Working at EA organizations series: .impact
This is the 5th post in the Working At EA Organizations series. The posts so far:
The following are my notes from an interview with Tom Ash which he reviewed before publishing. Thanks to Peter Hurford and Ozzie Gooen for additional feedback.
The .impact model
.impact is a distributed volunteer force of aspiring effective altruists working on high-impact projects. It provides a home to independent EA projects. People can start their own projects or join existing ones. The .impact network facilitates information exchange and coordination between projects.
.impact has various communication channels which are open to anybody. All important developments are documented on hackpad. They have several kinds of open meetings that promote collaboration and discussion of effective altruist projects. To be informed of future events, please follow the Facebook group here.
The IM service Slack is proving to be a useful communication tool with channels for different topics and projects. For those undecided as to which project to work on there’s even a ‘looking for work’ channel. You can join through this form, it’s open to anybody interested. If you’re planning to start any EA-related project it could be useful to join .impact for feedback and support. If you want to join an existing project it’s important to note that you should be able to make a firm commitment to spend a few hours or even just an hour a week consistently. It’s advisable to err on the side of being conservative on the amount of time you can spare, to account for the planning fallacy. If you’ve seriously taken that into account you can likely find work on some project.
.impact is open to a wide variety of projects. A few of the projects it is currently focusing on are:
The annual EA Survey
The Local Effective Altruism Network (LEAN) which encourages and supports people in running local EA presences. LEAN and other organisations supporting local groups (Giving What We Can, Effective Altruism Foundation and Effective Altruism Outreach) coordinate their work on this.
Current talent needs
There are basically three levels of involvement at .impact: Full-time or part-time jobs, working on .impact project(s) with a firm commitment to a few hours of work per week and taking the lead on your own EA project (with no central permission needed, using .impact as an open venue through which to communicate about it with the EA community and collaborate with others). Additionally, you can join projects, but with the above-noted restriction that a firm commitment has to be made.
Full-time or part-time salaried position
.impact currently has an opening for a full-time or part-time salaried position. This person would join the current team of full-timers and part-timers (both paid and unpaid).
Being able to move to Vancouver would be preferable, though the possibility of remote work can be explored. The primary focus of the work would be on the Local Effective Altruism Network (LEAN) project, with additional efforts focused on other priority projects and potentially projects that you’re keen to initiate and lead, if the team judge these to be sufficiently promising. Hiring someone to focus on another project could also be considered. The work on LEAN involves both supporting existing local EA groups and creating new ones through a range of seeding methods, including contacting hundreds of EAs who might be interested in local outreach. Some of the work the LEAN team will be doing over the coming months can be found in this plan for the coordinated work on local groups done by the various organisations involved in this, such as Giving What We Can, GBS/EAF and (soon) EA Outreach. For this position, the following are desired:
Preferably able to work in Vancouver (visa will be sorted out), though remote work can be considered
Able to work for at least a few months; longer preferable
Strong dedication to EA
Motivated by direct EA work
High levels of autonomy, able to make autonomous decisions and manage projects
Good written and verbal communication skills (i.e. able to deal with large amounts of correspondence with EAs and prioritize)
General technical proficiency (being able to learn computer skills; web development would be a plus, though is not necessary)
Great organizational skills, dealing with a high variety of tasks and prioritizing well
No particular work experience is necessary, and the position would be a good fit for people who’ve just graduated. Potential ways to demonstrate your fit for this position:
Successfully organizing a local EA presence
Participating in or running EA projects
Showing conscientiousness and the ability to get things done
Volunteering with .impact first by making a firm commitment to do some fixed minimum number of hours a week.
The lower-commitment ways of getting involved are much more open to anybody.
How to get started on a project
If you have an idea for an EA-related project, make it known in the #general channel of the .impact Slack and follow the steps here. If you’d like to join an existing project contact the leader of the project as recorded in the list of projects here or ask on Slack who you should contact.
How competitive are the positions?
Anyone who thinks they could do a good job should apply to the position described above. It would be a natural possibility for someone who just graduated.
What’s the application process like?
At what yearly donation would you prefer your last hires (or a marginal hire) to earn to give for you instead of directly working for you?
The first (very rough) figure that came to mind is 35,000US$, but keep in mind that you could also work at or volunteer for .impact part-time while earning to give.
Why work at .impact?
The main reason to work at .impact is, as the name says, impact. Tom thinks that the work you’d do is not very replaceable.
As long as you can make a reliable commitment, the work could also be a good fit for someone also doing something else part-time, like while at school or at a not very demanding job. You’ll be part of a small, non-hierarchical team with high levels of autonomy, living and working alongside dedicated EAs. If you come to the thriving EA hub of Vancouver, paid-for accommodation living near a large community of other EAs will be provided for you.
What could prevent you from enjoying this work?
The work would be less enjoyable if direct EA work isn’t that appealing to you or if you’re not comfortable handling challenging work which requires a high degree of autonomy, organisation and initiative (e.g. dealing with and prioritizing an unusually large number of emails).