Here's our update for September 2016. It was a great month for growth at CEA. In September, we got 106 new Giving What We Can members and 1,748 new EA Newsletter signups; in both cases that’s nearly double the previous three month average. 

If anyone has questions, comment below and I'll check in in a couple of days to respond.




New members per month over the last year.

The final spike on the right is the 106 new members in September. This is the highest number of pledges in any month outside of giving season (the highest ever is 129 in December 2014).



(The dip after September 2016 is because we’ve yet to have the full month of October).

New newsletter subscribers by month

Growth in number of newsletter subscribers has also been strong; it’s been the best month ever.

Inline images 1

Community and Outreach Division

Online Marketing

This month we’ve been experimenting with multiple strategies designed to get Giving What We Can Pledges and signups for the EA Newsletter. This has been very successful and as a result we’re considering focusing more on Facebook promotion, email follow up to people considering the pledge, and Twitter promotion. The top three last click conversion sources for pledges were 80,000 Hours, Facebook and


Community, Chapters and Events

We’ve begun planning EA Global 2017 and we’ll be opening applications for EAGx 2017 shortly. We’ve also launched a new high-touch chapters program, providing more in-depth support to a pilot group of student chapters. Chapter leaders interested in knowing more should contact Julia has been working on developing strategies designed to foster cooperative and friendly behaviour in the EA community.


Networking and Media

We met with several major philanthropists to advise them on their giving, including Sir Tom Hunter, Scotland’s first billionaire, who is donating almost all his wealth to projects in Rwanda and Scotland.


Will discussed effective altruism on Sam Harris’s podcast, which so far as been listened to over 350,000 times. He also appeared in Swedish national media.


Y Combinator

We applied to Y Combinator, the leading startup incubator, based in Silicon Valley, which has produced the likes of AirBnB, Dropbox and Reddit. 80,000 Hours went through the program in summer of 2015 and found it exceptionally useful in improving the focus of the organisation and helping the organisation grow, and we’re hoping it will help us in the same way. On the 28th October we’ll hear about whether we’ve got an interview, which would take place in early November. We think that our chances are about 50/50.

Special Projects Division


Philanthropic Advising

The philanthropic advising team has focused on exploring new funding opportunities, including in mental health, tobacco regulation, and research funding.



Sebastian Farquhar has put the finishing touches on a forthcoming report on the international community’s possible responses to existential risk in Helsinki for the Finnish Government, and with Toby Ord, has been advising UK government officials on a variety of areas.



The research team have begun working through the list of high-priority projects they had compiled and are working on a new research webpage, which we hope to unveil by the end of the year.


EA Institute

We submitted our first grant proposal, to the John Templeton Foundation, in collaboration with the University of York and the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at St Andrews.






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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 10:34 PM

What does Giving What We Can spend its time on? I realized that I am unable to answer this question even loosely, which is unusual. The Our Team page ( helps, but parts are still unclear. More generally, I'm not sure what activities GWWC does that cause more GWWC pledges, which is what it bases its impact on.

What percentage of GWWC pledges do you think were caused by GWWC (or CEA as a whole)? I'm particularly interested in measurements that don't rely on self-reports. So far, I've only seen statistics about self-reports by people who took the pledge, which were used to get a 60:1 multiplier.

Hi Rohin, great question! Since Giving What We Can outreach is now managed by the wider Community and Outreach team at CEA it might make sense to speak in terms of our team as a whole.

Based on the figures we have, it seems reasonable that CEA activities were at least partially responsible for something like 70% of new pledges in September. We experimented with a number of new strategies to get additional pledges in September, including optimising our email and social media campaigns and running a Facebook retargeting campaign. We also tried to reduce the amount of time between following up with people who had expressed some interest in the pledge, either at 80,000 Hours workshops, EA Global or through engagement with websites we run ( etc).

More specifically, we looked at our Google Analytics to see how members are reaching the join page on the GWWC site. Out of the 106 who joined in September, 15 came from Facebook, both through our posts and through ads we ran. 12 came from the new site, 3 of whom arrived after viewing the cause prioritisation flowchart (originally created by GPP). 11 were directed from emails; these were mostly people we followed up with who had previously started filling out signup forms but hadn’t completed them. 6 were directed from an article on giving and happiness which was written several years ago by a former staff member, Andreas Mogensen, for the GWWC blog. In terms of the wider CEA, 17 came from, 9 from (which is currently the Doing Good Better book website), and 4 from Sam Harris’s podcast where he interviewed Will MacAskill.


Side note, is there an easy way to get push notifications, perhaps through email, when there's a reply to a comment or post you wrote?

We have adding this as a potential future project for EA forum development. See

is there an easy way to get push notifications, perhaps through email, when there's a reply to a comment or post you wrote?

There's an rss feed [1] and there are rss-to-email services [2]


[2] a quick search turns up

I just realized: there's no way that rss feed can work, because it needs to be authenticated with your cookies. Sorry!

Okay, that makes sense. I ran into that issue fairly quickly and thought there might be a workaround but tabled that to look at later.

Congratulations to all concerned. As a member of the EA community in West Yorkshire I am really pleased to see the collaboration with the University of York. I hope the bid to the John Templeton Foundation is successful.

If GWWC will continue on as an internal brand within the Community & Outreach Division, how open is CEA in taking donations earmarked for GWWC instead of general operations funding? I ask because some donors may evaluate GWWC as substantially more impactful than CEA's other activities.

My current plan is that to a first approximation we won't accept restricted donations, including to GWWC. (It's a fiction that truly restricted donations are possible, anyway). But we will give donors the chance to express their preferences about how the money is to be used, which we'll consider in the aggregate when making strategic decisions. If donors think we're making major mistakes in allocation of resources between different activities, I'd love to see that written up, it would be very helpful to us.

I'm confused about the ongoing status of GPP. Has GPP been fully folded under the "Special Projects Division", or is that happening in the near future? Also, my impression was Special Projects would fill the role of GPP and GWWC's original research. Is that the case? Also, will Owen and Seb be continuing on with Special Projects and its work, or focusing on FHI's research priorities?

GPP has fully folded under Special Projects. GPP had two tracks: policy research and outreach, and fundamental EA theory. These now have their own distinct teams under the special project division. The third team is philanthropic advising, which was previously under GWWC. Owen and Seb are continuing with Special Projects.

I think this is wise given the complexity of GPP's core research agenda, but I really like the branding and identity of the project and the prominence it gives to research effectiveness as a critically important idea. I see it as being potentially analogous to what the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft does for innovation in Germany in that it could turn a vague concept into a strategic process.