The GiveWell Blog

Are GiveWell’s top charities the best option for every donor?

We’re sometimes asked whether we think GiveWell’s top charities are the “best,” in some absolute sense of the word, or whether we’d ever advise that a donor give to an opportunity outside of our recommendations. This post aims to clarify how GiveWell thinks about different giving options and their suitability for different types of donors.

We believe that GiveWell’s top charities offer donors an outstanding opportunity to do a lot of good and are the best option for most donors. However, some donors—those with a very high degree of trust in a particular individual or organization to make this decision, donors with lots of time (in excess of 50 hours per year, and likely more) to consider their giving decision, or donors whose values point strongly toward a particular cause outside of the ones GiveWell covers—may find opportunities to have a greater impact per dollar than GiveWell’s top charities. Note that we think these characteristics are likely to be necessary, but not sufficient, for finding these types of opportunities; we still expect good giving to be hard, and spending, for example, 50 hours per year on research isn’t necessarily going to yield better opportunities.

In this post, we describe relevant considerations for donors in greater detail.

Our updated top charities for giving season 2016

We have refreshed our top charity rankings and recommendations. We now have seven top charities: our four top charities from last year and three new additions. We have also added two new organizations to our list of charities that we think deserve special recognition (previously called “standout” charities). Instead of ranking organizations, we rank funding… Read More

Weighing organizational strength vs. estimated cost-effectiveness

A major question we’ve asked ourselves internally over the last few years is how we should weigh organizational quality versus the value of the intervention that the organization is carrying out. In particular, is it better to recommend an organization we’re very impressed by and confident in that’s carrying out a good program, or better… Read More

Mid-year update to top charity recommendations

This post provides an update on what we’ve learned about our top charities in the first half of 2016. We continue to recommend all four of our top charities. Our recommendation for donors seeking to directly follow our advice remains the same: we recommend they give to the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF), which we believe… Read More

Our updated top charities for giving season 2015

We have refreshed our top charity rankings and recommendations. Our set of top charities and standouts is the same as last year’s, but we have introduced rankings and changed our recommended funding allocation, due to a variety of updates – particularly to our top charities’ room for more funding. In particular, we are recommending that… Read More

Good Ventures’ $25 million grant to GiveDirectly

Good Ventures has granted $25 million to GiveDirectly for the support of GiveDirectly’s general operations. While the grant is unrestricted, we expect that GiveDirectly will most likely use this grant as follows: ~$6-9 million: to hire a marketing team to raise significantly more funding than GiveDirectly has raised in the past. ~$16-19 million: to provide… Read More