The GiveWell Blog

Reason “versus” emotion

We’ve been accused many times (including here and here) of trying to take the emotion out of charity. That doesn’t make any sense to me – I can’t think of any reason to do charity other than emotion (call me crazy, but I’ve found that disobeying the Categorical Imperative doesn’t bother me). It is true… Read More

The Straw Ratio: Closing thoughts (for now)

I’ve done an arguably excessive amount of ranting on what I’ve dubbed the “Straw Ratio”: the idea that we can find the best charities by seeing what percentage of their total expenses goes to program expenses, or, in Straw Man parlance, goes “straight to the people who need it.” It’s about time for me to… Read More

Even Google has been suckered

If my extended, multi-post rant on the Straw Ratio has been at all convincing to you, you should be concerned about what the Internet thinks “charity evaluation” means. I’m not just talking about the top result, but about the whole shebang.’s criteria don’t say a single thing about the nature or effectiveness of a… Read More

Tears of straw

It’s very unlikely – maybe impossible – that the Straw Ratio bothers you as much as it bothers me. So I’m going to try to spill out all the ranting I have left on this topic over the next few posts, and then we’ll completely be done with it, at least until the next time… Read More