The GiveWell Blog

Face/Off! Evaluating a mammoth – Holden’s take

See this post for the ground rules of this Face/Off. When a charity does a million things in a million places, it’s futile to try to understand all of it, or even 80%. Speaking very practically, we’ll be taxing the heck out of their development officers, asking for so much information – to say nothing… Read More

Face/Off! Evaluating a mammoth – introduction

Elie and I have been arguing pretty heatedly, and we decided to put our argument online so you all can weigh in if you’d like. The topic is a bit dry, but absolutely essential, and a question that anyone interested in donating can answer. Here’s the question: What should our Round Two application cover, or,… Read More

Helping adults become self-supporting

Holden and I have been reviewing applications for Cause 5: help disadvantaged adults become economically self-supporting. This is what we’ve learned so far and what we’re just generally wondering about. We initially envisioned this cause pretty broadly, but we’ve found that there are a critical mass of organizations that follow the same basic model: take… Read More

Carnival roundup

Thanks to all who participated in the Giving Carnival. The question was, “What charitable cause are you personally most passionate about?”, and different people read it in different ways. Some people read it as: what’s your favorite organization? Network For Good’s Katya names five organizations whose activities vary wildly, explaining that the common thread is… Read More

Afraid of the light?

I’ve begged and begged foundations for their outcome reports on the charities they fund, and the most common response I’ve gotten is that they must keep this information confidential. Our application materials clearly state that everything sent is public record unless specified otherwise, and each Round One app concludes with a request that the charity… Read More


Yesterday was an important day for a couple reasons: 1. It was the due date for Clear Fund Round One applications (excepting the applicants who’ve been given extensions, which so far is everyone who’s asked for one). About 1/3 of the charities we invited to apply have submitted; we have 33 submissions for Cause 1,… Read More