The GiveWell Blog

The winners of the Change Our Mind Contest—and some reflections

In September, we announced the Change Our Mind Contest for critiques of our cost-effectiveness analyses. Today, we’re excited to announce the winners!

We’re very grateful that so many people engaged deeply with our work. This contest was GiveWell’s most successful effort so far to solicit external criticism from the public, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the participation of people who share our goal of allocating funding to cost-effective programs.

Overall, we received 49 entries engaging with our prompts. We were very happy with the quality of entries we received—their authors brought a great deal of thought and expertise to engaging with our cost-effectiveness analyses.

Because we were impressed by the quality of entries, we’ve decided to award two first-place prizes and eight honorable mentions. (We stated in September that we would give a minimum of one first-place, one runner-up, and one honorable mention prize.) We also awarded $20,000 to the piece of criticism that inspired this contest.

Winners are listed below, followed by our reflections on this contest and responses to the winners.

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December 2022 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.

You can view previous open threads here.

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Our recommendations for giving in 2022

We wrote back in July that we expected to be funding-constrained this year. That remains true as we approach the end of the year, putting us in the unusual position of leaving impact on the table.

We’ve set a goal of raising $600 million in 2022, but our research team has identified $900 million in highly cost-effective funding gaps. That leaves $300 million in funding gaps unfilled. By donating this year, you can help us not only meet but exceed our goal—and say yes to more excellent opportunities to save and improve lives.

Additionally, our giving guidance for donors has changed this year. For the first time, our top recommendation is to give to our new All Grants Fund, which we allocate to any need that meets our cost-effectiveness bar. We think it’s the best bet for donors who want to support the most promising opportunities we’ve found to help people, regardless of program or location. And it reflects our current views on how we can best meet our goal of maximizing global well-being—by taking advantage of every path to impact, whether that’s funding top charities, seeding and scaling newer programs, or funding research.

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Answering some questions about water quality programs

On June 22, we held a virtual event on research into water quality interventions, featuring presentations from Michael Kremer of the University of Chicago’s Development Innovation Lab; Brett Sedgewick from Evidence Action, the parent organization of Dispensers for Safe Water; and Stephan Guyenet, Elie Hassenfeld, and Catherine Hollander of GiveWell. (If you weren’t able to attend, we’ve published a video recording, audio recording, and transcript here.)

We hosted the event to provide some additional background for our recommendation of up to $64.7 million to Dispensers for Safe Water, which installs chlorine dispensers to treat water at rural collection sites in Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda. This grant was the result of a lengthy investigation and a significant update in our views on the cost-effectiveness of water treatment, which we’ve written about here.

Several attendees wrote in with a range of thoughtful questions—about our analysis of the effects of chlorination interventions, about the particulars of Dispensers for Safe Water’s program, or more generally about our work. We covered as many as we could during the event and followed up on others by email. Below, we’re sharing a selection of the questions we responded to in writing, along with other questions we’ve gotten about this work outside of the event, in the hope that they’ll be of interest to a broader audience. Questions and answers have been anonymized; some have been edited slightly for brevity, or to fill in important context that was missing.

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