Introduction to Effective Altruism

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

Charity Entrepreneurship is part of the Effective Altruism movement. If you’re going through our incubation program, it’s likely that your potential donors, employees, partner organizations, and other stakeholders come from the effective altruism community. While the basic premise of effective altruism seems simple, the set of ideas considered “common knowledge” among people heavily involved in effective altruism can be quite complicated. In some ways, we might conceptualize effective altruism as a field of study - it has a few frequently cited influential thinkers, a set of widely read canonical works, an internal jargon, and several diverging schools of thought. If you’re new to effective altruism, becoming well-versed in this contextual knowledge will help you communicate with other people in the movement more easily.

EA Hub’s About Effective Altruism page has a collection of videos, books, blog posts, podcasts, and online courses geared towards explaining the basic principles of effective altruism and persuading people of them. If you’re very unfamiliar with effective altruism, it’s a good place to dive in. Since you’re creating an organization, it’s especially important to be aware of organizations associated with effective altruism. If you understand the basics, keep up with current events by subscribing to some newsletters, podcasts, and Facebook groups. Wherever you’re reading this from, you should also consider connecting with a local group if there is one in your area. The EA Forum is a good place to engage in active dialogue with the community, and to post ideas for feedback. The 2018 and 2o19 EA surveys provide a good broad overview of the demographics, geographic distribution, and beliefs of the community, as well as other interesting facts about it. Finally, it’s worth knowing a little bit about the rationalist movement, which overlaps significantly with the effective altruism movement. Most of the core concepts can be found by reading The Sequences. If you’ve familiarized yourself with the ideas, culture, community, and major institutions within effective altruism and are looking to get more advanced, it can be useful to learn the history of the movement and relationships between organizations and how some of the underlying funding structures work. Some useful things to learn about include the history and relationships between GiveWell, Good Ventures, Open Philanthropy, Giving What We Can, Center for Effective Altruism (including Effective Altruism Funds), 80,000 hours, Rethink Charity, and Charity Entrepreneurship. Charity Entrepreneurship, like many other organizations affiliated with effective altruism, receives grants from Open Philanthropy and EA Funds as well as from individual donors.