The GiveWell Blog

Helping people: Easy or hard?

I wonder how much of the difference between our approach to charity and others’ approach comes from this very simple fact: We think that improving people’s lives is really hard. It might be easy to brighten someone’s day, even their week. But to get someone from poverty and misery to self-sufficiency and a world of… Read More

Why we wish charities ran LESS like businesses

GiveWell started in the hedge fund world (as a collaboration between coworkers), and our staff and board is heavy on for-profit experience. When we talk about metrics and dashboards, a lot of people assume we’re applying business concepts, and that we want to see charities run more like businesses. That isn’t true. Do businesses conduct… Read More

Driving without a dashboard?

How do you evaluate an organization that does all of this? Elie and I have been wrestling with this problem for the past few days, especially today. We’ve put together what we think is a reasonable final-round application (see below), and sent it to five of our strongest huge-comprehensive-giganto-mega-charities to see how they feel about… Read More

Won’t the real microlending please stand up?

There’s been a lot of excitement about microlending, especially since the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize created a wave of stories about it. The basic idea is to make loans to the destitute, helping them pull themselves out of poverty. The stories and the numbers floating around from fundraisers paint a picture that’s simply too good… Read More

We’d like your thoughts

On two things: 1. The raging debate between me and Elie on how you should evaluate a large charity. Here’s the intro; here’s my take; here’s Elie’s response. What do you think? If you’re not sure, which of us do you like better? 2. Our new website designed specifically for fundraising/networking. The goal is a… Read More