The GiveWell Blog

Thoughts on “Moonshine or the kids?”

Nicholas Kristof’s recent column argues that if the poorest families spent as much money educating their children as they do on wine, cigarettes and prostitutes, their children’s prospects would be transformed. Much suffering is caused not only by low incomes, but also by shortsighted private spending decisions by heads of households. This argument has provoked… Read More

Please take 3 minutes to help us set priorities

We’re collecting information about people’s favorite causes/charities and giving habits to help us set our research priorities and provide the best service possible. The link below goes to a survey that should take you about 3 minutes. Whether you’re a major supporter or you’ve never used GiveWell’s research before, please fill it out. We appreciate… Read More

How the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure spend their money

This year, we’ve been looking into the cause of disease research. We’re trying to find outstanding organizations for donors interested giving to help out with research efforts to develop cures, or new treatments, to cancer and other diseases. We figured that a logical place to start would be with two big-name organizations: the American Cancer… Read More

Futility of standardized metrics: An example

We often hear calls to “standardize metrics” so that nonprofits’ outcomes can be compared directly to each other. As an example of why we find this idea unpromising, I’d like to review some of our work on the first cause we ever investigated: employment assistance in NYC. We received 19 applications from employment assistance programs… Read More

Kiva suspends partnership with large, criticized partner LAPO

Back in December, we expressed concerns about LAPO, one of Kiva‘s largest microfinance partners. Last month, the New York Times ran an article implying criticism of LAPO. Now, Kiva has suspended its partnership with LAPO. A couple of questions this raises: Which of the several objections to LAPO have led to the suspension? Several concerns… Read More

Economic empowerment grant: Mistakes, lessons learned, and steps taken

We’ve just published reviews of all of the organizations that applied for our economic empowerment grant. (Note that we previously announced the grant winners here.) Whenever we publish new charity reviews, we get some push back from charities who aren’t happy that they’ve received a 0-star review. Before we published our economic empowerment reviews, we… Read More