The GiveWell Blog

You can save a life

We ask you, as a donor, to turn down some great pitches – “Your interest-free loan will help this person escape poverty forever,” “You can give a cow to a poor family for Christmas,” etc. – and give instead to charities that aren’t terribly good at storytelling. Why? It comes down to this. We think… 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

An essential question that no one is asking charities

If a charity demonstrates that its core program has changed lives in the past, is likely to change lives in the future, and gets great “bang for your buck,” is this enough reason to donate to it? We say no. The missing piece: Will more funding lead to more of the good program(s)? We generally… Read More

Denying the choice

GiveWell spends a lot of time on the question, “Should I give to charity A or charity B?” One of the things that has surprised us about the world of charity is how many people insist on answering, “Both” or “You can’t/shouldn’t be asking that question.” To them, all that matters is whether a charity… Read More

Chess in the Schools

The New York Times recently profiled Chess in the Schools: The Chess-in-the-Schools program has sought to foster analytical skills on the theory that these will help students succeed academically. The group teaches 20,000 children a year and calculates that it has taught 425,000 children since 1986. Children gather to learn the game at the group’s… Read More