Published 20th September 2019
- Guidance from the Center for Effective Altruism (CEA)
- Groups Newsletter
- Register Your Group
- Get an Email Address and Cloud Storage for Your Group
- Set up Social Media and an Email List
- Connect with Other Group Organisers
- Register with Your University and Utilise Available Resources
- Find Resources
- Optional: Get a Website and an EA Email Address
- Optional: Apply for funding
Guidance from the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA)
Once you have decided you want to start a group, contact the groups team at CEA. They are happy to schedule calls with aspiring group organisers to share advice and point them towards resources. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are the best people to talk to for general group advice.
You can also check out the Groups Support Page for other people to contact if you need support for particular topics such as running introductory presentations, issues within the group, or running fellowships.
Register Your Group
Register your group on the Effective Altruism Hub website. The EA Hub hosts the official list of EA groups.
Get an Email Address and Cloud Storage for Your Group
To ensure your current or future co-organisers can access emails and files for your group, it is very useful to have a group email address and a place to store files. Some uni groups can be given an official university email, but most groups choose to create a group gmail account which includes a Google drive. It is also possible to get a more official-looking email address.
Make sure this email gets checked regularly—if it is more convenient for you, it is usually possible to funnel mail sent to multiple email addresses through to a single inbox. For instance, use these instructions to get your emails to go to a single gmail account.
Set up Social Media and an Email List
EA groups usually use Facebook as their main social media platform, so it is important to create a Facebook group or page for your group. Modifiable cover images and ideas you could use are here.
Both groups and pages can host events. Facebook “groups” allow any members to post, so a Facebook group might be good for small groups that would like to have group discussions on the Facebook page. The downside of Facebook groups is that you might have to moderate discussions to ensure they are on topic and appropriate.
On Facebook “pages”, all posts come from the page (e.g. Effective Altruism group name) and can only be made by page admins. This can make your posts look more professional, and it is more convenient if you aren’t prioritizing Facebook discussions. Some groups choose to have both; for instance, Effective Altruism Israel has both a page and a group. You can read more information about the capabilities of Facebook groups and pages.
Some groups choose to create a meetup.com account, although it does cost money. Some groups have found Meetup useful for attracting new members and keeping members who aren’t on Facebook apprised of events, but other groups have not found it useful. EA London stopped using Meetup.com as it seemed the platform is used mostly by people looking for new hobbies and/or friends, rather than to decide they want to make a large impact with their lives.
Set up an email list to ensure your group is inclusive of people who aren’t on Facebook. If your group is a uni group, your university might have a platform for this. Many groups use Mailchimp, which is free for up to 2000 contacts, and has options for organising your group into lists and has features to help users subscribe and unsubscribe.
More information about using social media, Meetup, and mailing lists effectively will be coming soon.
Connect with Other Group Organisers
Talking to people that have done this before can be super helpful for finding answers, reassurance, and tips you may not have come across yet.
The EA Group Organizers Facebook group is a great place to ask questions. There is also an EA Groups Slack workspace, where you can share resources and ask questions. Ask the CEA Groups Team, or a fellow EA group organiser to invite you to the workspace.
More seasoned organisers are often excited to learn about new groups and happy to provide mentoring even if you haven’t met before.
Here are some ways to find other groups to ask if they’d be willing to give you a hand:
- Search on the EA Hub
- Search for “[nearby city or university] Effective Altruism” on Facebook
If you are running a uni group, it’s also a good idea to talk to some organisers of other clubs at your university. They might be able to give you a sense of how to navigate policies, publicise events, and tailor general club-running advice to your university in particular.
Register with Your University and Utilise Available Resources
Each university has different requirements around groups. Read our guide to registering as an official group and how to use the university’s resources.
Optional: Get a Website and an EA Email Address
LEAN can host and help create a website for your group.
LEAN can register a domain for your group (e.g. eamadison.org) and you can use LEAN’s website generator to make a nearly complete website, which you can modify. Check out EA Madison’s site for an example of how the website could look:
LEAN can also provide email addresses for your group (e.g. email@example.com), which can be forwarded to another email address if you wish.
Contact the LEAN team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in getting websites or email addresses.
Optional: Apply for Funding
If your group is a registered uni group, you can apply for funding through your Student Association. For funding city groups, or if your uni group needs additional funding, you can apply to CEA. Group funding can be used for printing, running events, supplying food at events, travel expenses for speakers, and group projects. CEA also funds Community Building Grants to allow some people to work part or full time on effective altruism community building.
Now, fill out the forms, contact the right people, and get started!
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