Our Strategy

Last edited: April 29 2020

Mission & Scope

We help Effective Altruism (EA) community builders improve the quality of advice and support they can give to members who are in career transitions. Currently, we focus on non-US/UK community builders. Our ultimate goal is to improve successful EA-influenced career transitions.

EA Community Builders: Community builders who focus on building local, national, cause and career communities. They are often directly helping members of the EA community transition into high impact career pathways. Community builders are in the best position to help their members directly because they have geographical, cultural, cause and/or career interests that overlap with their members. However, they may often lack knowledge of best career advice practices, cause areas and connections.

  • We will not run activities directly ourselves. If you are running an event, please read this.

Career Transition: A career transition is the stage in an EA journey which begins when an individual decides to change their career, and ends with the successful completion of their career change. During this time, an individual decides on which causes and roles are best suited for them, through discussions and opportunities to test personal fit, such as volunteering, internships, and applying to full-time positions or for funding. An individual may go through multiple career transitions.

  • Currently, we aren’t prioritising the other stages of an EA journey: Discovery, Learning, Engagement & Long-term Engagement stages (see below).

Non-US/UK Focus: Career advice in non-US/UK countries have historically been neglected in EA, and we think there are a lot of promising opportunities to make progress in this space. We are happy to offer our services to community builders in these regions, but won’t be dedicating effort to issues unique to the US or UK.

Local Career Advice: Career advice that is tailored for a person’s local context, constraints and opportunities.

The following activities we have done in the past, and may continue to do in the future, but think there should be more people working on these. We also have open questions that we think would be valuable to answer:

  • Foundational research
    • LCAN has done research into career transitions and movement-wide career advice bottlenecks, which we consider to be foundational to enter this space.
    • Things we have not studied: cause-area specific challenges, value drift and related topics, whether existing general careers advice is accurate or not, and more.
    • We are and will continue to offer support for those doing foundational careers advice research in this space. We encourage anyone interested in doing such research to reach out, especially if they are concerned about duplication of work.


We believe the best way for LCAN to be structured is on a project by project basis, rather than having a consistent structure, given that it is a new and volunteer-run group. Therefore, it is more useful to look at our active projects for a sense of what we are currently doing.


This is an unordered list of services. The exact services will vary depending on the projects LCAN is working on.

  • 1-1 support
    • Research Advising
    • Connections
  • Knowledge Sharing
    • Group Organiser Resources
    • Knowledge Sharing Programs (could include group calls, events, fellowships)
    • Identifying knowledge/resource gaps and doing research on career advice strategies
      • For example, identifying the need for a methodology on local careers research and coordinating a working group of organisers to develop one.

Theory of Change

We first looked at how group organisers’ could positively shape the career trajectory of their members at each stage of the typical EA journey that ends in a career transition. We then looked at survey data to evaluate the biggest bottlenecks during this journey.

The following diagram is a rough draft


Diagram Notes

  • I see the “change in organisers’ actions” as more of a metrics tool to help understand how we would measure changes on the organiser side. However, the services would probably focus on the “change in career advice landscape” more directly.
  • For example, to improve career 1-1s we might do “knowledge sharing” activities like a career 1-1 tutorial or bootcamp -> organisers providing careers advice where they previously couldn’t -> “better guidance” and “speeding up career transitions”.
  • I haven’t drawn lines between services and change in organiser’s actions because I didn’t want to overcomplicate the graph, since they all overlap. The final version will have these lines.
  • Line thickness from LCAN services to specific services is the expected time spent on each service. Line thickness in the rest of the diagram is how strongly we think an action will lead to an outcome (following ACE’s model).
  • Green indicates things we are actively doing, blue indicates things we think are important but aren’t.

Foundational Research

When we started LCAN, we were not sure where the biggest career advice bottlenecks were.

No systematic or representative research has been done on group members’ main bottlenecks to pursuing high impact careers or challenges group organisers face. Given the lack of information, we feel we could not adequately figure out the most impactful projects to work on without developing a more robust set of metrics to evaluate, get an accurate picture of career bottlenecks in the movement currently, and evaluate different career products.Therefore, we dedicated significant time in the first 6 months to conduct foundational research.

This foundational research was done from the mid-2019 to early 2020. The research comprised: a series of interviews with community members in the process of a career change, a career advice bottlenecks survey which asked group organisers to evaluate their members’ bottlenecks and challenges, EA literature reviews and several conversations with movement builders.

General Approach

  1. Find the most pressing bottlenecks
  2. Figure out the most scalable, durable or cheap solutions to the bottleneck

You can read How EA influences behaviour and our theory of change here.

LCAN’s Focus

These mechanisms are introduced as depicted in the diagram.

  • Guidance 1 is fairly difficult to do, and only young people could do this. Thus, focusing on high school students and young college students seems the most promising.
  • Guidance 2 has a narrower range, but that those small changes could be very important in expectation, especially for more skilled EAs.
  • Speed Up 1 can be done via triggers - events that prompt people to act on their values.
  • Speed Up 2 can be done by increasing Opportunity Structure
  • Opportunity Structure improves the overall chance of successfully transitioning.

Open questions

While we believe we have done enough preliminary research to start offering concrete services, we anticipate we will spend at least 30% of our time in the early stages of this project on the following research questions:

  • What is the correct balance between research and concrete actions?
  • How can we measure the long-term influence that movement building efforts have on a career transition?
  • What kind of careers advice research is the most valuable for the movement?
    • How can we ensure that EA career’s advice:
      • Maximize an individual’s impact in their given job?
      • Support their long-term engagement with the movement and/or career path?
        • Ensure personal satisfaction and fulfilment, especially for ETG jobs



NoCategoryRiskDescriptionRisk TriggersMitigation StrategiesLikelihood
Coordination Failure

Diversion from higher- impact roles

People diverted from 80K roles: - Longtermist roles - UK/US focused People diverted from EA org roles in general

There is a drop in competition for EA jobs

Establish whether people are good fits before encouraging other strategies. Ensure high fidelity messaging, spend time determining strategy on this topic.

Possible. However, many non-80K paths are not specified, so we would have to be doing worse than no research, which is unlikely.

Coordination Failure

Dilution of rigour of EA career advice

Lowering standards of rigour of EA-recommended paths outside US/UK

Ineffective Orgs endorsed

1-1 calls Establishing minimum thresholds for research conducted, encourage high levels of transparency Focus more on career capital building vs direct impact.

Somewhat possible. LCAN will not have full control over this, organisers are already doing such research.

Harm to community building

Diverting groups from higher impact activities

Less focus on other early-stage community building activities e.g. developing social connections, helping people with small/medium actions, transmitting high-quality EA content

Organisers aren’t having as much impact as they used to

1-1 calls  Ensure organisers have a good grasp of national-level strategy, members, etc. and are doing activities that make sense. Connect them to more estalished organisers & CEA

Somewhat Possible.

Harm to community building

Diverting groups from higher impact activities

Focusing on the wrong career-focused activities

Providing information instead of prescribing activities.

Unlikely. The value of different career activities has not been thoroughly studied, and we have done research which will make decisions based on data.

Harm to community building

This project prioritizes the wrong “Tier” of member

Focus too much on some people (e.g. more promsiing or less promising)

Community health metrics

1-1 calls Improve general knowledge on filtering.  Do checks periodically between organizers  Providing information instead of prescribing activities.

Unlikely to result from LCAN activities. This is an ongoing issue for many groups

Harm to community building

Value Drift and Movement Fragmentation

Career efforts are diverted from the hubs

A reduction in average years of engagement

Ensuring connections between localities and the core EAs via EAGx and EAGs.  Regional and national groups can help support local groups and connect them to others.

Unlikely to result from LCAN activities.

Harm to other cause areas (non-meta)

Reputation risks, info-hazards, putting wrong people in sensitive positions

Low-quality advice/execution if organisers make decisions too hastily or do not invest enough time into research, or encourage the wrong people into roles

Reputation risks e.g. EA in the policy space Info-hazards e.g. AI governance roles - people talking about x-risks

1-1 Calls Checks with EA leaders and relevant cause-area experts Don’t jump to associate someone with EA explicitly Encourage group organisers to track people in these fields in the long-term Suggest low-risk ways for people to test their fit (skills, personal) for a career path rather than going directly into a career

Possible. Those working in longtermist causes need to be careful.