The GiveWell Blog

Leverage in charity

The Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) told us earlier this year that it had received a donation of praziquantel (the more expensive of the drugs it uses for deworming) from World Vision. Since it already has the drugs, donations can pay just for delivery costs. Thus, SCI observed, your gift is “leveraged” – $1 in donations… Read More

Celebrated charities that we don’t recommend

Normally, we focus on identifying outstanding charities, and minimize the time spent on opaque or otherwise lackluster ones. But lately, we’ve gone into a bit more detail about our take on several of the best-known and most appealing charities out there. What all of the charities below have in common is that (a) we have… Read More

Robin Hood, Smile Train and the “0% overhead” donor illusion

For an organization focused on financial metrics, the American Institute of Philanthropy can be very interesting. I can’t do justice to this excellent article on Smile Train with an excerpt, and I urge you to read it all. It thoroughly debunks an alleged claim by Smile Train that “100% of your donation goes toward programs… Read More

When is a charity’s logo a donor illusion?

When the charity is Nothing But Nets. Peter Singer has explained the problem with the “net = life” equation, and any other serious analysis we’ve seen of insecticide-treated nets agrees. Why does this matter? Because Nothing But Nets also prominently states that the total cost of each net is $10. For donors looking to maximize… Read More

Smile Train removes charts from website; still claims $250 per surgery

Two days ago, I critiqued the message sent by charts on Smile Train’s “Financial Information” page, particularly the idea that a surgery was being provided for every $250 in donations. My recollection is that the page had been up in this form since at least the summer of 2006 (when I first started investigating surgery… Read More