2017 LEAN Impact Assessment: Qualitative Findings

Quan­ti­ta­tive Findings

Qual­i­ta­tive Findings

Eval­u­a­tion and Strate­gic Conclusions


This doc­u­ment is the sec­ond in the LEAN Im­pact Assess­ment Series, briefly sum­maris­ing rele­vant data from our qual­i­ta­tive in­ter­views with 31 EA group or­ganisers. Click here to read the pre­vi­ous re­port from the se­ries [1]. The third and penul­ti­mate re­port will syn­the­sise data from qual­i­ta­tive and quan­ti­ta­tive re­ports in or­der to de­rive gen­eral con­clu­sions.

Note: Our qual­i­ta­tive re­port is de­signed to offer more de­tailed un­der­stand­ing by de­vot­ing a high de­gree of at­ten­tion to a small, illus­tra­tive sam­ple. This ap­proach also al­lows for more re­spon­sive­ness to in­put from re­spon­dents (in con­trast to the sur­vey), and in do­ing so, im­proves ac­cu­racy and al­lows for over­looked fac­tors to come to light. This ev­i­dence should be read as a com­ple­ment to our quan­ti­ta­tive re­port, that sheds light on the weight­ing of differ­ent is­sues and draws out new fac­tors unan­ti­ci­pated by our sur­vey de­sign.

The re­port is split into two sec­tions:

Or­ganiser Ex­pe­riences and Wider Issues

1.1 - Ap­petite for Assess­ment and Ev­i­dence-Based Guidance

1.2 - Le­gi­t­i­macy and Rep­u­ta­tion Concerns

1.3 - The Sig­nifi­cance of Context

1.4 - Group Influence

1.5 - Or­ganiser Insecurities

1.6 - Per­sonal Con­nec­tion and Motivation

1.7 - De­sire for In­te­gra­tion with the Global Community

1.8 - Direct Action

1.9 - Pro­duc­tivity and Accountability

Spe­cific Ser­vices and Resources

2.1 - Writ­ten Guides and Resources

2.2- Web­sites and Tech Support

2.3 - Con­nect­ing and Introducing

2.4 - One-to-one Support

2.5 - Funding

2.6 - Venues

2.7 - Speakers

2.8 - Group Calls

The first sec­tion pre­sents cru­cial themes from the in­ter­views re­lat­ing to com­mon ex­pe­riences, needs, or con­cerns ex­pe­rienced by group or­ganisers. The sec­ond sec­tion pre­sents data on ex­ist­ing forms of sup­port offered by LEAN and other EA or­gani­sa­tions sup­port­ing groups. In both sec­tions, gen­eral ob­ser­va­tions are made fol­lowed by demon­stra­tive quotes from the in­ter­view tran­scripts [2].

Or­ganiser Ex­pe­riences and Wider Issues

Ap­petite for Assess­ment and Ev­i­dence-Based Guidance

There is a high level of de­mand among or­ganisers for for­mal re­search into out­reach and group man­age­ment strat­egy. Or­ganisers also want to be able to effec­tively mon­i­tor their own progress and im­pact, and they look for cer­tainty and em­piri­cal back­ing to in­form as­pects of group lead­er­ship.

“I would re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate help with plan­ning ahead and de­cid­ing on use­ful met­rics to mea­sure so that we can as­sess how much im­pact we’re hav­ing.”

“Sort of like a roadmap too… like based on other groups and what they’ve ex­pe­rienced. Like first they have 1-2 years do­ing x, y, z and then they reach n mem­bers, etc…”

“Mea­sur­ing im­pact for groups is so difficult, it takes so much time to plan. It would be helpful to have a ve­hi­cle through which to do this. So LEAN track­ing met­rics across groups would be very valuable.”

“What would be good is some plans. Like how should you or­ganise a small group, a large group etc? How big are other groups? What is the av­er­age size?”

“The things you are do­ing, like the sur­vey, it’s re­ally some­thing su­per im­por­tant. We were think­ing of iter­at­ing that here on a lo­cal scale, but then the per­son in charge of that con­cluded that this sur­vey you did was good enough… it’s just some­thing that we needed, and this is giv­ing us more in­sight that we can chew upon.”

“I would be re­ally in­ter­ested in what you’re look­ing at, how you ask peo­ple… how you set up eval­u­a­tion and sur­veys af­ter events you’re hold­ing, and stuff like that.”

“The most im­por­tant is re­search on how to ad­ver­tise…for ex­am­ple Face­book ad­ver­tise­ments. What kind of key­words to write, and is it worth it? How many peo­ple do you get that way? How well it re­sponds to per­sis­tence and all these things…”

Le­gi­t­i­macy and Rep­u­ta­tion Concerns

In some con­texts, or­ganisers feel that there is a func­tional need for pub­lic le­gi­t­i­macy for their groups.

“It would be the idea of us draft­ing guidelines and hav­ing the gov­ern­ment de­part­ment of char­i­ta­ble giv­ing sort of rub­ber stamp­ing them. With some­thing like that I feel… if there’s ac­cess to more promi­nent peo­ple in this field, we could send them Singer’s talk. But I don’t know if there’s any ad­di­tional way of get­ting le­gi­t­i­macy.”

“We had more funds by us­ing The Life You Can Save funds for giv­ing games, and also more cred­i­bil­ity.”

“I know I needed a lot of tech sup­port set­ting up the eahub.org email ad­dress, but peo­ple re­spond to that bet­ter than some­thing that has Gmail at the end of it. We’ve no­ticed we have higher re­sponse rates.”

“[LEAN] made us a club web­site which looks very pro­fes­sional. And that went a long way to show­ing peo­ple that we’re not some fringe thing that’s only lo­cally run.”

The Sig­nifi­cance of Context

A cru­cial in­sight from the in­ter­views is the de­gree to which group-spe­cific con­text shapes and de­ter­mines the suc­cess and op­por­tu­ni­ties available to or­ganisers. There is va­ri­ety in the de­mo­graphic that or­ganisers are able to at­tract, the cul­ture and at­ti­tudes preva­lent in spe­cific coun­tries and re­gions, the prox­im­ity of groups to other EA or­gani­sa­tions and com­mu­ni­ties, or to oth­er­wise like-minded col­lec­tives, to name but a few dis­tinc­tions.

For this cat­e­gory, sum­marised ex­am­ples are a more con­cise means to demon­strate this than ver­ba­tim quotes.

- A group that raised a sig­nifi­cantly high sum through group fundraisers benefit­ted from a proac­tive stu­dent body, gen­er­ous state sup­port, and an un­usu­ally high na­tional cul­ture of al­tru­ism and char­i­ta­ble giv­ing.

- A group in a large spread out city found reg­u­lar at­ten­dance hard to se­cure due to the travel times re­quired.

- One group has a strat­egy of tar­get­ing cor­po­ra­tions in or­der to take ad­van­tage of a state re­quire­ment for cor­po­rate char­i­ta­ble giv­ing.

The Pledge is less ap­pro­pri­ate for groups in poor coun­tries.

- Sev­eral groups are benefit­ted by re­sid­ing in cities with un­usual con­cen­tra­tions of aca­demics or ex­perts. For ex­am­ple, policy ex­perts in Wash­ing­ton D.C., Geneva, Brus­sels or Lon­don. Re­searchers in Oxford, Cam­bridge and Ivy League in­sti­tu­tions and so on.

- A group in the Mid­dle East has to op­er­ate in the face of state limi­ta­tions on char­i­ta­ble giv­ing and is look­ing for ways to part­ner with mosques and ex­ist­ing re­li­gious tra­di­tions sur­round­ing philan­thropy.

- Sev­eral Asian groups are part­ner­ing on trans­la­tion and re­fram­ing core EA ideas to tar­get lo­cal at­ti­tudes.

- Groups in some coun­tries, like Ger­many, have to be more sen­si­tive about as­so­ci­a­tion with util­i­tar­i­anism or Peter Singer due to pub­lic hos­tility.

- 80,000 Hours recom­mended ca­reers are sig­nifi­cantly less ac­cessible in some coun­tries than in oth­ers.

Group Influence

While tan­gibly gaug­ing im­pact is a wide­spread challenge for or­ganisers, some re­spon­dents men­tioned con­crete in­stances where a per­son ei­ther be­came ac­tively in­volved in EA as a re­sult of be­ing in­tro­duced to EA in a group or cases where get­ting in­volved in group man­age­ment led to in­di­vi­d­u­als en­gag­ing more strongly with EA.

“I got into EA through my lo­cal group at [Univer­sity], which ex­plains my in­ter­est in it. It’s changed a lot of my val­ues, and I wanted to cre­ate that op­por­tu­nity for other peo­ple.”

“It’s definitely helped me grow more, just tak­ing those ac­tions. [Mem­ber name] taught me as well, as it was be­cause I got him into EA that he then be­came very in­volved.”

“Be­cause I am or­ganis­ing, I do think the pos­si­bil­ity is high that [nearby re­gional EA Group] is where I can do a lot. And so I cer­tainly con­sider that in my ca­reer path right now… I plan on go­ing to [re­gional EA Group] and work­ing there in the fu­ture. So you can see, EA has changed my life a lot.”

“I think that they [group mem­bers who took on lead­er­ship af­ter the re­spon­dent moved on from or­ganis­ing the group] be­came more en­gaged, but I don’t know if they would have done that some other way in­stead. Like maybe go­ing up to [EA Cap­i­tal City], or more con­ver­sa­tions on­line, or skypes with peo­ple. Cer­tainly, a cou­ple of peo­ple like [Name] and [Name] are much more in­volved than they were be­fore and they took the Pledge while we were there. And we had a lot of con­ver­sa­tions about these things…”

“The most use­ful feed­back I re­ceived was lo­cally, from the peo­ple who ac­tu­ally came to events. See­ing them be happy also made me happy be­cause we’d spent time talk­ing about all sorts of brilli­ant stuff that we couldn’t talk about with any­body else. Or ac­tu­ally con­vinc­ing the first per­son to ac­tu­ally donate money, or work for an effec­tive cause, or con­vinc­ing some­one in an ar­gu­ment that other peo­ple were think­ing about or ac­tu­ally act­ing upon… this sort of feed­back was still the best thing I re­ceived. And I think the best thing about my job right now is that I’m see­ing this. So ev­ery time I or­ganise an event I’m get­ting more and more peo­ple into this, and this is mak­ing me feel amaz­ing.”

Or­ganiser Insecurities

Some of our re­spon­dents ex­pe­rienced in­se­cu­rity in their role as group or­ganisers, es­pe­cially those who had re­cently started up. For ex­am­ple, we en­coun­tered ab­sten­tion from in­ter­view par­ti­ci­pa­tion aris­ing from dis­com­fort in an­swer­ing ques­tions about group progress. A few par­ti­ci­pants also ex­pressed con­cern prior to in­ter­view over whether or not their groups were large, ac­tive or suc­cess­ful enough to ‘count’. In con­ver­sa­tion, re­spon­dents oc­ca­sion­ally un­favourably con­trasted their situ­a­tion to an ideal, with the coun­ter­fac­tual typ­i­cally be­ing a larger, more ac­tive or more pro­fes­sional group.

“I feel a lot bet­ter about un­der­tak­ing this with a team, but I don’t think…I don’t know that any of us have done like for­mal out­reach or com­mu­nity growth in this sort of way be­fore.”

“It’s ba­si­cally me and a very small team, and we are still learn­ing and none of us are re­ally re­searchers in one of the EA or­gani­sa­tions.”

Not only were in­se­cu­ri­ties in­di­rectly ap­par­ent in how or­ganisers spoke about their groups at times, but there were also some di­rect re­ports of spe­cific anx­ieties and doubts, of­ten re­lated to re­spon­dents’ con­cerns over their own per­sonal EA cre­den­tials, or the fidelity of their ap­proaches.

“I hope that [Univer­sity] group gets go­ing, but I also just feel like an old guy try­ing to make stuff work.”

“Some EAs are vo­cally say­ing we shouldn’t be do­ing much out­reach… we don’t want to dumb down the mes­sage. I worry… I think we are do­ing the right thing, but there are mixed mes­sages out there about what we should be do­ing. I don’t know what peo­ple think about us and what we should be do­ing. I feel lack­ing in con­fi­dence. I kind of want a seal of ap­proval that makes me feel like I’m do­ing the right thing.”

“There’s just so much liter­a­ture, Je­sus! I started read­ing about, you know, Peter Singer, and now I’m into pro­fes­sional fi­nance… and I just can’t keep up! I had it in my mind that maybe I could get a po­si­tion in some EA or­gani­sa­tion. It’s a bit in­timi­dat­ing, though, see­ing the po­si­tions and the peo­ple work­ing in them, like ’what the fuck? How did they do that? They raised $2 mil­lion?” Some of these peo­ple seem so alien…so far out from nor­mal peo­ple.”

Per­sonal Con­nec­tion and Motivation

Per­sonal in­ter­ac­tion with other EAs is highly sig­nifi­cant and some­times crit­i­cal for the mo­ti­va­tion of group or­ganisers.

“If I’d been with­out per­sonal in­ter­ac­tion, I’d never have got­ten that much in­volved with EA.”

“I always seem to be in­spired af­ter I touch base. Be­cause it can be kind of challeng­ing when you’re not re­ally im­mersed in a cul­ture where peo­ple have these kind of ideas. So I always find it very up­lift­ing to chat to peo­ple who are in­volved in the over­all EA com­mu­nity.”

“I don’t even know why, but meet­ing all those peo­ple in there [EAG] and get­ting all this awe­some ad­vice that I re­ally needed and feel­ing the sense of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity rather than a lo­cal thing that’s gen­er­ally my­self and a cou­ple of guys I’ll see each Thurs­day. I think this re­ally helped me go and in­vest more, ba­si­cally.”

“When it comes to feed­back from the wider com­mu­nity, I still have this fuel from the 2015 con­fer­ence. I’m still fueled by that ex­pe­rience. And I’m go­ing back to Lon­don—I just bought a ticket to­day—I de­cided I’ll just go there and do it again. So in terms of that feed­back, there would be no ini­ti­a­tive from my side if not for that feed­back.”

“After last year I felt a bit not con­nected. I felt alone here… yeh I told you how this guy just dis­ap­peared. But last year when I had the re­treat, I met these won­der­ful EAs…”

While some of the or­ganisers we spoke to were in­de­pen­dent ‘self-starters’, most suc­cess sto­ries referred back to crit­i­cal con­nec­tions, such as meet­ing peo­ple at a con­fer­ence or re­treat or find­ing an equally com­mit­ted co-or­ga­nizer. Con­versely, iso­la­tion from the wider EA com­mu­nity and a lack of equally mo­ti­vated part­ners was one of the most fre­quently named challenges fac­ing or­ganisers.

De­sire for In­te­gra­tion with the Global Community

In ad­di­tion to the per­sonal needs of or­ganisers, re­spon­dents widely ex­pressed a de­sire for bet­ter av­enues to con­nect their mem­bers to the wider com­mu­nity.

“I’m kind of the only EA that has met the oth­ers out­side of [coun­try]. I kind of want mem­bers to have the chance to skype with other EAs.”

“I re­ally want to see the club get more di­rectly in­volved and en­gaged with the lo­cal [city] EA com­mu­nity. So, if you’re like a club mem­ber at EA [uni­ver­sity] you pretty much au­to­mat­i­cally know most of the EAs in [city]. I kind of want that to be an au­to­matic, or­ganic thing.”

“I’d just like us to be more con­nected to the greater EA com­mu­nity.”

“Things that re­ally help to im­ple­ment would be to make sure that we can send more peo­ple to EA Global…that would be some­thing we’d give out like candy if pos­si­ble.”

In par­tic­u­lar, some or­ganisers found them­selves at a loss for where to di­rect their mem­bers in or­der to in­te­grate them more fully into the move­ment. Sev­eral ex­pressed dis­satis­fac­tion with ex­ist­ing chan­nels such as EA Face­book groups and the EA Fo­rum with re­spect to bridg­ing the gap be­tween sea­soned or pro­fes­sional EAs and new­com­ers.

“The EA Fo­rum doesn’t seem like some­thing that can be used at all by peo­ple who aren’t run­ning an EA org or re­search­ing full time or what­ever. It doesn’t seem like a ter­ribly nice plat­form to recom­mend peo­ple to go look at.”

Direct Action

A re­lated but dis­tinct con­cern from re­spon­dents was the need for di­rect ac­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties in or­der to im­prove mem­ber re­ten­tion. In some cases, EA groups ap­pear to thrive on dis­cus­sion alone. But in many cases, peo­ple need some­thing more tan­gible.

“Around the world there is a com­mon prob­lem, that af­ter peo­ple get in­volved in EA there’s not many things to do or keep them in­ter­ested…gen­er­ally I want to let peo­ple know that join­ing EA isn’t just about talk­ing, but ac­tu­ally get­ting in­volved in things and im­prov­ing your­self grad­u­ally.”

“Peo­ple will say ‘well great, this sounds like a good idea, but what is there to ac­tu­ally do?’ It’s just a small com­mu­nity of peo­ple that are in­ter­ested, and I think what’s tricky is that peo­ple don’t re­ally see what they get from join­ing. And it’s like ‘ok, great. I like this idea. I’ll read all the ma­te­ri­als, but why do I need to come?’ Kind of thing…”

“We’re get­ting bet­ter at spread­ing EA as in­for­ma­tion and mak­ing peo­ple in­ter­ested in it, but we get many mes­sages from peo­ple want­ing to be in­volved in the club and ac­tu­ally do stuff. But then, you know, the stuff we do is more host mee­tups, talk about stuff, get speak­ers, or we talk about dona­tions.”

“We got a lot of stu­dents and young pro­fes­sion­als who liked the ideas, but be­cause we don’t have any­thing con­crete for them to en­gage in this…I can’t just say ’Hey! Job op­por­tu­nity at ACE! Ap­ply for this!”

“We still look for ways of gen­er­at­ing ap­peal. I think the pri­ori­ti­za­tion pro­ject and in­fluence over a cer­tain num­ber of dol­lars was use­ful for that. But since we’re largely fo­cused around meet­ing weekly and talk­ing about philo­soph­i­cal is­sues it’s not always as pres­ti­gious as join­ing an­other so­ciety that po­ten­tially has more to offer.”

“There are peo­ple that want to talk about weird stuff and eth­i­cal para­doxes, and then there are peo­ple say­ing ‘lets do some­thing tan­gible as a group’. And so I’ve been try­ing to figure out how to make ev­ery­one happy…It would be cool to be in­volved in some­thing that ties us to the com­mu­nity and helps peo­ple stay in­vested.”

Over­all, dis­cus­sion and so­cial in­ter­ac­tion are of­ten in­suffi­cient to per­suade mem­bers to reg­u­larly en­gage and com­mit to an EA group. Or­ganisers on the look­out for group ac­tions that offer tan­gible im­pact, as op­posed to tra­di­tional main­stay group tar­gets like ca­reer changes or pledges. Re­spon­dents also felt that ac­tivi­ties need to offer goals which new EAs could not reach equally well by go­ing it alone if groups are to re­tain these in­di­vi­d­u­als.

Pro­duc­tivity and Accountability

In many cases where or­ganisers suc­ceed in at­tract­ing a core group of reg­u­lar at­ten­dees, they still strug­gle to find effec­tive strate­gies for mo­ti­vat­ing their mem­bers to ad­here to com­mit­ments and to take timely ac­tion on group goals. This is com­pounded by the fact that groups are or­ganised vol­un­tar­ily, which makes or­ganisers re­luc­tant to put pres­sure on their teams.

“Get­ting or­ganisers who have enough time. I do or­ganis­ing, but I’m re­ally busy. I want oth­ers to step up, but I don’t want to pres­surise them. Others don’t care as much as me. Some­times peo­ple offer but then bail, or don’t de­liver.”

“There’s a challenge of com­mit­ment. When we have ad­minis­tra­tive talks we’ll say ‘right let’s do x, y and z’ but then one week, two weeks later, noth­ing has been done… And some­thing else that’s im­por­tant is to have ac­countabil­ity part­ners, ac­countabil­ity checks. We have this kind of…ev­ery­body’s a vol­un­teer, so no­body takes a stand, you know? We talk and talk but the ac­tion gets blurry. Who does what and when?”

“It’s hard to say ‘alright, here’s the thing we need you to do. We won’t pay you for it, we just want you to do it in a spe­cific way…can you do that con­sis­tently for a semester and then train some­one else to do it?’”

“If me and, say, one other per­son were to go, I don’t think there would be a lot of willpower to re­ally push to get things done.”

“I think it’s not that hard to find peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in Effec­tive Altru­ism a lit­tle bit, but those who want to be re­ally in­volved, those are hard to find.”

“En­tropy, as I would call it, was one of the biggest challenges. There was re­ally a sig­nifi­cant cost to get­ting peo­ple to­gether and mak­ing them into a group. You know, an ac­tual group… an or­ganised group, a sort of quasi-or­ganised group. So when­ever I put these peo­ple to­gether to work on a task they would quickly dis­assem­ble, they would lose fo­cus, lose di­rec­tion. I would lose di­rec­tion my­self, I would have to change my goals. So man­ag­ing my­self and man­ag­ing the group, you know, with­out fi­nan­cial in­cen­tive, with­out the tra­di­tional ways of mak­ing peo­ple work to­gether—as in a com­pany or an ac­tual or­gani­sa­tion—that would be difficult.”

Not only do or­ganisers strug­gle in find­ing com­mit­ted mem­bers and so­lic­it­ing pro­duc­tive out­put, but many also found it challeng­ing to find time and mo­ti­va­tion for their own goals and am­bi­tions.

“I only hit a home run once, and it was when the coach yel­led at me and I felt it was un­just. So I had a lot of pas­sion. And if you’d be will­ing to pe­ri­od­i­cally say crit­i­cal things to me, like ‘[name]! You’re not do­ing good enough!’ that would be re­ally helpful.”

“Hav­ing con­sis­tent events at the same time and place would be helpful. I mean this is largely be­cause I’m a bit… I’m not the most con­scien­tious per­son, so I’ve just been do­ing events ev­ery few weeks.”

Across the board, or­ganisers men­tioned the challenges of bal­anc­ing group ad­minis­tra­tion alongside busy course loads and ca­reers.

Spe­cific Ser­vices and Resources

Writ­ten Guides and Resources

Re­spon­dents widely viewed writ­ten guides and re­sources to be highly valuable. Re­sources of this kind were of­ten marked out as es­pe­cially use­ful or valuable in helping or­ganisers get their groups started, and in re­duc­ing labour; par­tic­u­larly read­ing and dis­cus­sion plans and pre­sen­ta­tions. Re­spon­dents were en­thu­si­as­tic about any re­sources which pro­vided ad­di­tional ideas for group ac­tivi­ties, and for con­tent cre­ation ser­vices such as scripts to use for in­tro­duc­ing EA to out­siders, and for con­tent to share on so­cial me­dia. Un­sur­pris­ingly, the gen­eral EA Newslet­ter is val­ued by group or­ganisers for this rea­son.

“I’ve got­ten a lot of help via con­tent from or­gani­sa­tions. Any con­tent on EA and GiveWell, and you guys [LEAN] also. The EA Fo­rum is a great source of in­for­ma­tion. That has given me a lot of in­spira­tion for mee­tups and stuff… It was very helpful.”

“Nowa­days you can get ev­ery­thing, but two years ago a lot of stuff was not there. Now ev­ery­thing is much more or­ganised, I think. Two years ago we had to do ev­ery­thing our­selves. There weren’t ma­te­ri­als in Ger­man. I didn’t know all the pre­sen­ta­tions that were there.”

“I tried to put as much effort as pos­si­ble into the meet­ings, but when I have re­sources to make that eas­ier, that’s re­ally, re­ally helpful. So I think the meet­ings would have been a lot less pol­ished and more ca­sual with­out those re­sources, which is why I’m putting a lot of stock into those re­sources. I think I was able to get the core group re­ally ex­cited be­cause of hav­ing like the read­ing list, for ex­am­ple. Just hav­ing that and be­ing able to print that out…”

“One of the re­ally im­por­tant re­sources was the list of ar­ti­cles and things that Harri sent me that has been used for an EA cur­ricu­lum in the past. We’ve mod­ified that a lit­tle bit, but we’ve used that es­sen­tially to guide our dis­cus­sions.”

How­ever, this was also the area most fre­quently men­tioned in refer­ence to ways that group sup­port could be im­proved. In par­tic­u­lar, re­spon­dents felt that suffi­cient qual­ity re­sources were available, but that or­gani­sa­tion, co­or­di­na­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion un­der­mined the ac­cessibil­ity and use-value of these re­sources sub­stan­tially. Some re­spon­dents also ex­pressed con­cern re­gard­ing the con­fu­sion caused by the ex­is­tence of mul­ti­ple or­gani­sa­tions (e.g. TLYCS, LEAN, CEA, EAF, 80,000 Hours) in­volved in pro­vid­ing con­tent and sup­port.

“It’s re­ally bitty and con­fus­ing, which peo­ple can do what… One ob­vi­ous start­ing point would be: if some­one wants to start a group… I don’t know how easy that is, but there’s a bunch of things to read and peo­ple to talk to, and it’s re­ally con­fus­ing who’s go­ing to be do­ing what. Clar­ify­ing this for new or­ganisers… a tried and tested sim­ple path­way…”

“Too much du­pli­ca­tion… too much con­tent in differ­ent places.”

“It’s clear from talk­ing to [EA or­ganisers in the coun­try] that they would like a cen­tral point of con­tact that co­or­di­nates with all the re­sources that ex­ist in gen­eral.”

“I re­ally get con­fused with all the things that have popped up con­nected to lo­cal groups.”

“I [or­ganiser of a well known Univer­sity EA Group] get a lot of emails from groups that want to start up but are lost and don’t know what to do. And I know there are some re­sources on­line for how to start your group and what to do, but there seem to be is­sues with find­ing that in­for­ma­tion, and nav­i­gat­ing it, and mak­ing it use­ful. So I think in­for­ma­tional re­sources could be made more ac­cessible...”

“At the mo­ment, what’s con­fus­ing to peo­ple start­ing a group is that they don’t know whether to cor­re­spond with CEA, EAF or LEAN. And I think that gives the im­pres­sion that the com­mu­nity is not or­ganised. Or that it’s a lot of frac­tured groups rather than a co­her­ent… some­times peo­ple post say­ing “I want to start a group, what can I do?” and they get about ten differ­ent com­ments from differ­ent places, and I think it would be good to fo­cus on just one.”

In mid-2017, LEAN in­tro­duced a com­pre­hen­sive spread­sheet, list­ing all known on­line guides and re­sources with sup­port from CEA and EAF. Feed­back on this re­source map has been en­thu­si­as­ti­cally sup­port­ive, which re­in­forces the find­ing that im­proved pre­sen­ta­tion and or­gani­sa­tion is sought af­ter in this area.

“I think the most use­ful thing has been the re­source map. If I could think of some­thing that would be use­ful… it’s just there, which is re­ally nice! I posted it on the con­fer­ence event re­cently be­cause I was like “This is amaz­ing! Every­one needs to see it!”.”

“Whoah! This is great!”

It should be noted that, while the con­sen­sus stresses that bet­ter use of ex­ist­ing re­sources is a pri­or­ity, re­spon­dents were not against the pro­vi­sion of fresh ma­te­rial in the fu­ture.

In ad­di­tion, re­spon­dents had sev­eral recom­men­da­tions for new re­sources or im­prove­ments to ex­ist­ing ones. There was a lot of in­ter­est in tools that would en­able them to gauge im­pact. Ad­di­tional con­tent for use on so­cial me­dia was a re­cur­ring wish, as was the need for bet­ter sup­port in find­ing speak­ers and lo­ca­tions. Fi­nally, we re­ceived a recom­men­da­tion to cre­ate a map that en­ables or­ganisers to ex­plain to the gen­eral pub­lic how EA or­gani­sa­tions re­late to one an­other and to lo­cal groups, and a re­source that gives or­ganisers con­crete ex­am­ples of how differ­ent kinds of sup­port had been put to use by other groups.

“I’m also not sure if there is ba­sic text for a group? Like ba­sic text you can copy into a Face­book event and just slightly change. So ba­sic drafts…”

“To have, like, things to post on the gen­eral Face­book page be­cause in­spira­tion runs out af­ter a while of course. And some­times you see, like “Oh shit, there was this World Malaria Day, and it was yes­ter­day… I could have had a post about it.” But if some­one who is do­ing it pro­fes­sion­ally has like a cal­en­dar, and warns you about that in the fu­ture… Maybe you can post about that and sug­gest peo­ple do this, or what­ever… be­cause I no­tice that it ac­tu­ally works out re­ally well.”

“It would be cool to have some kind of slide or some­thing to show peo­ple the over­ar­ch­ing or­gani­sa­tions, who they’re in touch with, how they’re funded… which are recom­mended char­i­ties… which are char­ity nav­i­ga­tors etc. We could make one our­selves, but if one ex­isted already, that would be cool.”

“Some­thing like a list of all those things and then a link to ex­am­ples of how other clubs have used it.”

Fi­nally, in­ter­est was ex­pressed in the con­ver­sion of ex­ist­ing ma­te­ri­als into differ­ent for­mats, such as video or au­dio.

“Peo­ple have differ­ent prefer­ences for con­sum­ing in­for­ma­tion. So maybe if you took the stuff that’s been… like I re­ally love to read things but I know that some peo­ple love pod­casts and au­dio. I love video as well. I prob­a­bly like video bet­ter. So maybe you could re­fo­cus stuff that peo­ple re­ally en­joy into other mediums.”

Web­sites and Tech Support

In re­flect­ing on their ex­pe­rience of tech re­sources and sup­port, re­spon­dents referred to group web­sites, paid Meetup.com sub­scrip­tions and the EA Hub. We did not re­ceive any feed­back about the EA groups plat­form launched by CEA.


There is some va­ri­ety in re­spon­dents’ at­ti­tudes to­wards web­sites. A vo­cal minor­ity rated web­site pro­vi­sion highly helpful and im­pact­ful. Some re­spon­dents had not yet started us­ing a web­site and were keen to ar­range one in the fu­ture.

“We did have a sep­a­rate web­site, but it was ter­rible. I was like ‘Oh dear God…’; we were ex­tremely grate­ful. Su­per helpful! We could have done it our­selves but it would have been ugly and awful and gross.”

“The web­site I’d prob­a­bly rate as 9 or 10 (in terms of use­ful­ness). That thing is just such a great go to.”

“A few months ago I wanted to cre­ate a web­site and LEAN offered to help. In the end, I didn’t have time to do so, and now I’m won­der­ing if there’s some­thing that is already ready to set up, where I just have to put the text in.”

“We asked [LEAN] for a do­main and [LEAN] brought up a web­page for us, which was re­ally great. I think that a new group that is grow­ing—maybe not on the first day or first month of ac­tivity—at some point, all group should have web­sites, and if we can do that at a low cost then that’s great. We use that, and es­pe­cially the lit­tle stuff that is con­cerned, like email ali­ases so that I can send an email as some­one who is be­hind an or­gani­sa­tion, not just a Gmail ad­dress. And I think that re­ally does make an im­pres­sion—es­pe­cially for or­gani­sa­tions you might come into co­op­er­a­tion with.”

Among re­spon­dents who seemed luke­warm about their web­sites, most framed the prob­lem in terms of a lack of time or tech­ni­cal skill with which to cus­tomise their sites and ex­ploit them to the full.

“I guess it would be nice to re­vamp our web­site, which isn’t very high qual­ity. So one thing would be hav­ing a web de­vel­oper who could help us with that—that’s great. Emails would be good, and web­host­ing would be re­ally nice be­cause we don’t have any­one who main­tains our web­site ac­tively. So it’s very bare bones, and isn’t that nice right now.”

“I’ve been mean­ing to do a web­site, mailing list, post on so­cial me­dia etc. but I don’t have time.”

“A good web­site would be nice. We have a lot of knowl­edge I guess, but we’re not good at web­site. So yeh… the web­site is the biggest help.”

How­ever, one re­spon­dent was ex­plic­itly nega­tive about the value of web­sites for groups.

“I think many Univer­si­ties op­er­ate through mailing lists and the Univer­sity pages, and though the web­site… a few peo­ple have used it, I find we’re not mak­ing use of it. So they have been use­ful but I think you’d have diminish­ing re­turns if you in­vest in those be­cause I don’t find many groups us­ing them.”


Meetup.com is a so­cial me­dia plat­form tai­lored to event schedul­ing and group pro­mo­tion and man­age­ment. Group mem­bers can ac­cess the site and join groups for free, but cre­at­ing and ad­minis­ter­ing a group on Meetup.com re­quires a paid sub­scrip­tion. Cur­rently, LEAN cov­ers Meetup.com sub­scrip­tion for group or­ganisers on a case-by-case ba­sis.

A similar pat­tern was true of Meetup.com to that which emerged from the web­site feed­back. Namely, a minor­ity of or­ganisers find the plat­form enor­mously use­ful, while oth­ers find it mod­estly use­ful. We did not re­ceive any nega­tive feed­back about Meetup.com at in­ter­view. The ma­jor­ity of EA groups do not have a Meetup.com group.

“Given my goal, which is meet­ing other Effec­tive Altru­ists, I think Meetup.com has been pretty suc­cess­ful. Like we’ve got a very de­cent show­ing ev­ery week, and new peo­ple I didn’t know of be­fore. So that’s been good. Good but not amaz­ing.”

“The Meetup group I’d say is 4 out of 10 (in terms of use­ful­ness). We’ve at­tracted a cou­ple of peo­ple. I like the fact that peo­ple don’t have to have Face­book. It feels more in­clu­sive even if we don’t glean peo­ple from it, al­though we ac­tu­ally did.”

“...in Ger­many a lot of peo­ple don’t use Face­book, be­cause pri­vacy is some­thing peo­ple re­ally value here. So it’s sort of tricky to reach peo­ple who don’t have Face­book.”

As illus­trated in these ex­am­ples, there are con­crete cases of coun­ter­fac­tual mem­ber­ship gains as a re­sult of us­ing Meetup.com, in­clud­ing one group which is solely main­tained through Meetup.com. Or­ganisers also value the plat­form for en­abling them to reach in­di­vi­d­u­als who do not use Face­book.

The EA Hub

www.eahub.org is a web­site cre­ated by Re­think Char­ity (formerly known as .im­pact) as a com­mu­nity re­source. The EA Hub was ini­tially put to­gether us­ing sub­mis­sions from the first EA Sur­vey. The site offers a dona­tions reg­istry which en­courages EAs to pub­li­cly list dona­tions in or­der to mo­ti­vate oth­ers. It also offers a list of per­sonal EA pro­files where EAs share ba­sic per­sonal in­for­ma­tion such as preferred cause ar­eas, ca­reer plans, and so forth. LEAN has cre­ated pub­lic pro­files for EA Groups on the Hub since its’ in­cep­tion. The site offers a map of EAs and a map of EA groups de­signed to help peo­ple to ac­cess a quick vi­sual of nearby like-minded groups or in­di­vi­d­u­als. Fi­nally, LEAN uses the do­main @eahub.org to provide group or­ganisers with offi­cial email ali­ases in in­stances where a group does not have a web­site. (Where groups do have a web­site, we provide group-spe­cific do­mains which are then used for their email ali­ases).

While not many or­ganisers men­tioned the EA Hub, one or­ganiser found it to be in­stru­men­tally in­fluen­tial in the for­ma­tion of his ini­tial com­mit­tee. Another found the map use­ful, and the third felt that the Hub had once offered po­ten­tial, but had be­come out­dated and re­dun­dant over time.

“My EA Hub pro­file is how the first two [group mem­bers] found me.”

“I re­ally like the map [of EAs]. Look­ing at the map and see­ing where groups are is re­ally cool.”

“I re­ally like your efforts. I like the EA Hub!”

“The EA Hub was a great ini­ti­a­tive that sort of feels re­dun­dant now. It’s not re­ally work­ing, to be hon­est. It doesn’t meet peo­ple’s ex­pec­ta­tions of how soft­ware should work in 2017 - I’ve re­ceived that feed­back on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions. And some of the func­tion­al­ity is bro­ken.”

Con­nect­ing and Introducing

While there is no ex­plicit ser­vice for in­tro­duc­ing spe­cific or­ganisers to one an­other, LEAN has his­tor­i­cally helped many or­ganisers on a case-by-case ba­sis, in­tro­duc­ing them to other EAs with com­pat­i­ble needs or in­ter­ests, or similar lo­ca­tions [3]. Re­spon­dents raised this as an ex­am­ple of ex­ter­nal sup­port that was valuable and im­pact­ful.

“If it weren’t for LEAN and Re­think Char­ity, I would be even fur­ther be­hind when it comes to ac­tu­ally find­ing EAs on the ground in [Coun­try]. Peo­ple who self-iden­tify as EA in [Coun­try] are very, very rare. I can pick out less than ten right now… the peo­ple who self-iden­tify as Effec­tive Altru­ists, as far as I know of… that I’ve en­gaged with on a one-to-one ba­sis. I would be start­ing with noth­ing, ba­si­cally, if it weren’t for you guys. I think that’s some­thing, maybe hard to sys­tem­a­tise and pre­dict, but… those early in­tro­duc­tions that help you build crit­i­cal mass… you’ve been re­ally helpful with that.”

“Mak­ing sure that other group and pro­ject email ad­dresses are up to date is so helpful.”

“Ra­tion­al­ist groups are easy to find, but some­thing harder to search for is if there are EA cor­po­ra­tions or non-prof­its in [City]. I was sur­prised to learn that [EA Or­gani­sa­tion] was based here.”

“[LEAN] has been a great sup­port for me. Al­most from when we met there was a con­sis­tent line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and I would get a lot of ad­vice and he would always con­nect me to the right peo­ple, which re­ally worked out.”

“You know I hadn’t even thought of try­ing [to con­tact other or­ganisers], so af­ter this con­ver­sa­tion one of the things I’m definitely go­ing to do is just reach out to the guys in [a place LEAN recom­mended the or­ganiser con­tact] and see what ex­actly they’re do­ing re­gard­ing such a challeng­ing reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment.”

“’I had help from [LEAN] in the be­gin­ning when she con­nected me to some peo­ple… So far [she] has been su­per helpful, be­cause if I didn’t have [her] I wouldn’t have two mem­bers who are already in EA, and they’ve put a lot of work into it. So I guess that’s...very pre­cious stuff.”

One-to-One Support

This sec­tion refers to in­put and feed­back that or­ganisers re­ceive from LEAN and other or­gani­sa­tions. In the case of LEAN this in­volves per­sonal dis­cus­sion be­tween an or­ganiser and a mem­ber of the LEAN staff, but it may also in­volve par­ti­ci­pa­tion in the men­tor­ing pro­gramme.

Re­spon­dents who men­tioned hav­ing drawn on one-to-one sup­port found it use­ful. Fur­ther­more, al­though many re­spon­dents had not for­mally drawn on this sup­port from LEAN or any other EA or­gani­sa­tion, many men­tioned pos­i­tive in­ter­ac­tions with in­de­pen­dent EAs or other or­ganisers. Re­spon­dents were widely en­thu­si­as­tic about the value in con­tin­u­ing to make such op­por­tu­ni­ties available.

“I chat­ted with [LEAN] and, that was ac­tu­ally a re­ally good chat—I still have the notes from that—uh, this was still in the mode when I was the only real or­ganiser, and I just wasn’t able to act on a lot of that stuff be­cause I didn’t have the mo­ti­va­tion, I didn’t have the band­width to be like, to feel like I was the only per­son push­ing the group along.”

“More fre­quent con­ver­sa­tions and more net­work­ing would be highly helpful, like keep­ing in touch and find­ing out what other groups are do­ing, and pick­ing their brains… pick­ing their in­for­ma­tion. That would be very helpful, I think. So right now it doesn’t seem like I have any of that.”

Nev­er­the­less, some re­spon­dents hadn’t been aware that sup­port was on offer from LEAN, or they had started up be­fore it was available.

“The part that was the most frus­trat­ing was when we started we had noth­ing. Peo­ple only start offer­ing help af­ter the first year. But if we had peo­ple ad­vis­ing us as soon as we started, it would have cleared things a lot. So I re­ally think it’s very im­por­tant that as soon as you hear that an EA club any­where in the world has started. Like… very fast… run to them and offer sup­port. That was prob­a­bly the num­ber one thing. ’Cos things are so much eas­ier now, and they could have been at the start if we had that sup­port at the start…”

Other re­spon­dents felt that their needs were too spe­cific or unique for gen­eral sup­port to be helpful. For ex­am­ple, one or­ganiser was most in need of in­put from an Is­lamic re­li­gious ex­pert, while an­other stressed the sig­nifi­cance of cul­tural and lan­guage bar­ri­ers.

“A lot of these things is like…I men­tioned be­fore that there is this lan­guage bar­rier and cul­tural differ­ence. I think these are not an easy thing to get bridged.”

One or two or­ganisers men­tioned that they had con­sid­ered ask­ing for sup­port but had found them­selves too busy to get around to it.


The most fre­quently men­tioned need among or­ganisers was for im­proved fi­nan­cial sup­port. Fund­ing was also the cat­e­gory of ex­ter­nal sup­port that groups found most helpful when asked to re­flect on their de­vel­op­ment.

“I would say the hard­est part was, uh, not hav­ing con­stant fund­ing. We were pretty limited in what kind of events, or what have you, we’d be able to put up. I mean I sunk some­thing like $200 into like the ini­tial ad­ver­tis­ing of the club that was never made back. I don’t ex­pect it to ever be made back. But of course it wasn’t just me… ev­ery­one kind of helped con­tribute to it.”

“...he called the group to give me some money. So we de­cided to print some posters, some leaflets… to in­vest in Face­book ad­ver­tis­ing—as I re­mem­ber. And we got thirty peo­ple at­tend­ing. It was like… that was a nice push right there be­cause these guys were re­ally into Effec­tive Altru­ism. They were re­ally in­ter­ested, they knew what they came for. And out of those guys, I think two of those guys are still with us and are key peo­ple for the or­gani­sa­tion. Or even more…like three to five out of thirty. And that was three years ago!”

“Get­ting the Meetup group set up was helpful mainly from a mon­e­tary per­spec­tive, hon­estly. I per­son­ally don’t have much money so that was the main thing.”

Fund­ing is es­pe­cially cru­cial for groups that want to level up their op­er­a­tions, for ex­am­ple, tran­si­tion­ing from a lo­cal to a re­gional group, or trans­form­ing into a foun­da­tion or char­ity.

“How to have enough re­sources to fo­cus on this stuff. We are stu­dents, we work, we do all kinds of stuff, so how can we also do Effec­tive Altru­ism [Coun­try]? And this has been a huge challenge with re­gards to money, with re­gards to time, with re­gards to all kinds of re­sources.”

“If we re­ally want this club to shine, we will need some­one to work on it that isn’t also a stu­dent. I’m not sure ex­actly how this would work, or what bu­reau­cratic limi­ta­tions that per­son would have, but we need a more ded­i­cated team than we cur­rently have.”

“I no longer think of us as a lo­cal chap­ter be­cause we are be­com­ing an or­gani­sa­tion. And that makes it so that you need to, you know, grow… to meet the challenges that we are now fac­ing.”

“There are all these small NGOs that get money to go and talk in schools about re­cy­cling or racism, and all of these small or­gani­sa­tions found money for this to hap­pen, so it should be pos­si­ble for Effec­tive Altru­ism to do so.”

In most of these cases, the need for fi­nan­cial re­sources is con­nected to the need to hire paid, ded­i­cated staff in or­der to re­al­ise the op­por­tu­ni­ties and goals that groups have.


Another fre­quent challenge for or­ganisers lies in se­cur­ing ap­pro­pri­ate lo­ca­tions for reg­u­lar meet­ings. In some cities, the challenge lies in find­ing places that are con­ve­niently ac­cessible to mem­bers from differ­ent, far-flung lo­ca­tions. Others know of suit­able lo­ca­tions but can’t af­ford the book­ing fees, or have been strug­gling in crowded and noisy restau­rants, cafes or bars.

“What are good venues to do mee­tups? Here we have a prob­lem be­cause venues are bad some­how. Like we have to pay or some­thing else, you know?”

“Cur­rently we have a bit of a prob­lem with a place we’re do­ing the mee­tups be­cause we be­gan in a restau­rant, but it was too small. When it’s loud, you can’t re­ally talk. Espe­cially for so­cial mee­tups. Be­cause we don’t have stu­dent union mem­ber­ship, we can’t book a Univer­sity room. We have an­other room, but it’s quite ex­pen­sive.”

“The or­gani­sa­tion I’m at right now, they’ve helped us by just offer­ing workspace. We can or­ganise events here at cost price and have our meet­ings han­dled, and things like that.”

“The main challenges have been book­ing rooms and work­ing out what events we could run.”


Or­ganisers also fre­quently men­tion ac­cess to EA speak­ers as a sig­nifi­cant re­source. Either groups strug­gle to find speak­ers, or they are based in cities or Univer­si­ties with a good con­cen­tra­tion of speak­ers and re­flect on this as hav­ing been in­stru­men­tal in their suc­cess.

“Another thing I’d love to be able to do is find guest speak­ers from around the world and help pay for them to get here, so they could give guest lec­tures.”

“For the launch event we re­ally didn’t want to do it our­selves. We re­ally wanted an ex­ter­nal speaker who could at­tract a few more peo­ple be­cause if we just do it, it’s go­ing to be our friends there. And so we asked them (a re­gional EA or­gani­sa­tion) if any of them could come and give a talk and they said ‘no we don’t have any time in those months’.”

“I guess maybe for promi­nent EA speak­ers. Peo­ple like Peter Singer and who­ever.

“Also just know­ing which EAs are where. Like when EAs are vis­it­ing a city… I can imag­ine a re­ally awe­some EA com­ing to town and you just not know­ing about it.”

“Is there any in­for­ma­tion on what speak­ers are around in what ar­eas? It’s hard to keep tabs on cer­tain peo­ple, and if they’re com­ing through to [City] it would be good to say ‘Hey! While you’re here, come to our group!’”

Group Calls

A few or­ganisers men­tioned group calls as hav­ing been in­spiring and helpful. Some or­ganisers had par­ti­ci­pated in calls or­ganised by LEAN or CEA, while oth­ers had ar­ranged these calls in­de­pen­dently.

“In gen­eral I think that be­ing able to have Skype con­ver­sa­tions, and us­ing on­line tools has helped a lot. I can imag­ine that it mul­ti­plies.”

“I think it’s very valuable to know the broader EA land­scape. So I think that like… both CEA and LEAN—you’ve been co­op­er­at­ing on that. The talks, the phone calls or the Skype calls… they’re re­ally valuable. Just talk­ing to other peo­ple, that’s not easy to do just as a stand-alone EA group.”

“I haven’t had much di­rect con­tact. I would love to be ac­tive in any group calls if you share that with me.”

The rea­sons for valu­ing these calls were similar to those for valu­ing per­sonal con­nec­tion with the wider EA com­mu­nity. Although feed­back for the calls was mostly pos­i­tive, two or­ganisers men­tioned the fact that group calls had limited value for their needs given sig­nifi­cant differ­ences be­tween the op­por­tu­ni­ties and challenges they were fac­ing and those that the ma­jor­ity of call par­ti­ci­pants were dis­cussing.

“They were kind of use­ful but there were so many differ­ent kinds of groups. How to help your group at the stage it’s in? Some­times I’d have a chat and they were like “Oh we’re do­ing all these things” and I was like “We can’t do those things… we’re not a Univer­sity, we’re just lit­tle”...It was difficult.”

“I’m also aware that with a lot of groups… with stu­dent groups and younger peo­ple, less ex­pe­rienced… I un­der­stand that that’s a pri­or­ity. Um so no, I think it’s clear for us that ‘No, that’s not for us. That’s more for stu­dent groups, but that’s ok’.”


Hav­ing sum­marised all of the em­piri­cal data from our quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive re­search, the next, the penul­ti­mate re­port will syn­the­sise both sources in or­der to de­velop a thor­ough in­ter­pre­ta­tion of these find­ings and their sig­nifi­cance for the LEAN pro­ject, and for EA move­ment build­ing gen­er­ally.


This re­port was writ­ten by Richenda Herzig with ed­i­to­rial con­tri­bu­tions by David Moss and Tee Bar­nett. In­ter­view re­cruit­ment was over­seen by David Va­tousios. The in­ter­view sam­ple was di­vided evenly be­tween the in­ter­view­ers (Richenda Herzig and David Va­tousios). In­ter­view record­ings were tran­scribed by Richenda Herzig, David Va­tousios, Brooke Jack­son, Avi Iyer, Kaitlin Al­can­tara, Sharmin Tuli, Let­i­cia Pena and Ash­ley Fran­cis.

We are highly grate­ful to Greg Lewis for his in­put as an ex­ter­nal ad­vi­sor.

We’d like to offer our deep grat­i­tude to each EA or­ganiser that agreed to par­ti­ci­pate in the in­ter­views, both for the trust and gen­eros­ity in shar­ing your thoughts and ex­pe­riences, and the time sac­ri­ficed.


[1] The im­pact as­sess­ment util­ises a mixed method so­cial re­search strat­egy, in­clud­ing both quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive com­po­nents. In this re­port, we pre­sent tran­scribed in­ter­view data with de­scrip­tive com­men­tary only, leav­ing the full strate­gic anal­y­sis for a later ar­ti­cle. Re­port #4 will de­scribe our method­ol­ogy in full.

To briefly re­cap, we se­lected a large sam­ple of EA groups based on length of time run­ning, and a de­sire to in­clude a mix of differ­ent na­tion­al­ities, differ­ent group types (Univer­sity and lo­cal), and differ­ent af­fili­a­tions (e.g. groups mostly served by CEA, LEAN, EAF or TLYCS). Of this sam­ple, we in­ter­viewed each or­ganiser that was will­ing to par­ti­ci­pate, which whit­tled our se­lec­tion down to 31 or­ganisers (from around 70).

Our in­ter­views were con­ducted over Skype with the ex­cep­tion of one which took place face to face in Van­cou­ver. An au­dio record­ing of in­ter­views was taken on our mo­bile phones in the early stages. Even­tu­ally, we in­vested in com­mer­cial Skype record­ing soft­ware, which pro­duced full video record­ings. The first two in­ter­views were jointly con­ducted by David Va­tousios and Richenda Herzig for train­ing and cal­ibra­tion pur­poses. There­after the in­ter­views were loosely split be­tween each in­ter­viewer for con­ve­nience (in­ter­views took place across a range of differ­ent time zones, which meant that per­sonal schedul­ing de­ter­mined which in­ter­viewer was available for any given in­ter­view) and in or­der to im­prove our ob­jec­tivity.

Record­ings were tran­scribed by Richenda Herzig, David Va­tousios and a team of four re­mote LEAN vol­un­teers (who each signed non-dis­clo­sure agree­ments).

In sum­maris­ing find­ings from this dataset, we paid at­ten­tion to the fre­quency that a theme would be men­tioned by re­spon­dents, the weight­ing re­spon­dents gave to these themes as ex­pressed by length of time and vol­ume of de­tail used in dis­cussing the theme, as well as their ex­plicit eval­u­a­tive com­ments. Prag­matic and clar­ity con­sid­er­a­tions also af­fected which ex­tracts could be used. For ex­am­ple, there was con­sid­er­able over­lap in terms of the themes that would be cov­ered in data units as small as one or two sen­tences. This meant that the num­ber of quotes where an is­sue was clearly iso­lated was small. For less iso­lated quotes, much larger ex­tracts would have been nec­es­sary to in­clude in or­der to ren­der the ex­tract clear. Fi­nally, in­con­sis­tency in the qual­ity of tran­scrip­tion meant that some data could not be ap­pro­pri­ately for­mat­ted and in­cluded within our time frame.

[2] Each ex­am­ple in­cluded has been anonymised in or­der to pro­tect the pri­vacy of re­spon­dents and their groups. Where per­sonal iden­ti­fiers could not be re­moved, pseudonyms were used. Where changes were made to quotes, ei­ther for anonymity or for clar­ifi­ca­tion, square brack­ets were used.

[3] We as­sume the same is true of CEA and EAF.