The GiveWell Blog

It’s for charity – but is it for a good cause?

People can get away with some incredible things as soon as they say that what they’re doing is “for charity.” First among these, of course, are the tax advantages that subsidize everything from helping the needy to fighting gun control, convincing people to eat beef, and stockpiling giant piles of cash for eternity. But it… Read More

How personal should your giving be?

A commonplace among fundraisers is that “people take action and give for deeply personal reasons.” This can mean many different things, but one of the implications is that people give to extremely specific, personal causes: diseases that loved ones have suffered from, local charities in areas where they live or grew up, charities that serve… Read More

Did you know that this qualifies as a charity?

From the Form 990 of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a federally recognized 501(c)3 public charity (exempt from taxes because of its devotion to the public benefit): THE PRIMARY EXEMPT PURPOSES OF THE NCBA ARE TO 1) INCREASE CONSUMER DEMAND FOR BEEF THROUGH MARKETING PROGRAMS FOCUSING ON RESEARCH, EDUCATION, PROMOTION & INFORMATION. 2) PROMOTE THE… Read More

Don’t talk to me about the Form 990

I already knew the Form 990 was useless, but sheesh. Elie and I are currently going through 990s of hundreds of charities, trying to find the ones that might be eligible for Clear Fund grants – we’re currently working on the International category, looking for charities that work in Africa – and I can say… Read More

I just bought a printer

Like most people who work in an office, I’ve never dealt with buying a printer before, so today I had to start from scratch. An hour ago, I knew nothing about ink vs. laser or HP vs. Lexmark; now, I’ve settled on a Samsung SCX-4200 and I’m feeling pretty good about it. Why am I… Read More

Healing the world: What’s the rush?

I’d like to welcome myself back with a simple question: why do foundations spend their money so slowly? A couple quick numbers from 2005, according to the Foundation Center Yearbook: Total amount of money held by U.S. foundations: $510.5 billion Total amount of money granted by U.S. foundations: $33.6 billion 33.6 billion divided by 510.5… Read More