Our charity evaluation process
- Examining hundreds of charities and relevant academic literature
- Deeply investigating the most promising charities by our criteria
- Publishing all the details of our charity recommendations and the full details of our reasoning on this website
We primarily look for charities with strong documented track records, highly cost-effective activities, and concrete needs for more funds. Recommended charities must be highly transparent and accountable, i.e., willing to share enough in-depth information about their work that we can assess them on these criteria.
We cast the net as wide as we can to consider as many charities as possible, reviewing hundreds of charities’ websites and more deeply investigating the most promising ones. This page has all charities that we have considered. We identify charities from sources, including:
- Submissions to our website
- Grantees of other major funders
- Partners of research organizations
In-depth charity reviews
We perform in-depth reviews of charities that make it through the early stages of our process. These involve conversations with representatives; examination of internal documentation including monitoring and evaluation reports, budgets, and plans for using additional funding; reviewing independent literature and evidence of effectiveness of the charities’ programs. For the strongest contenders, we conduct visits to their programs in the field. We post the names of every charity we consider on our website. This page has all charities that we have considered.
What is GiveWell?
Givewell is an American non-profit charity evaluator started in 2007 by two former Bridgewater Associates* investment analysts, Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld. The goal of Givewell is to promote giving to charities that are effective and transparent.
Where does GiveWell get its funding?
GiveWell is supported by foundations, such as the Hewlett Foundation, and individual supporters. They do not solicit donations from the general public. Look here.
- Kiva: Well, damn. I’ve given money to Kiva – I honestly thought I was giving money directly to women to help finance their businesses, when it seems the money was given to micro-finance institutions, and that the creation of this direct relationship between you as a donor and a businesswoman on the other end is illusory. Kiva promises to give you updates so you see how your contribution is having an effect. I gave some time ago and have since received one really generic update.
- In regards to micro-finance institutions, GiveWell has put together an article suggesting that microfinancing (making small loans to people to help them start their business!), while a good idea in theory, may suck in practice.
- Smile Train: You’ve seen those pictures of children with cleft lips – what kind of bastard are you that you could resist that? Well, you are not alone. No one could resist that, and Smile Train has been so successful that they are out of room for more funding.
- UNICEF: UNICEF it would have never occurred to me to question, because…it’s UNICEF. Speaking ill of UNICEF is like peeing on a church. You just don’t do that. Well, UNICEF isn’t exactly forthcoming about what they do with their funds, so I’m putting my reverence on hold.