The term "Effective Altruism" (EA)

According to William MacAskill, the term Effective Altruism (EA) came from the 'umbrella' name for Giving What We Can (GWWC) and 80,000 Hours (80k).

GWWC started as a giving society with the goal of encouraging people to give 10% of their income on a regular basis to alleviate world poverty. It was founded by Toby Ord, Bernadette Young, and William MacAskill in 2009. 

80,000 Hours was founded by Benjamin Todd and William MacAskill in 2011. It aims to provide career advice for talented young people who want to have a great social impact through their careers. 

The result was the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA)It was registered as a charity in the UK in 2012. The mission of CEA is to create a global community of people who make helping others a core part of their lives and to do good as effectively as possible. 


The term "Effective Altruism" gained attention and wider usage through Peter Singer's TED talk "The Why and How of Effective Altruism" in 2013.


EA started spreading as a movement with a global community of people who care about doing more to create a positive social impact in this world. EA & GWWC chapters grew organically, led by people who care deeply about taking actions in our lives for a better world. 

Since 2013, CEA has been organising annual EA conferences (known as "EA Global"). 

William MacAskill's "Doing Good Better" was published in 2015. This book encapsulates the essence of EA and is very much a primer to the EA movement. 


There are currently more than 300 chapters around the world. These EA communities come together to promote doing more good, based on evidence and reason. 


→ Read more on the history of EA.



This is an EA-related timeline, indicating some of the key organisations, events and publications that influenced EA's development. 

Note that this is not a comprehensive timeline as many other EA organisations are not listed here. There are also causes areas that many EAs care about that aren't included here (e.g. rationality, existential risks), for the sake of a quick overview for those new to EA.