strate­gic plan­ning and try­ing things: one-on-ones for ca­reer ad­vis­ing, dona­tion pro­jects and con­ver­sa­tions, or­gan­i­cally en­courag­ing and sup­port­ing pro­jects in gen­eral, and helping other EA groups im­prove their strat­egy and offer­ings.

The Work of the EATO Com­mu­nity and Colin

This is a de­scrip­tion of the ac­tivi­ties and pro­jects EATO and our mem­bers have con­ducted dur­ing the grant pe­riod which also touches on out­comes that re­late to par­tic­u­lar ac­tivi­ties and pro­jects.

To­tal Es­ti­ma­tions of Work­ing Hours

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 932 hours

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time − 215 EATO pro­ject hours + 2586 com­mu­nity mem­ber pro­ject hours

Ca­reer One-on-Ones

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 130 hours: 90 hours in meet­ings, 30 hours pre and post work, 10 hours build­ing and mod­ify­ing re­sources and tools

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time − 100 hours

About 60 one-on-ones be­tween an EATO mem­ber and Colin hap­pened in 2019, and 40-150 other, usu­ally less for­mal, one-on-ones hap­pened be­tween EATO mem­bers. Nearly all of Colin’s 60 meet­ings fo­cused on ca­reer learn­ing and ap­pli­ca­tion re­lat­ing to EA and 80,000 Hours, though on av­er­age, ca­reer con­tent was about 60% of the fo­cus of these meet­ings whereas com­mu­nity, pro­ject, and other up­dates not di­rectly re­lat­ing to ca­reer learn­ing and ap­pli­ca­tion were the rest. For the lat­ter half of 2019, these meet­ings hap­pened 40% through refer­rals and peo­ple find­ing out about the ser­vice and ap­ply­ing on­line and 60% through check-in re­minders and an­nounce­ments at meet­ings and via email. The con­tent of these meet­ings was based on 80,000 Hours con­tent and Colin’s ac­cu­mu­lated knowl­edge and ex­pe­rience of EA frame­works and op­por­tu­ni­ties thanks to re­sources such as Huw’s guide about ca­reer one-on-ones and his Oxford ex­pe­rience.

One-on-ones seem to have played the pri­mary role in caus­ing most out­comes given in the case stud­ies, in­clud­ing at least 5 sig­nifi­cant ca­reer plans changes, 9 ap­pli­ca­tions to EA org roles of which at least 3 re­sulted in in­ter­views, 11 cases of im­prov­ing and sup­port­ing pre-ex­ist­ing ca­reer plans, 18 less cer­tain ca­reer plan changes, 1 new pro­ject col­lab­o­ra­tor (Think Bet­ter), 4 new pro­ject col­lab­o­ra­tions (UTEA, Feel­ing Good Read­ing Group, EATO’s Trans­for­ma­tive Events Team, Toronto Effec­tive Dona­tions Pro­ject), and sup­port­ing the pro­duc­tivity and well-be­ing of 70 ac­tive EATO mem­bers to some de­gree at least 11 of which rate as very im­por­tant to their con­tinued work.

Strate­gi­cally, Colin tried to in­crease the fre­quency and qual­ity of one-on-one meet­ings with a new sign-up form, more post­ings, more meet­ing availa­bil­ity, more refer­rals, and rounds of weekly CRM pushes to get up­dates from all par­ti­ci­pant, con­trib­u­tor, and core com­mu­nity mem­bers over each quar­ter.

De­tails on these one-on-one meet­ing prac­ti­cal up­dates are given here:

  • The new sign-up form is adapted from EA Lon­don’s form, and much of the meet­ing info and con­text con­tent on EATO’s form is thanks to Hannah

  • More post­ing and mar­ket­ing in­volves on­go­ing pushes for one-on-one meet­ings in EATO’s monthly newslet­ter, keep­ing rele­vant links at the top of our wel­come and event pages, and shar­ing the push on so­cial me­dia ev­ery month or two

  • More meet­ing availa­bil­ity means that Colin’s po­ten­tially book­able hours went from 8 in early 2019, to 18 in mid and late 2019, to 24 in early 2020—po­ten­tially book­able hours don’t count breaks be­tween meet­ings, so with­out count­ing breaks there would be about 3, 7, and 11 ac­tu­ally book­able hours

  • More refer­rals means that Colin now has a short­list of peo­ple to re­fer new mem­bers to lo­cally if they have par­tic­u­lar in­ter­ests in­clud­ing AI Safety, Oper­a­tions, Mar­ket­ing, Data Science, In­clu­sivity, Public Policy, Clean Meat, and An­i­mal Advocacy

  • Rounds of weekly CRM pushes to get up­dates from all par­ti­ci­pant, con­trib­u­tor, and core com­mu­nity mem­bers over each quar­ter means that Colin emails peo­ple on a re­cur­ring ba­sis to do fol­low-ups which there might be a bet­ter CRM solu­tion for in EATO’s future

In­tro­duc­tory One-on-Ones

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 20 hours

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time − 5 hours

We wel­come new mem­bers to the com­mu­nity and offer them per­son­al­ized recom­men­da­tions about who to con­nect with and what to plan to do next in terms of EA learn­ing and in­volve­ment. EATO had about 20 of these in 2019 and the out­comes of these largely over­lapped with case study out­comes and pro­ject out­comes, as the meet­ings would nearly always move from in­tro­duc­tory con­tent to ca­reer and pro­ject con­tent.

Reg­u­lar Events

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 210 hours: 60 hours prepar­ing events, 150 hours fa­cil­i­tat­ing and at­tend­ing events

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time − 50 hours

The full list of events can be found at bit.ly/​EATOnotes.

61 EATO events hap­pened in 2019, not in­clud­ing a few dozen co-work­ing ses­sions and EATO-sup­ported meet­ings with other com­mu­ni­ties and groups. EATO’s events were topic events (speaker, dis­cus­sion, work­shop), trans­for­ma­tive events, and so­cial events (party, open dis­cus­sion, sols­tice). About 200 unique at­ten­dees, in­clud­ing 137 new at­ten­dees, came to our events in 2019.

Strate­gi­cally, we moved from hav­ing weekly Wed­nes­day meet­ings, with over half of these be­ing pro­ject work­shop meet­ings, to hav­ing an EA con­cepts work­shop and a so­cial event each month, plus a quar­terly trans­for­ma­tive event, in ad­di­tion to pop-up topic and pro­ject events, hence, a shift in fo­cus from quan­tity and fre­quent en­gage­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties to qual­ity and spe­cial­ized en­gage­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Trans­for­ma­tive Events

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 12 hours: 6 hours prepar­ing, 8 hour fa­cil­i­tat­ing and attending

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time − 40 hours

EATO aims to have one es­pe­cially high-qual­ity, com­plex, im­mer­sive event each quar­ter which started in late 2019.

  • EATO Life and Ca­reer Re­view Day, a vol­un­teer or­ga­nized event, helped 12 as­piring effec­tive al­tru­ists learn about the com­mu­nity’s ca­reer re­lated re­sources, look for blindspots in their life plans, run through two ra­tio­nal­ity-based plan­ning ex­er­cises, and ask ques­tions to five guest speak­ers tak­ing unique ca­reer paths, in­clud­ing an ex-Direc­tor of Growth for CEA, two founders, a policy re­searcher, and an en­trepreneur in AI. At least three at­ten­dees learned more about EA re­sources and ca­reer op­tions while up­dat­ing their ca­reer plans.

  • In a few weeks there will be a Pro­ject Hackathon Week­end, and later in the year we’ll put on an or­ga­nizer re­treat and a mini-con­fer­ence or un­con­fer­ence.

In­cor­po­rat­ing as Not-For-Profit

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 6 hours

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time − 4 hours

EATO is seek­ing le­gal sta­tus as a not-for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion in 2020 so that we can ap­ply for ex­pan­sion fund­ing from a wider va­ri­ety of non-EA sources and set up a large part of our op­er­a­tions un­der a more fo­cused, es­tab­lished, and leg­ible struc­ture. At this time, we have drawn up all of the pa­per­work, though we have not yet sub­mit­ted it as we still have some edit­ing and con­sen­sus build­ing to do.

Trans­parency and Han­dover Documents

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 4 hours

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time - 0 hours

  • There are up­dated archives of what EATO con­tribut­ing mem­bers pri­ori­tize in terms of mod­els, ac­tions, and past ac­tions as well as a group plan­ning meet­ing archive and an event data archive, much of which is available pub­li­cly on our web­site.

In­creas­ing Effec­tive Dona­tions through Shar­ing RC Forward

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 2 hours

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time − 4 hours

RC For­ward is a Cana­dian plat­form for tax-de­ductible dona­tions to effec­tive char­i­ties.

  • Through so­cial me­dia posts, one-on-ones, and events, RC for­ward was shared caus­ing 30-100 peo­ple to have been made aware of it and be­come more likely to use it.

  • At least 5 of our mem­bers now use RC For­ward for their dona­tions.

Sup­port­ing and Con­nect­ing with Other EA Groups and Organizers

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 20 hours

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time − 0 hours

Main­tain­ing Con­nec­tions with EA Sin­ga­pore, EA France, EA Philip­pines, South Bay EA, EA Hong Kong, EA Chicago, and EA Waterloo

  • Thanks to Brian from EA Philip­pines, Colin was able to have con­ver­sa­tions with Brian and Kate that touched on many as­pects of EA com­mu­nity build­ing strat­egy and prac­tice, which seemed helpful to them

  • Thanks to Laura from EA France, Colin and Laura have swapped many ideas on EA com­mu­nity build­ing best prac­tices and mu­tual support

  • Thanks to Sindi (Colin’s CFAR buddy), Colin was able to con­nect with Linchuan from South Bay EA to dis­cuss many as­pects of EA com­mu­nity build­ing strat­egy, prac­tice, and planning

  • Thanks to Yufeng from EA Hong Kong and his study abroad pro­gram, Colin talked with Yufeng about com­mu­nity build­ing strat­egy and ca­reer considerations

  • Colin talked with Eric from EA Chicago about com­mu­nity build­ing early-stage strat­egy and practice

  • Colin con­nected with Michael from EA Water­loo to dis­cuss com­mu­nity up­dates and work­ing on a Cana­dian bal­lot ini­ti­a­tive pro­ject, and they are mov­ing for­ward with this new pro­ject slowly

80,000 Hours Connections

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 2 hours

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time − 0 hours

  • After the 80,000 Hours and EA Com­mu­nity Builders Call, Colin sent a short­list of po­ten­tial EA “rock­stars”—promis­ing can­di­dates that fit cer­tain EA tal­ent-gap niches—to Peter, and the list con­tinues to get up­dated.

Web­sites and Communications

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 30 hours

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time − 4 hours

  • EATO re­cently made effec­tivealtru­ism­canada.com so that Cana­dian search re­sults for EA will lead to more use­ful, com­pleted, con­nected, and co­or­di­nated re­sources—the de­ci­sion to build this web­site was based on a wider re­view of EA com­mu­nity build­ing and EA in­fras­truc­ture pro­jects in Canada

  • EATO con­tinues to up­date and main­tain eatoronto.com to share in­for­ma­tion about EA, our group, and EA opportunities

  • EATO con­tinues to pub­lish a more con­tent-rich monthly newslet­ter that shares rele­vant EA con­tent, EATO com­mu­nity up­dates, and EA opportunities

  • EATO got toronto@eahub.org thanks to EA Hub!


EATO Com­mu­nity Mem­ber Pro­jects and EATO-Sup­ported Projects

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 116 hours: 20 hours gen­eral plan­ning and other pro­jects, 20 hours ThinkBet­ter par­ti­ci­pa­tion and sup­port, 6 hours EA & AA Read­ing Group par­ti­ci­pa­tion and sup­port, 40 hours AI Safety Camp main or­ga­ni­za­tion and team build­ing, 10 hours U of T EA sup­port and par­ti­ci­pa­tion, 4 hours GWWC Meetup or­ga­niz­ing and par­ti­ci­pa­tion, 2 hours In­clu­sion and Diver­sity Group, 8 hours Feel­ing Good Read­ing Group, 6 hours Toronto Effec­tive Dona­tions Pro­ject

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time − 2586 hours: 10 hours gen­eral plan­ning, 2000 hours ThinkBet­ter work, 30 hours EA & AA Read­ing Group work, 400 hours AI Safety Camp work, 30 hours U of T EA work, 10 hours In­clu­sion and Diver­sity Group, 8 hours Feel­ing Good Read­ing Group, 10 hours Google Dona­tions, 8 hours Toronto Effec­tive Dona­tions Pro­ject, 80 hours ad­di­tional projects

The full list can be found at bit.ly/​EATOpro­jects, whereas this is a de­scrip­tive list of the high­lights.

EATO Pro­ject Sup­port con­sists of on­go­ing an­nounce­ments, events, and re­minders as well as our list of pro­jects. EATO con­tinues to en­courage its com­mu­nity mem­bers to share their pro­jects, work on new pro­jects, and col­lab­o­rate which seems to have been a driver for the num­ber of pro­jects that have been taken on, though this has been less of a fo­cus over the last 6 months.

Think Bet­ter is an EA-al­igned not-for-profit that started in late 2018 and in­cor­po­rated in 2020 (think­bet­ter.ca). It is run by five team mem­bers, and it has an alumni com­mu­nity of about 100 learn­ers. They have run about 7 courses, 7 work­shops, and 2 re­treats to date. If the pro­gram suc­ceeds in mak­ing mea­surable im­pacts on the at­tendee’s ra­tio­nal­ity, learn­ing, and well-be­ing, then it will con­tinue to run, grow, and plau­si­bly be­come prof­itable through the cor­po­rate sec­tor. It con­tinues to sup­port lo­cal and far-flung EAs and share in­sights with EA and ra­tio­nal­ity com­mu­ni­ties.

The EA and An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy Read­ing Group is a monthly read­ing group that started in mid 2018 based on a syl­labus de­vel­oped by Jeff Sebo, NYU pro­fes­sor. The group meets monthly and gets 5-8 at­ten­dees. It has been run­ning for about a year, and the group is cur­rently go­ing through some changes in strat­egy and lead­er­ship to help its mem­bers get more ac­tively en­gaged in plan­ning and work­ing in the ar­eas that they have learned about. The group is con­sid­er­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with An­i­mal Equal­ity and seek­ing pi­lot fund­ing for com­mu­nity-build­ing work among other op­tions, though these plans are quite early-stage and ten­ta­tive.

Ar­tifi­cial In­tel­li­gence Safety Camp Toronto is a con­tinu­a­tion of the AISCs that have hap­pened in Europe over the last few years. Gen­eral in­for­ma­tion about AISC and AIS Re­search Pro­gram are available at aisafe­ty­camp.com. AISC Toronto has an in­ter­na­tional team with 8 core mem­bers and 2 gen­eral sup­port roles. Our plans and op­er­a­tions for the camp are mov­ing along smoothly, and we ex­pect the camp to be a suc­cess. We aim to eval­u­ate the im­pact of the camp and share our fore­casted nearer- and longer-term out­comes af­ter the camp even more so than has been done in the past with other camps so that fur­ther de­vel­op­ment plan­ning and re­source al­lo­ca­tion de­ci­sion-mak­ing around AISCs and AISRPs can be im­proved.

The Univer­sity of Toronto Effec­tive Altru­ism Group is a per­sis­tent at­tempt to get a self-sus­tain­ing stu­dent group go­ing. Find­ing peo­ple who are well-suited to push and es­tab­lish the group is not easy. This has been a pet pro­ject of Colin’s since he started EATO com­mu­nity build­ing, and he is always cook­ing up an­other strat­egy to kick­start the UTEA group and fu­ture UTEA com­mu­nity.

The Giv­ing What We Can Toronto Meetup Group is a se­ries of din­ners and giv­ing game events that take place ev­ery cou­ple of months. It is a new ini­ti­a­tive, started in early 2020, aimed at group­ing a differ­ent part of the EA com­mu­nity, one that is both more ac­cessible to the pop­u­la­tion at large in terms of con­tent and more fo­cused on giv­ing.

The In­clu­sion and Diver­sity Group is a place­holder name for a group of peo­ple that are de­mo­graph­i­cally and oth­er­wise less rep­re­sented in EA when com­pared with the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion of the group. In Toronto, this is a group of queer women, women of colour, and EA com­mu­nity mem­bers who have faced these is­sues and thought about these is­sues.

The Feel­ing Good Read­ing Group is a small, quiet, low-key, and wel­com­ing hand­ful of EATO com­mu­nity mem­bers and friends who are look­ing for a space to learn more about men­tal health and dis­cuss rele­vant is­sues through dis­cussing their thoughts on chap­ters of the book, the CBT pop­u­larizer and en­dur­ingly helpful guide, Feel­ing Good.

Google’s Toronto Office Holi­day Fundraiser di­rected about $42,000 CAD to the Against Malaria Foun­da­tion be­cause of one EATO mem­ber’s efforts.

The Toronto Effec­tive Dona­tions Pro­ject is a place­holder name for a group of peo­ple who are de­vel­op­ing pre­sen­ta­tions that they plan to bring to or­ga­ni­za­tions such as the Toronto Foun­da­tions thanks to a team of EATO mem­bers work­ing with the sup­port of RC For­ward.


CEA Pro­gram­ming Participation

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 100 hours: 40 hours CEA Com­mu­nity Build­ing Grant Res­i­dency, 40 hours CEA Com­mu­nity Build­ing Grant Re­treat, 20 hours EA Global Lon­don (travel time not in­cluded)

Learn­ing Directly Re­lated to EA

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 250 hours read­ing and watch­ing talks

Yearly Re­ports to Wrap Up 2019

Es­ti­mate of Colin’s Time − 30 hours: 7 hours Case Stud­ies, 17 hours Gen­eral Re­port, 1 hour Mem­ber­ship Overview and Ap­pli­ca­tion for Fur­ther Fund­ing, 5 hours 6-month evaluation

Es­ti­mate EATO Mem­bers’ Time − 8 hours an­swer­ing sur­vey questions


This is a de­scrip­tion of the things which have been achieved dur­ing the grant pe­riod, the ways in which the com­mu­nity is differ­ent as a re­sult, and the value of this. This sec­tion is largely an ag­gre­ga­tion and clar­ifi­ca­tion of other pieces of the re­port and ex­ter­nal doc­u­ments.

Ca­reer Out­comes—Ag­gre­gated and Listed

  • 5 sig­nifi­cant ca­reer plan changes where Colin is 90% cer­tain that these peo­ple will take on 80,000 Hours Pri­or­ity Path Roles over the next 5 years and have already had some suc­cess ap­ply­ing to such roles or have made con­crete plans to do so

  • Im­prov­ing and sup­port­ing 11 pre-ex­ist­ing ca­reer plans that tar­get 80,000 Hours Pri­or­ity Path Roles and similarly im­pact­ful roles

  • 18 un­cer­tain ca­reer plan changes where Colin is 60% cer­tain that these peo­ple will take on 80,000 Hours Pri­or­ity Path Roles over the next 5 years and have made plans to do so that seem promising

  • At least three of our mem­bers re­ceived 80,000 Hours coach­ing in 2019, two of which likely would not have hap­pened with­out EATO

  • 1 new pro­ject col­lab­o­ra­tor (Think Bet­ter)

  • 4 new pro­ject col­lab­o­ra­tions (UTEA, Feel­ing Good Read­ing Group, EATO’s Trans­for­ma­tive Events Team, Toronto Effec­tive Dona­tions Pro­ject)

  • Sup­port­ing the pro­duc­tivity and well-be­ing of 70 ac­tive EATO mem­bers to some de­gree at least 11 of which rate as very im­por­tant to their con­tinued work

Num­ber of peo­ple at­tend­ing EAG

  • JS at­tended EAG SF 2019

  • Jeremy and Colin at­tended EAG Lon­don 2019 and Wy­att was ac­cepted though he didn’t attend

  • Three mem­bers have been ac­cepted to EAG SF 2020 and two of them have com­mit­ted to at­tend­ing. Ad­di­tion­ally, one new transna­tional mem­ber who is already deeply in­volved with EA is go­ing, and one re­cently re­lo­cated mem­ber ap­plied and should be ac­cepted soon

Group Size

  • EATO’s net­work has con­tinued to grow as our com­mu­nity mem­bers con­tinue to in­crease their en­gage­ment: 3 core, 18 con­trib­u­tor, 18 par­ti­ci­pant, 40 fol­lower (March 2019: 3, 10, 16, 18; De­cem­ber 2018: 3, 7, 14, 16; March 2018: 3, 6, 9, 10)

  • Event at­ten­dance has also grown: 7 peo­ple at­tended 20+ events, 10 for 15-20 events, 9 for 10-14 events, 7 for 6-9 events, 25 for 3-5 events, 80 for 1-2 events (At­ten­dees over 3-month in­ter­vals: March 2019: 1, 7, 5, 10, 15, 25; March 2018: 0, 0, 5, 5, 10, 25)

Group Health

  • Through our open group plan­ning meet­ings, EATO Im­pact and Feed­back Sur­vey, and our EATO Anony­mous Feed­back Form we have given com­mu­nity mem­bers op­por­tu­ni­ties to voice their con­cerns, and we find that ba­si­cally ev­ery­one seems ei­ther happy, very happy, or neu­tral about the group

  • The main con­cerns we get about the com­mu­nity are re­lat­ing to clar­ity of pur­pose, clar­ity of the com­mu­nity, and di­ver­sity is­sues, so we have taken steps to ad­dress these con­cerns and we share our mis­takes on our website

AI Safety Camp Toronto—AISC4

(fu­ture out­come)

  • Thanks to the work that has already been put in, we are on track for suc­cess in that we have built our team, built most of the camp, and raised our funding

  • May 1st to May 10th 2020, in Blue Moun­tain, near Toronto Canada, about 30 par­ti­ci­pants and 10 or­ga­niz­ers will come to­gether to make AISC Toronto a success

  • We ex­pect to help 10 teams come to­gether to work on 10 pro­jects lead­ing to at least two re­search po­si­tions ac­quired over the next year, three re­search pieces pub­lished over the next year, two more re­search po­si­tions over the next two years, and six more re­search pieces pub­lished over the next two years


Th­ese are thoughts on the year and the grant pe­riod as a whole, in­clud­ing an as­sess­ment of the value of the work con­ducted.

EATOs ac­tivi­ties are con­nected to each other in ways that lead to our tar­geted out­comes and usu­ally it seems to take a va­ri­ety of con­tact points to achieve a tar­geted out­come, so I’ll try to es­ti­mate the pro­por­tion of value pro­duced by differ­ent parts of the sys­tem while de­scribing some of the con­nec­tions.

Ca­reer fo­cused one-on-ones con­tinue to be the ac­tivity that seems to pro­duce the most value di­rectly and be the most effec­tive use of time in terms of effort when com­bined with a good mar­ket­ing strat­egy so that new­com­ers and EATO mem­bers are aware of one-on-ones. This ac­tivity is likely the most use­ful be­cause it serves many im­por­tant func­tions si­mul­ta­neously:

  • Recom­mend­ing and shar­ing EA knowl­edge re­sources and op­por­tu­ni­ties in a high-fidelity and clearly com­mu­ni­cated way

  • Build­ing trust in the shared in­for­ma­tion (be­cause a hu­man is de­liv­er­ing it)

  • Sup­port­ing the con­struc­tion of plans for fur­ther in­volve­ment in terms of ca­reers, dona­tions, pro­jects, volunteering

  • Wel­com­ing some­one into a global com­mu­nity of do-gooders

  • Tak­ing in ex­plicit and tacit feed­back about one-on-one ser­vices and EATO as a whole

Thus, one-on-ones con­tinue to be time well spent when these goals are achieved, and qual­i­ta­tively all of these goals seem to be achieved at over 90% of the meet­ings. Through round­ing some num­bers and man­ag­ing to get the right peo­ple to these meet­ings, it looks like ev­ery 26 hours put into ca­reer-fo­cused one-on-ones leads to 1 sig­nifi­cant, 2 sup­ported, and 4 un­cer­tain ca­reer plan changes which also means that just over half 50% of these meet­ings don’t seem to re­sult in much im­pact. Thus, if there was a way to pre­dict out­comes perfectly ahead of time, then 50% or more of the time put into one-on-ones could be saved and di­rected el­se­where.

More­over, effec­tive ca­reer-fo­cused one-on-ones are de­pen­dent on get­ting the right peo­ple to the meet­ings, and about 80% of the right peo­ple find EATO through events first. Thus, cur­rently, about 80% of the value of ca­reer-fo­cused one-on-ones de­pends on events. If we take the above stated out­comes and mul­ti­ply them by 0.6 (or mul­ti­ply the time cost by 1.6), then we’ll get an es­ti­mate of the im­pact at­tributed to ca­reer-fo­cused one-on-ones in iso­la­tion: 42 hours in­vested re­sults in 1 sig­nifi­cant, 2 sup­ported, and 4 un­cer­tain ca­reer plan changes.

Reg­u­lar events take up at least 60 hours of Colin’s fo­cused-task time and 150 hours of fa­cil­i­tat­ing and sup­port­ing events. Grant­ing the as­sump­tion that half of the value of ca­reer-fo­cused one-on-ones comes from get­ting the right peo­ple to the meet­ing, we can sub­tract 40% from the above—one-on-one—val­ues and get some rough num­bers: 30 hours of fo­cused-task time and 75 hours of fa­cil­i­tat­ing and sup­port­ing led to 1 sig­nifi­cant, 2 sup­port, and 4 un­cer­tain ca­reer plan changes. This sug­gests that mak­ing events hap­pen seems to be an effec­tive use of time, com­pa­rable to one-on-ones, though if there was a way to get oth­ers to put in the hours, es­pe­cially in fa­cil­i­tat­ing and sup­port­ing events, while main­tain­ing or im­prov­ing the cur­rent set of out­comes, then that time could be in­vested el­se­where.

Es­ti­mat­ing the im­pact of fur­ther ac­tivi­ties seems to get more com­pli­cated, as it would re­quire tak­ing more chunks out of the ca­reer plan change out­comes and at­tribut­ing the im­pact el­se­where. That im­pact can be fur­ther bro­ken down with 116 hours on com­mu­nity mem­ber pro­jects, 40 hours on EATO’s sys­tem build­ing and on­line tools, 20 hours on in­tro­duc­tory one-on-ones, and 12 hours on trans­for­ma­tive events. 60% of the sig­nifi­cant ca­reer plan changes in­volve peo­ple who are en­gaged in pro­jects in ad­di­tion to 50% of the sup­ported and 20% of the less cer­tain ca­reer plan changes. Though I am highly un­cer­tain how their pro­ject in­volve­ment and other fac­tors such as feel­ing like part of a group af­fected their ca­reer plan changes. 99% of EATO’s mem­bers use our on­line tools to con­nect with our ser­vices, so main­tain­ing them seems es­sen­tial and grow­ing them seems use­ful. In­tro­duc­tory one-on-ones don’t seem to take up too much time and they have been valuable in a few clear cases. Trans­for­ma­tive events are still a new ser­vice, a work in progress. Over­all, it seems ev­i­dent here that there are many differ­ent ac­tivi­ties that have been taken on, and thus, for fu­ture plans, it seems ad­vis­able to nar­row EATO’s port­fo­lio so that 80% of the work is driv­ing di­rectly at ca­reer plan changes through 1-3 key path­ways in­stead of through a wider va­ri­ety of or­ganic and in­di­rect path­ways spurred on by a wider port­fo­lio of pro­ject work, as a wider set of ac­tivi­ties tends to make causal path­ways of suc­cess and failure less salient.

Sup­port­ing other groups was about 20 hours of Colin’s time, and it doesn’t seem worth­while now to mea­sure the out­comes of this be­yond the sim­ple, pos­i­tive feed­back that was re­ceived from the or­ga­niz­ers them­selves. If more time was put into this, say 40 hours, then it would seem worth­while to com­ment on this fur­ther in a crit­i­cal man­ner.

On­go­ing learn­ing and pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment seem to un­derly all of the work that hap­pens at EATO in ac­cord with hav­ing truth-seek­ing—adopt­ing a sci­en­tific mind­set—as a core prin­ci­ple of EA. This truth-seek­ing has in part con­sisted of at least 30 hours spent on eval­u­at­ing EATO through re­port writ­ing and pub­lish­ing while the bulk of truth-seek­ing work has been done through 100 hours of par­ti­ci­pa­tion in CEA’s pro­grams and 250 hours of in­de­pen­dent learn­ing. Eval­u­a­tion seems es­sen­tial to the work that is done, so it could be jus­tifi­able to spend more than 30 hours do­ing so in ad­di­tion to the many hours of strate­gic think­ing and dis­cus­sion that hap­pens in off hours and at EATO group plan­ning meet­ings. Hours spent par­ti­ci­pat­ing in CEA pro­grams are full-time, high-en­gage­ment hours that are hard to give time-value es­ti­mates on, though they seem quite valuable, for ex­am­ple, a wild guess from Colin seems to say that about a third of EATO’s strat­egy up­dates and in­sights are based di­rectly on in­ter­ac­tions with other com­mu­nity builders and EA or­ga­ni­za­tion staff. Fi­nally, with­out in­de­pen­dent learn­ing, an­other wild guess seems to say that the other two thirds of EATO’s strat­egy up­dates and in­sights would not ex­ist.

EATO’s eval­u­a­tion pro­cess re­lies mostly on the struc­ture that CEA pro­vides: case stud­ies, a mem­ber­ship overview, and a gen­eral re­port (as well as the brief fur­ther fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tion). The case stud­ies are a quick and effec­tive sum­mary of what seem to be the most im­por­tant di­rect out­comes of EATO’s work. The mem­ber­ship overview also serves as a truly quick tool to share data that builds con­text. The gen­eral re­port sup­plies the greater con­text and rea­son­ing for the en­tire body of work, and thus, it seems more im­por­tant than the case stud­ies in eval­u­at­ing EATO’s work as a whole, es­pe­cially in terms of un­der­stand­ing how EATO will perform in the fu­ture. For ex­am­ple, the gen­eral re­port al­lows for strate­gic and con­tex­tual clar­ifi­ca­tions, as given in the later sec­tions of the re­port where strate­gies, fu­ture plans, and spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions are the fo­cus.

EATO’s biggest is­sues mostly came in the form of an un­clear struc­ture, un­clear strat­egy and prac­ti­cal day-to-day work­ing con­cerns.

EATO’s largest and most per­sis­tent is­sue seems to be a lack of clar­ity in the struc­ture of EATO and, re­lat­edly, an un­clear guid­ing strat­egy that en­ables or­ga­niz­ers and com­mu­nity mem­bers to make more au­tonomously-driven yet well-co­or­di­nated de­ci­sions about where best to put re­sources. We are deal­ing with this through team-build­ing and es­tab­lish­ing EATO as a not-for-profit while si­mul­ta­neously draft­ing a nar­rower and clearer strat­egy that puts more of our or­ga­nizer and mem­ber efforts in-sync to drive to­wards a spe­cific out­come while still al­low­ing for the or­ganic growth and work of the wider com­mu­nity to con­tinue.

More speci­fi­cally, an is­sue in the past for the EATO com­mu­nity has been an un­clear po­si­tion on whether to di­rect re­sources to­wards work on the struc­ture of the group or to­wards spe­cific out­comes such as ca­reer plan changes. There are always many prob­lems to work on and many op­por­tu­ni­ties pop­ping up, so it seems like high time for EATO to pur­sue a nar­rower and more fo­cused strat­egy, much like craft­ing and liv­ing by a clearer and more effec­tive busi­ness plan.

EATO con­tinues to doc­u­ment and share our mis­takes on our web­site at eatoronto.com/​our-mis­takes.

For Colin, work­ing on his own be­came a big is­sue this year due to a sub­tle, felt sense of iso­la­tion in ad­di­tion to oc­ca­sional is­sues with mo­ti­va­tion and en­gage­ment, proper breaks, and sun­light when work­ing at home or at libraries. Th­ese is­sues seem to have been dealt with quite well through Colin pairing up with a friend for co-work­ing and then later join­ing a co-work­ing space. Mean­while, EATO has on­go­ing, mem­ber-led cowork­ing ses­sions that ebb and flow in pop­u­lar­ity, de­pen­dent on schedul­ing and space (usu­ally libraries). Fur­ther, EATO is look­ing into get­ting office space in the com­ing years, though for now, us­ing pub­lic spaces and uni­ver­si­ties works bet­ter than just pri­vate res­i­dences for events and co-work­ing.

Colin’s deep­est learn­ings also ad­dress EATO’s biggest is­sues. Colin would have spent more time plan­ning out how to spend his time, cov­er­ing the con­nec­tions be­tween his val­ues and ac­tions: go­ing from a very high-level ag­gre­gated-per­spec­tive of plan­ning to a very low-level highly-de­tailed and out­come-ori­ented plan­ning. This plan­ning hope­fully would have led to an in­sight that came close to the end of the grant pe­riod: it seems more effec­tive to take a nar­rower fo­cus. Thus, fu­ture efforts should have a deeper plan­ning cy­cle.

Un­der­ly­ing this is­sue of an un­clear strat­egy, for Colin and for EATO, was the fact that Colin likely be­came too big a fan of the gar­den­ing model, where EATO pro­vides re­sources to try to sup­port a wider va­ri­ety of ac­tivi­ties and pro­jects, re­sources and sys­tems. Colin had a few fo­cus pro­jects at any given time, but they were too am­bigu­ous. They were things like these: reg­u­lar events, build­ing EATO’s struc­ture and fea­tures, and hav­ing one-on-ones. For nearly all of these ac­tivi­ties, Colin and EATO com­mu­nity mem­bers had a fuzzy but not nearly clear enough idea of out­comes, partly be­cause Colin was wor­ried about the risk of limit­ing the com­mu­nity’s po­ten­tial by not sup­port­ing a wider va­ri­ety of promis­ing ini­ti­a­tives. In hind­sight, it seems to be the case that the com­mu­nity has been limited moreso by a lack of clar­ity and than a lack of valuable op­tions. In fu­ture, Colin plans to stretch him­self less thin and fo­cus on a clearer ar­range­ment of pro­jects, tak­ing more of a busi­ness plan strat­egy for over 80% of his work and thus pur­su­ing more car­pen­try—ex­e­cut­ing and iter­nat­ing on a spe­cific de­sign—while still hav­ing a gar­den on the side.

Fu­ture Plans

Ob­jec­tives and Key Results

  • 80% of re­sources will go to­wards: One case study per quar­ter of a ca­reer plan change cor­re­spond­ing with a List A, B, C, or similar op­por­tu­nity—while main­tain­ing the prefer­ence or­der­ing of the lists and find­ing rele­vant con­nec­tions that are more ap­pli­ca­ble to our re­gion when necessary

    • 10 ca­reer-fo­cused one-on-one meet­ings per month

    • Track­ing sig­nifi­cant im­prove­ment of a one-on-one re­lated tool each quar­ter, e.g. CRM sys­tem, mar­ket­ing, meet­ing prep, ap­pli­ca­tion form

    • Track­ing sig­nifi­cant im­prove­ment of a one-on-one re­lated strat­egy each quar­ter, e.g. pre­dict­ing the tra­jec­tory of ap­pli­ca­tions, fil­ter­ing ap­pli­cants, mar­ket­ing, mod­el­ling in­volve­ment path­ways, iden­ti­fy­ing opportunities

    • Eval­u­at­ing this ob­jec­tive quar­terly in brief and yearly in full

  • 10% to­wards: Five fo­cused EA events in Toronto each month—prefer­ring events that are not pri­mar­ily for the EATO main group so that spe­cial­ized groups can grow

    • 4 sup­port-fo­cused one-on-one meet­ings per month with event organizers

    • Track­ing sig­nifi­cant im­prove­ment of an event re­lated tool each quar­ter, e.g. meetup, face­book group and page, mar­ket­ing strat­egy, newsletter

    • Eval­u­at­ing this ob­jec­tive quar­terly in brief and yearly in full

  • 10% to­wards: Im­prove co­or­di­na­tion for peo­ple in Toronto in­ter­ested in effec­tive al­tru­ism as mea­sured by de­vel­op­ing and main­tain­ing co­or­di­na­tion tools, e.g. web­site, mes­sage groups, pro­ject directory

    • Create and main­tain an EATO mem­ber directory

    • Set up EATO as a not-for-profit corporation

      • Take on in­terns to man­age differ­ent as­pects of and groups within the wider community

      • Get ex­pan­sion fund­ing from non-EA sources to fund in­terns and other projects

    • Set up an ac­tual vol­un­teer pro­gram for EATO

    • Con­sider get­ting EATO office space that the com­mu­nity can use, and write up our de­ci­sion reasoning

    • Eval­u­at­ing this ob­jec­tive quar­terly in brief and yearly in full

    • Eval­u­at­ing EATO over­all quar­terly in brief and yearly in full

Fore­cast of Objectives

  • 90% sure: EATO will meet its ob­jec­tives 75% of the time, as­sessed quar­terly, and sur­pass them by a mar­gin of 25%, 25% of the time in 2020.

  • 80% sure: EATO will be reg­istered as a not-for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion be­fore 2021.

  • 80% sure: EATO will set up a vol­un­teer pro­gram with an ap­pli­ca­tion pro­cess, at least two ac­tive vol­un­teers, and a set of vol­un­teer ex­pec­ta­tions by 2020/​04/​04.

  • 80% sure: EATO will cre­ate a pub­lic mem­ber di­rec­tory and get 20 mem­bers into it by 2020/​06/​06.

  • 70% sure: EATO’s net­work will have at least five event or­ga­niz­ers who take the lead in or­ga­niz­ing at least one EA fo­cused event each quar­ter by 2020/​08/​08.

Other Metrics

EATO will at­tempt to track the fol­low­ing met­rics to fur­ther in­form our strat­egy:

  • Num­ber of EATO net­work groups and pro­jects that are self-sustaining

  • Over­all Im­pact-Ad­justed Sig­nifi­cant Plan Changes

  • Over­all In­ter­views for List A, B, C, or similar opportunities

  • Es­ti­mated value of con­tri­bu­tions to EA pro­jects and com­mu­ni­ties globally through spe­cific cases and through wider co­or­di­na­tion projects

Key Uncer­tain­ties and Re­spec­tive Strategies

  • How much can one-on-one fore­cast­ing and fil­ter­ing be im­proved?

    • At least 10 hours will go into re­search and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion to an­swer this ques­tion, pri­mar­ily through find­ing tools and de­vel­op­ing new ones.

  • What is the value of each new promis­ing EA op­por­tu­nity that we find?

    • At least 5 hours will go into dis­cov­er­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties, es­ti­mat­ing the value of the op­por­tu­ni­ties, and track­ing whether we helped some­one take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity.

  • How do other ways of em­pow­er­ing and en­abling event or­ga­niz­ers com­pare with monthly sup­port one-on-ones in terms of time/​cost-effec­tive­ness?

    • At least 5 hours will go into re­search and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion to an­swer this ques­tion, pri­mar­ily through find­ing meth­ods and de­vel­op­ing new ones.

Spe­cial Considerations

Strate­gic Clarifications

One of EATO’s strate­gic con­sid­er­a­tions is about short-term vs. long-term trade­offs, and it would be good to clar­ify that EATO is in many ways seen by our or­ga­niz­ers as an in-progress-struc­ture that will con­tinue to grow and yield value over the years and decades. Over the past year, re­sources have been put into sup­port­ing mem­ber pro­jects and build­ing tools and fea­tures of the com­mu­nity that broaden ac­cess to the com­mu­nity, e.g. our web­site, more wel­com­ing event de­scrip­tions, and pro­ject events and tem­plates. The re­sources put to­wards these fea­tures seemed jus­tified be­cause of the strate­gies that EATO was op­er­at­ing with re­spect to at the time. In the fu­ture, these more gen­eral and mis­cel­la­neous com­mu­nity build­ing up­grades will still be an im­por­tant part of EATO, though they will likely not re­ceive nearly as much of the re­source share as they have in the past so that EATO can fo­cus more on a few ob­jec­tives in­stead of wa­ter­ing plants more spo­rad­i­cally in a wild gar­den.

Com­men­tary on CEA’s Pro­posed Out­comes and Ret­ro­spec­tive Grant Criteria

Most 80,000 Hours job board roles are still lo­cated in the Bay Area, DC, Oxford, Lon­don, and a few other places. They are not evenly dis­tributed around the world, so non-UK and non-US cit­i­zens have dras­ti­cally fewer listed op­por­tu­ni­ties re­al­is­ti­cally available to them un­less they over­come some fairly large bar­ri­ers. For Cana­di­ans, these bar­ri­ers are less daunt­ing than for most other peo­ple in the world, though they are still daunt­ing enough to slow things down, namely, to re­quire an em­mi­gra­tion pro­cess or be limited to re­mote work. Thus, for coun­tries with fewer ac­cessible op­por­tu­ni­ties, it seems nor­mal to ex­pect that ca­reer plan changes will look a lit­tle differ­ent in that they will of­ten take more time to man­i­fest, per­haps years longer, and will end up look­ing differ­ent than 80,000 Hours job board roles, while more non-UK and non-US roles grad­u­ally find spots on the job boards and crite­ria lists. Though it seems like it will take years for the amount of full-time po­si­tions at EA or­ga­ni­za­tions that are out­side of the US and UK to equal those that are in the UK and US to­day, let’s look for­ward to a world where there are many EA-al­igned or­ga­ni­za­tions in ev­ery coun­try.

Colin’s Fit for EA Com­mu­nity Building

Through hav­ing the priv­ilege of work­ing on EA com­mu­nity build­ing for about 2 years and be­ing paid to do so for 1.5 years, Colin con­tinues to think that the work and him fit well to­gether. This is due to the feed­back he gets from the com­mu­nity, the per­sonal fit that he ex­pe­riences through main­tain­ing and iter­at­ing the port­fo­lio of work, and EA Toronto’s progress to date and growth po­ten­tial. He sees fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth in him­self and in his role as a com­mu­nity builder which, for ex­am­ple, might take the form of in­cor­po­rat­ing and grow­ing EATO into a more fo­cused and strate­gi­cally leg­ible or­ga­ni­za­tion while main­tain­ing the con­nec­tion and growth of our or­ganic, lo­cal net­work.


Toronto is Canada’s largest city, a well-re­sourced, car­ing, and grow­ing place. It has the coun­try’s high­est con­cen­tra­tions of pop­u­la­tion and wealth, its lead­ing uni­ver­sity and two other large uni­ver­si­ties, the head­quar­ters of many multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions, and a car­ing and rel­a­tively well-off cit­i­zenry with world-class di­ver­sity and global con­nec­tions.

Ta­lent: Toronto is a mag­netic city in a very pleas­ant coun­try, and there is no bet­ter place in Canada to build and grow or­ga­ni­za­tions and cor­po­ra­tions, hope­fully, a va­ri­ety of EA or­ga­ni­za­tions in years to come.

Funds: Toronto is the eco­nomic cap­i­tal of Canada where billions of dol­lars move around each day. (A handy heuris­tic is that Canada is roughly one tenth the size of the USA in terms of pop­u­la­tion and econ­omy.) Statis­tics show that Cana­dian’s donate about $10 billion yearly in to­tal (com­pared to $430 billion in the US and £10 billion in the UK).

Policy: Toronto is the cap­i­tal city of On­tario, Canada’s largest province, and the provin­cial gov­ern­ment re­sides here. Toronto, as Canada’s largest city, may set ex­am­ples and stan­dards for Canada as a whole.

Cul­ture: Toronto is one of the most eth­ni­cally and cul­turally di­verse places in the world, and ac­cord­ingly, it is one of the world’s most globally con­nected places whether in terms of cul­ture, fam­ily, or eco­nomic ties. More speci­fi­cally, differ­ent ar­eas of Toronto have some similar­i­ties to differ­ent places around the world, a mo­saic that is more com­plex and varied than nearly all other cities, which means that there isn’t one Toronto: there is a mixed down­town core and there are nu­mer­ous en­claves with global and lo­cal ties.

Thank you, deeply, to CEA, our com­mu­nity mem­bers, sup­port­ive EA com­mu­nity builders around the world, and all the sup­port­ers of the EA Toronto com­mu­nity!