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 firstname.lastname@example.org or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately.
The GiveWell Blog
For this post, a number of GiveWell staff members volunteered to share the thinking behind their personal donations for the year. We’ve published similar posts in previous years. (See our staff giving posts from 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.) Staff are listed alphabetically by first name.
You can have a remarkable impact by supporting cost-effective, evidence-based charities.
Just looking at the approximately $100 million GiveWell had discretion to grant in 2020—a subset of all the money we directed to the charities we recommend—the impact of our donors is impressive. We estimate these grants will:
- Save more than 24,000 lives
- Treat over 6 million children with a full course of antimalarial medication
- Provide vitamin A supplementation to over 8.6 million children
- Deliver over 4.4 million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) to protect against malaria
- Vaccinate 118,000 children
- Treat over 11.4 million children for parasitic worms
A little over a decade ago in 2010, GiveWell directed around $1.5 million to the charities we recommended. In 2021, we expect we’ll raise at least $500 million, and may raise as much as $560 million or more.
We never anticipated that we’d grow this large this quickly. We’ve seen rapid growth from donors of all sizes, the most recent of which is a commitment of $300 million from Open Philanthropy.
While this growth comes with challenges—we’re working hard to hire enough researchers—it’s a testament to our donors’ trust in us and enthusiasm for our mission.
But these big numbers are relatively small in the long-term scope of what GiveWell hopes to achieve. We believe there are billions of dollars’ worth of annual cost-effective giving opportunities that we have yet to identify.
We believe malnutrition is a very promising area for charitable funding in the future. In 2021, we directed nearly $30 million to two organizations—The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) and International Rescue Committee (IRC)—working on malnutrition, and we expect to direct more funding to malnutrition programs in the future. (We have published a write-up about one of these grants here and will publish write-ups about the other grants in the near future.) To give a sense of what we expect, we would not be surprised if GiveWell directs as much funding to malnutrition in the future as we have to malaria programs in recent years.
2020 was another year of tremendous growth. GiveWell donors contributed over $240 million to our recommended charities (our “2020 money moved”), a 60% increase from the approximately $150 million we directed in 2019. This is part of an exciting, long-term trend. Just a decade ago, in 2010, GiveWell’s total money moved was $1.5 million.
We believe these donations will save tens of thousands of lives and benefit many others. This incredible impact would not be possible without the continued support and generosity of our donors. While our research enables us to identify and recommend highly cost-effective giving opportunities, our donors are responsible for turning those recommendations into real change for some of the poorest individuals in the world.