The GiveWell Blog

Which of these boasts is not like the others?

1. “90c of your dollar goes directly to building cars. Only 10% of our expenses go into planning and designing them.” 2. “We’re using a volunteer director and no advertising, so we can spend 100% of the movie’s budget on shooting expenses. It’ll be a hit!” 3. “90% of our military budget goes directly to… Read More

OK, Straw Man, the gloves are off

I’m spreading my rant against the Straw Ratio across a few posts, because (a) I have a lot to say; (b) this idea is really central to what we’re doing. Let’s start with an observation so obvious that you’re going to get mad at me for being patronizing. There is a lot you need to… Read More

Who should I help: My friend or my pet?

Note from Elie: I don’t stand by this post, and it’s been left up only as a matter of historical record. This post was made very early on in GiveWell’s history, when GiveWell was a part-time project and Holden and I saw the blog as a place to experiment, have fun, give exaggerated versions of… Read More

Before I tear the Straw Man apart …

Let me note that there is some truth to what the Straw Man says below. There is very little information that you can get and compare across all charities, and looking at the Straw Ratio (program expenses / total expenses) is probably the single quickest, easiest way to spot the worst of the worst (i.e.,… Read More

Recommending Population Services International

I understand that a lot of you have been sitting on the edge of your seats, wondering when GiveWell is going to recommend an organization for fighting diarrheal illness. Your wait is over. My research on diarrhea began as an interest in the cause of “water.” It’s a very popular cause, and a very marketable… Read More