Tips for recruiting and managing new group members

A collection of thoughts on how to recruit new members, and how to ensure they’re valued members of your effective altruism group.

Where to find new members

  • For university groups, look in relevant academic departments. For instance, departments of philosophy, international development, sciences, and politics are all good bets. Ask departmental managers to send an email round the department letting everyone know about the group and encouraging people to get in contact. Keep in mind that of course people have interests outside their department, so don’t let this be the only way to find new members.
  • Encourage people to socialise after events. Have some snacks and/or drinks ready to entice people to stay. Make sure that members of the group actually approach new people afterwards, and don’t just chat to others in the group. This is a great opportunity to be extremely welcoming.
  • Try to be as welcoming as possible. Everyone should be made to feel as comfortable in the group as possible. Try to put yourself in others’ shoes: for instance think about if an all-male group speaking at an EA meeting might be off-putting or isolating to women.
  • Reach out to other groups: possibilities are charity societies, philosophy societies; human rights, animal welfare or feminist societies. This helps get new people involved, and will reach out to a slightly different crowd from your usual audience. You can reach out in various ways:
  • Run events with the other societies
  • If you have friends in the other groups, then you can also just make a casual inquiry to see if they know anyone in the group who would be interested in being involved in the EA group.
  • Reaching out to close friends and family works surprisingly often.
  • For smaller groups, a very simple step is posting a facebook status about Effective Altruism, and asking if anyone wants to join the group.
  • If your group has a group (and LEAN will fund one if you don’t - see here for details), then new members may stumble across the group over time.
  • A step that doesn’t require much physical organisation but requires a bit of time, is to write an article and post it in a local newspaper. Have a sentence at the end that directs any feedback to you. You can adapt lots of resources in the Effective Altruism Handbook.

How to manage new members

  • If you have new members who want to help out with managing the group, that’s great! Make sure to keep in contact with them - invite them to go for lunch or a coffee, or if you don’t have time for that, why not send a quick email to check in? It can really help to solidify relationships.
  • Give your new members something to do, whether that’s organising a meetup, or making posters or drafting email. This shows that you value their input.
  • Recognise that everyone in the group wants to help make the world a better place, and be considerate that you’re lucky to have people volunteering their time to help you out with organising the group. Don’t take the members in your group for granted.
  • Be aware that people are busy, whether with work, studying, or personal matters. Don’t assume that people will have time to help out, but ask.
  • Set clear deadlines. If someone agrees that they can help out, then set a clear deadline by which they must have their contribution finished by. For bonus points, make this deadline publicly visible, for example by pointing it out in a committee meeting.
  • Don’t assume that because you’ve assigned a task to someone, they will do it. Remind yourself to check up on them at first. Software such as boomerang can help you do this.
  • Consider having social events after meetings with the organisers of the group, so that you can all get to know each other on a more personal level. Being friends will help the whole group gel together much more.