A .impact Review

.impact is a group of people who want to volunteer on really useful projects. This means, however, we need some idea of whether or not our projects are actually useful. Thus, the purpose of this essay is to analyze whether or not our projects have been useful, whether putting more time and money into .impact is worth the cost, where .impact has stumbled, and what our plans for the future are.

Summary

  • .impact has worked on a total of 25 projects, 8 of which have been launched (Skillshare, Improving EA Presence on Wikipedia, EA Interview Series, Utilitarian Essays Redesign, CEA Homepage Redesign, Giving What We Can Redesign, and the EA Reddit).

  • Right now, we think the core benefits of .impact can be categorized as working on (a) building the EA community, (b) building EA infrastructure, (c) learning about volunteering, (d) giving people skills and credibility, and (e) encouraging an ethos of trying things.

  • Our case is not very rigorous. A lot of our evidence is anecdotal, and most of our impact lies in our yet-to-be-realized potential as an organization.

  • .impact has encountered setbacks. We’ve found the supply of volunteering to be more limited than expected. We’ve also found volunteer software projects to be more difficult than originally assumed, with it taking much more time than expected to make much progress on projects.

  • We’ve also found it difficult to predict how useful our projects would be. So far .impact has not progressed as much as we would like in systematic needs analysis, metric measurement, or project prioritization.

  • The original goal of some of our members to learn programming through doing programming projects has been more difficult to realize. Aligning high-impact development with education has proven challenging.

  • Our costs to date have been ~$50 and ~860 person hours (valued at $34.4K). However, much of .impact work is in the free time, and opportunity costs seem to be lower than one would initially expect.

  • Overall, we’re quite confidant that we justify our costs and we look forward to seeing what happens in the next few months.

See the rest of the review…

…on the .impact blog