An overview of HEA’s best tactics for advertising to new members and tips for taking full advantage of them, from email list to Giving Games.
The event we ran that really got our membership going was what we called the “philanthropy fellowship.” Although the content was specific to HEA’s mission, I think the idea and lessons generalize to any kind of student group.
Another thing that made running Harvard Effective Altruism way easier was the amount of support we received from “outsiders”—faculty or even friends of ours who were already out of college. These folks have done tons of helpful stuff for us, and I think most student groups can find similarly helpful allies if they look.
“After spending one too many afternoons on tenterhooks waiting for the room reservation office to email me back, I finally cracked under the stress. For once I had actually paid attention to the booking deadlines and reserved our room a week in advance—but they still hadn’t confirmed two days beforehand. Come hell or high water, I decided, I was going to get my room reserved tonight. I put on my best starving-frantic-student-in-need face, thought up my best excuses, and marched over to the Science Center to demand satisfaction.”
If there’s one thing that I’m proud of about my tenure running HEA, it’s our programming. Last year we had over 10 speakers come to give talks to HEA, including Peter Singer, Jaan Tallinn, and many other extremely popular and busy people. We also raised thousands of dollars to cover honoraria from these speakers. How?
Another important part of running a student group: don’t be embarrassed when pitching it to other people. And never acknowledge that you’re weird.
In which I elaborate on the single most important reason that Harvard Effective Altruism didn’t die.
During my last two years at Harvard, I co-ran Harvard Effective Altruism, bringing it from a membership of one to an organizational board of ten students and scores more who routinely attended our talks. In the hope that some of these tips will help other students start groups of their own, I’ll share the lessons I learned in a series of posts!
So your friends have been bugging you about this thing called “effective altruism” and you finally decided you want to learn more. Unfortunately, like everyone else on the planet, you don’t have the time to wade through a bunch of poorly-organized blog posts to figure out what’s actually going on.
You’re in luck! Now you only have to wade through one well-organized blog post with links to all the other poorly-organized blog posts!
I have an interview by the excellent Pablo Stafforini that just went online at the EA blog! We talked about my EA origin story, pretending to try, EA’s blind spots, and planning for the future. Head over and give it a read!