The GiveWell Blog

March 2017 open thread

Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.

If you have questions related to the Open Philanthropy Project, you can post those in the Open Philanthropy Project’s most recent open thread.

You can view our December 2016 open thread here.


  • Femi Taiwo on March 21, 2017 at 4:01 pm said:

    “The world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of the second world war with more than 20 million people in four countries facing starvation and famine, a senior United Nations official has warned.

    He urged an immediate injection of funds for Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northeast Nigeria plus safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid “to avert a catastrophe…

    Unless there was a major infusion of money, he said, children would be stunted by severe malnutrition and would not be able to go to school, gains in economic development would be reversed and “livelihoods, futures and hope lost”…“To be precise,” O’Brien said, “we need $4.4bn by July”.”

  • Chris on March 21, 2017 at 5:55 pm said:

    Hey Givewell!

    When can we expect new updates on donation allocation recommendations? As well as how the givewell granted donations were divided?

    Interested to see how the holiday season played out!

    Best Wishes,

  • Catherine (GiveWell) on March 21, 2017 at 8:03 pm said:

    Hi Femi,

    We haven’t looked into giving opportunities for the recent famine and don’t have any specific recommendations for where to give. That said, we do have some general recommendations and tips for disaster relief giving, some of which may be helpful to consider when donating to assist with this crisis:

    In 2011, we researched the Somalia famine and made recommendations. Although we have not updated this report, it may be of interest when thinking about donating to help with the recent famine:

  • Catherine (GiveWell) on March 21, 2017 at 11:05 pm said:

    Hi Chris,

    We’re currently finalizing our decision on how to regrant donations received during giving season and the first part of 2017, and will be publishing a blog post over the next few weeks detailing our decision and what it means for donors.

  • Will Levine on March 25, 2017 at 2:56 pm said:

    Has GiveWell ever considered suggesting that donors spread out donations over the course of the year rather than waiting till December to give all at once? It seems like an easy way to increase the value of a donation (though only by a very modest amount).

  • Alan Przybyla on March 26, 2017 at 10:31 am said:

    Do you have any information on either of these organizations? Working Dogs for Conservation (, and Performing Animal Welfare Society (

  • Catherine (GiveWell) on March 27, 2017 at 11:56 am said:

    Hi Alan,

    We do not; we have not looked into charities working in these areas. In general, we aim to find charities that meet our criteria and do not aim to review or rate every charity. We are currently prioritizing organizations that focus on GiveWell’s priority programs in global health and poverty alleviation. For lists of the charities that we have considered, see here. Sorry we couldn’t be more helpful with this question!

  • Catherine (GiveWell) on March 27, 2017 at 12:01 pm said:

    Hi Will,

    We don’t have a strong view on whether it’s better for donors to make monthly or annual donations; our understanding is that the most helpful thing donors can do is to give regularly, such that charities know when to expect a gift and can plan around that in their budgeting.

  • Alan Przybyla on March 28, 2017 at 8:54 am said:

    Thank you for your quick response.
    Alan Przybyla

  • Peter Hurford on April 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm said:

    Hi, does GiveWell have any analysis on spending money to accelerate vaccine development (e.g., HIV vaccine, anti-malaria vaccine) as a potential intervention?

  • Catherine (GiveWell) on April 19, 2017 at 12:40 pm said:

    Hi Peter,

    We haven’t conducted intensive analysis of this area. We would be excited about trying to direct funding to a promising vaccine development program through our Incubation Grants if we found a good opportunity. We haven’t yet, and we’re not pursuing identifying opportunities within vaccine development area as a high priority due to our impression that this work receives substantial funding from other major funders, such as the Gates Foundation.

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