James Herbert

Co-director @ Effective Altruism Netherlands
1259 karmaJoined Working (6-15 years)Amsterdam, Netherlands



I'm currently a co-director at EA Netherlands (with Marieke de Visscher). We're working to build and strengthen the EA community here.

Before this, I worked as a consultant on urban socioeconomic development projects and programmes funded by the EU. Before that, I studied liberal arts (in the UK) and then philosophy (in the Netherlands).

Hit me up if you wanna find out about the Dutch EA community! :)


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Cheers for the comment! The Rumelt book is great, highly recommend. Looking forward to seeing EA Finland's strat on the forum when you're ready :) 


Yeah, we're reasonably confident that EAGx events are valuable community-building interventions (as we discussed here) and Rotterdam generated approximately 5k new connections. We're hoping we can use Utrecht to also boost the number of people starting projects (thus helping us meet one of the challenges identified in our diagnosis). 

But you're right that historically they haven't served many people who were not already pretty active in EA, so it's more about deepening the community instead of growing it. Below I've pasted the engagement data for attendees of EAGxRotterdam 2022. 

  • Hours of engagement: 
    • 38% with 100 hours or more
    • 23% with 50-100 hours
    • 23% with 20-50 hours
    • 10% with fewer than 20 hours 
    • 5% with 0 hours 

I'm also uncertain as to whether an EAGx is truly the best use of funds for the EA community in the region at the moment. But (1) we're just generally not sure what the best use of funds would be and (2) it's always a mix of 'what looks good in expectation' vs 'what can we actually get funding for'. 

Non-exhaustive list of things I would like to have in NL that could probably be funded for one year with the money spent on EAGxUtrecht:

  • A large research project
  • A talent development programme 
  • A campaign programme
  • A (small) think tank

Cheaper things:

  • Part-time events programmer
  • Part-time communications officer

What do you think?

Check out organisations such as Effective Giving, Longview Philanthropy, and Founders Pledge. Oh and funding circles such as the Mental Health Funding Circle. Good luck!

Yeah, I'm aware of those, but I don't think they've published a ToC for CEA as an organisation anywhere. I think it would be good for CEA to have a public ToC because, as noted here, this is a basic good practice in the non-profit sector. 

I don't think CEA has a public theory of change, it just has a strategy. If I were to recreate its theory of change based on what I know of the org, it'd have three target groups:

  1. Non-EAs
  2. Organisers
  3. Existing members of the community

Per target group, I'd say it has the following main activities:

  • Targeting non-EAs, it does comms and education (the VP programme).
  • Targeting organisers, you have the work of the groups team.
  • Targeting existing members, you have the events team, the forum team, and community health. 

Per target group, these activities are aiming for the following short-term outcomes:

  • Targeting non-EAs, it doesn't aim to raise awareness of EA, but instead, it aims to ensure people have an accurate understanding of what EA is.
  • Targeting organisers, it aims to improve their ability to organise.
  • Targeting existing members, it aims to improve information flow (through EAG(x) events, the forum, newsletters, etc.) and maintain a healthy culture (through community health work).

If you're interested, you can see EA Netherland's theory of change here. 

Interestingly, CEAP did some excellent work in this vein in NL recently - but clearly it wasn’t enough.

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