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Members of the effective altruist community tend to focus primarily on global poverty, animal welfare and existential risk. A number of other areas, however, have received some attention, and may receive more in the future.

One potential focus area is political advocacy, which could improve both policy and the political process in a number of ways. Another promising area is support for high-impact research, either by funding particularly fruitful types of research or by improving the norms of the research community. Some in the effective altruism community also advocate work to improve mental health and happiness, and to improve rationality and decision making.