High value low time activism

This is a list I’m maintaining of high impact actions one can take with limited time, divided by category. Note that I didn’t come up with most of these, and have borrowed some from here and here. Let me know if you think something should be added to the list.

I’ve put a * next to the things I think are more effective relatively speaking and ** for the most effective.


*Take a giving pledge [1 minute] – Make a commitment to give a percent of your income for your working life. It’s a good idea to do this while you’re young, even before you’re working full-time, to get into the habit of effective giving. You can try pledging a small amount like 1% and then scale it up over time.

*Sign up to effective charity newsletters [1 minute]Giving What We Can, 80,000 Hours, The Life You Can Save. Share these with your network!

Follow Effective Altruists and EA organisations on Twitter and share their material [1 minute]

*Share these videos with your social media network [5 minutes]The Life You Can Save, The why and how of Effective Altruism, Effective Altruism.

*Share these articles with your social media network [5 minutes] Effective Altruism: Do unto others.

**Write a Wikipedia article or improve one on important topics [5 minutes –  many hours] – Brian Tomasik keeps a list of high value articles to work on here.

Read a blog about effective social impact [5 minutes +] – See a collated list here.

Listen to one of these podcasts [30 minutes +] Waking Up (Sam Harris), Rationally Speaking (Julia Galef).

*Leave money in your will to top charities [1 hour] – See this guide on how to do this.

*Hold a giving game or fundraiser for an effective charity [several hours +] – There is a guide to running a giving game here, and to running fundraisers here. This is a great way to raise awareness of important issues such as considering the effectiveness of the charities we support.

*Read a book on effective social impact [6+ hours] – The Life You Can Save, The Most Good You Can Do, Doing Good Better.

Animal advocacy

*Sign up to effective charity newsletters [1 minute]Animal Charity Evaluators, Sentience Politics.

Help would be vegans on Twitter become vegan [1 minute +] – If you spend a lot of time on Twitter anyway, you can follow @vegassist to encourage people to go vegan. @vegassist automatically retweets people who post things like ‘I want to go vegan’. I’m not sure whether these people would be helped anyway, but given that I’ve seen retweeted posts go without comments in the past, it seems like it could be positive.

**Spread concern for wild animals [1 minute +]

*Read a book on effective animal advocacy [8 hours] How to be Great at Doing Good.

Try veganism for a week – It’s really easy! And it has a huge positive impact. The average human eats about 7,000 animals in their life, almost all of which are subject to a pretty insane amount of suffering. You can eliminate that suffering. I went vegetarian for a week and ended up going vegan. Here and here are some great guides for doing this.

Poverty/global health

*Sign up to effective charity newsletters [1 minute]GiveWell, Effective Altruism Australia. Share these with your network!

Existential risk

*Sign up to effective charity newsletters [1 minute]Machine Intelligence Research Institute, Future of Humanity Institute, Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. Share these with your network!

*Read Superintelligence [10+ hours]