Local Group Support Overview: CEA, EAF and LEAN

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As the Effective Altruism community has grown, efforts have emerged to promote and support the growth of EA groups in universities and cities around the world. Presently there are three organisations supporting EA groups on a large scale. This article outlines the background of each organisation, and clarifies the functional role and division of labour between them. We hope that the post will give the wider EA community a better understanding of the EA Group Support landscape Outreach space, while helping people involved in organising EA groups to identify the best ways to get assistance in different contexts.


Key Facts:

  • Click here to see our online resources combined in one place

  • All groups can approach CEA, LEAN and EAF to inquire about support

  • Some of EAF’s resources and events are only conveniently accessed by German speakers living in the region.

Joint Support

The following are jointly provided by CEA, LEAN and EAF:


  • The EA Organisers’ Facebook group

  • The Local EA Groups newsletter, aimed at supporting organisers and sharing relevant news and opportunities. New groups are automatically added, but email groupnewsletter@eahub.org if you think you have been left off of the mailing list

  • The annual Local EA Groups Survey. This year’s survey contains sections for both group members and organisers. Click to participate!


CEA: Local Groups Support

The Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) is non-profit organisation which helps to grow and maintain the effective altruism community. Their mission is to create a global community of people who have made helping others a core part of their lives, and who use evidence and scientific reasoning to figure out how to do so as effectively as possible.

Before the Centre for Effective Altruism merger, Giving What We Can and EA Build (as a part of EA Outreach) supported local groups independently. CEA has since centralised both EA Outreach and Giving What We Can into one organisation at CEA. This also meant they centralised their support to local EA groups, which is currently provided by CEA’s Local Groups Coordinator - Harri Besceli. There is a small minority of EA groups which brand themselves as GWWC and 80,000 Hours groups, however these are supported by CEA in the same way as other EA-branded groups.


CEA Local Groups Support currently includes 1-1 mentoring, funding for EA Groups and resources and materials collected in the Effective Altruism Groups’ Google Drive Folder.


The support offered is currently being reviewed and updated. A new funding process, opportunities for receiving mentoring, suggested projects for EA groups and an EA Groups page on effectivealtruism.org will be announced by the end of August.


You can contact CEA's Local Groups Coordinator at harri.besceli@centreforeffectivealtruism.org


Effective Altruism Foundation: Outreach

The Effective Altruism Foundation (EAF, Stiftung für Effektiven Altruismus) is an effective altruist project incubator founded in Switzerland in 2013. It supports local groups in the German-speaking area (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) in the following ways:


  • German resources, e.g. local group guide, leaflets, presentation slides, event flyer templates, and more

  • Speakers for EA introduction talks

  • Support for group organizers through a facebook group, personal advice, and 1-2 in-person local group meetups per year

  • A list of all groups and events in the German-speaking area


In addition, EAF supports the German-speaking EA movement with a German EA landing page, PR and media relations, social media, tax-deductible donation regranting to all EA charities, EAGx conferences, and a German EA newsletter.


You can contact EAF’s Local Groups Coordinator at marcello.veronese@ea-stiftung.org.


LEAN: The Local Effective Altruism Network

LEAN is a Rethink Charity project, originally set up by Tom Ash in 2014. LEAN’s objective is to promote Effective Altruism globally through the initiation of local EA groups, and the support of existing EA groups. Our outreach strategy has involved starting new EA presences by getting in touch with registered EAs in locations with no known EA representation. LEAN also assumed responsibility for an older, existing network of EA groups previously served by the now-defunct THINK project. Since its inception, LEAN has directly initiated or facilitated over 200 groups and presences around the world. LEAN supports local groups by providing:


  • Public profiles for Google searches, and visibility on the Map of EAs

  • Free websites, EA email addresses and Meetup.com use

  • Conference calls, bringing organisers together for knowledge transfer

  • Guides, ‘How-To’s and the EA Wiki

  • One-to-one feedback and support

  • Regular fundraisers (such as Living on Less) for groups to participate in

In addition to these services, LEAN has recently launched a Mentoring Programme in concert with CEA. LEAN will continue to build on its expertise for group management strategy, and use this to publish further guides and resources for organisers.

You can contact LEAN’s Manager at: richenda@eahub.org

Comments (4)

Comment author: rhys_lindmark 18 August 2017 04:01:06PM 1 point [-]

Thanks for aggregating this information, Richenda! One quick bucket of thoughts around EA groups + universities:

  1. How are LEAN/CEA/EAF thinking about university chapters? Have they been an effective way of building a local community? Are there any university-focused plans going forwards?
  2. Are there other movements trying a university-focused strategy? Could we partner/learn from them? I'm thinking about something like Blockchain Education Network (see https://blockchainedu.org/ and https://medium.com/@rishipr/fa2543cdcbd8).

Thanks Richenda!

Comment author: Richenda  (EA Profile) 23 August 2017 05:33:18PM 1 point [-]

Hi Rhys,

Yes, Universities are especially good environments in which to start EA groups for a number of reasons (lots of young people with plenty of free time who are actively reaching for new ideas, experiences and activities, a lot of infrastructural support from institutions, student unions, a captive audience, etc.)

We are very mindful of the differences between local groups and University groups. Internally we work on building expertise about these differences, and customising the support and advice we give based on the nature of the group in question.

We have also drawn on the expertise of other successful student based movements. For example, the Secular Student Alliance has some excellent group growth and management guides which we pass on for recommended reading (while giving full credit, of course).

Comment author: rhys_lindmark 24 August 2017 03:20:51PM 0 points [-]

Awesome. Thanks Richenda—I'm looking into Secular Student Alliance now!

Comment author: maxbale 23 August 2017 12:51:37PM 1 point [-]