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

Charity isn’t about helping?

One person who’s more critical of charity than we are or than David Hunter is is the economist Robin Hanson. He has stated that “charity isn’t about helping” and spelled out this view somewhat in a post about the founder of Rite Aid: when folks like Alex spend their later years trying to “do good”… 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

Too much attention on the giver’s experience; not enough on the recipient’s

From the recent discussion on Tactical Philanthropy: As philanthropists/donors/funders, we spend so much time thinking about how to maximize social benefit through our activities, that often we lose sight of the personal benefits that we experience from these endeavors. We disagree. Consider the current state of the nonprofit sector. We have practically no information about… Read More

Good news can create new challenges for donors

I was glad to read of a new $110 million initiative for insecticide-treated bednet distribution, which we find one of the better-established ways to spend money to improve lives. But what does this mean for you if you’ve been giving to a malaria charity? Do independent bednet distributions now run the risk of being redundant… Read More