Should you organise your own introductory EA program or outsource it to EA Virtual Programs?

post by Yi-Yang (yiyang) · 2021-08-12T10:20:25.422Z · EA · GW · 2 comments

Contents

  The two types of introductory EA programs
  Your options
    Option 1: Run Your Own Program
    Option 2: Collaborate with an Experienced Organiser
    Option 3: Collaborate with EA VP
      If you’d like to collaborate with EA VP: 
    Option 4: Outsource Most of the Work to EA VP
      If you’d like to outsource everything to EA VP: 
None
2 comments

This forum post was co-authored by Emma Abele, Marie Buhl, and Marissa Jurczyk. We also received editing help from Aaron Gertler.

Edit: added a new step under option 3 and 4.

TL;DR we think organising your own local introductory EA program is in many cases likely to be more beneficial than outsourcing it to EA Virtual Programs (EA VP). 

However, there are many factors to consider and options to choose from when it comes to helping new members learn more about EA. In this post, we’ll break these options down for you. 

The two types of introductory EA programs

In general, there are two types of introductory EA programs that you can offer to people:

As a local organiser, you might be wondering whether to organise a program for your local group or send people to EA VP. 

In general, we recommend that EA organisers organise their own program rather than outsource, if:

For groups that can’t run an in-person program and don’t have much organising experience, we’re more uncertain — but we still think running a local program could well be the best thing to do.

In an analysis done by Marie Buhl, she found that locally organised introductory EA programs perform slightly better than EA VP on several metrics:

In these other metrics, local programs and EA VP performed similarly:

All programs in this analysis were online. We think there are likely additional benefits to programs being in-person that would make local programs look even better compared to EA VP.

Your options

If you think your group could benefit from an introductory program, there are a few options for facilitating them, depending on how much time you have, your skills, and your goals for yourselves and the group: 

Option 1: Run Your Own Program

You have the option to manage, advertise, and facilitate your own program. You can use our organizer pack to follow how we recommend doing this and use our resources. We recommend you run your own program, if…

Again, if you think you’d be well-suited to run your own program, we highly recommend that you do so, since you can better customize the program for your group and will likely produce better results.

Interested in running your own program? Contact Marie Davidsen Buhl (marie@centreforeffectivealtruism.org) for resources and support. 

Option 2: Collaborate with an Experienced Organiser

When you collaborate virtually with an experienced organiser, we’ll connect you with someone who has facilitation skills and a strong understanding of effective altruism, who can advise your group and potentially take on some tasks. Collaborating virtually with an experienced organiser can be a good option if…

Want to collaborate with an experienced organiser? Contact a nearby EA group with more experience, or contact Marie Davidsen Buhl (marie@centreforeffectivealtruism.org) to see if she can help you connect with an organiser. 

Option 3: Collaborate with EA VP

The EA VP team can take care of organizing the logistics -- all you need to do is facilitate your own group and market the program! We recommend this option if…

Unfortunately, EA VP does not have the capacity to change our systems to accommodate preferences for your group. So you will have to use our deadlines, processes, curriculum, surveys, etc. 

If you’d like to collaborate with EA VP: 

  1. Plan 1-2 months early. We need you to stick to our deadlines. It'll be a lot of work to make exemptions to multiple groups at the same time, so we want to avoid that. 
  2. Market the program to your group and get them to apply [? · GW].
  3. EA VP runs virtual programs once a month, so make sure you get your group to:
    1. Sign up for the same round and program before each round’s deadline.
    2. Tick “yes” to questions asking whether participants prefer to be in the same cohort with those in the same university or location.
    3. Coordinate with your members If you want your groups to all have the same time slots. We can’t group your members in a cohort if they have no mutual time slots.
  4. Apply as a facilitator, and get your fellow organizers to apply as facilitators EA VP prefers to keep the cohorts to a size smaller than six participants. So, if you have seven participants, you’ll need two facilitators from your group. If your group doesn’t have enough people to facilitate, then EA VP will find people outside your group to help.

Option 4: Outsource Most of the Work to EA VP

Alternatively, EA VP runs virtual programs once per month, so you have the option to have your group members join one of our cohorts. This is often a good option if...

If you’d like to outsource everything to EA VP: 

  1. Plan 1-2 months early. We need you to stick to our deadlines. It'll be a lot of work to make exemptions to multiple groups at the same time, so we want to avoid that. 
  2. Market the program to your group and get them to apply [? · GW].
  3. EA VP runs virtual programs once a month, so make sure you get your group to:
    1. Sign up for the same round and program before each round’s deadline.
    2. Tick “yes” to questions asking whether participants prefer to be in the same cohort with those in the same university or location.
    3. Coordinate with your members If you want your groups to all have the same time slots. We can’t group your members in a cohort if they have no mutual time slots.
       

2 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by mic (michaelchen) · 2022-02-06T20:33:17.113Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think you could only have 1 or 2 participants and still have a "critical mass of participants". Stanford EA only has two participants in each of their cohorts, and there's reason to think that these ultra-small cohort sizes can help participants become more engaged.

Replies from: yiyang
comment by Yi-Yang (yiyang) · 2022-02-09T11:03:23.165Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Small cohort size seems costly from a facilitator's point of view. And some participants found smaller group sizes more intimidating too.

EA VP has been increasing their cohort sizes recently. Attrition rates are at around 30% so having a cohort size of at least 4 participants by the end of program seems like a good number to have.  

I'm curious what the attrition rates are for the Stanford EA format, and how they're able to get so many facilitators.