The GiveWell Blog

Welcome to your virtual site visit

Monday I visited Year Up, our #1 ranked charity in the cause of employment assistance. Although they quite understandably declined my request to videotape the visit, I’m going to share as much of my impressions as I can here. Although I think informal/intuitive evidence is generally overrated (relative to facts about life outcomes), I do still think it’s valuable.

Cheap ways to save lives

Our research for saving lives in Africa comes out soon. While we’ve mostly stuck to finding the best organization – rather than generalizing about “how to save lives” – we’ve formed a couple informal opinions along the way, and this seems like a good time to share. First off, I think bed nets are a… Read More


Elie and I get all the headlines, and the ladies, but GiveWell is a lot more than the two of us. This seems like a good time to thank: Our donors, mostly former coworkers who believed in us and stepped up to make GiveWell possible, even when it was nothing but an idea. Now, of… Read More

Must-read if you’re interested in NYC education

Eduwonkette gives a clear examination of data that is generally anything but. This post is more about public policy than charity, but it shows – at a glance – a lot of the problems with the traditional approach to charity (giving as an act of the heart without the brain; trusting charities that mean well,… Read More

Here’s to fear of failure

A favorite saying of foundation people is, “You can’t be afraid to fail. You have to be ready to take bold risks.” I’ve thought about it, and I think they’re going too easy on themselves. I put it to you: we need both funders of innovative projects and funders who focus on what already works…. Read More

Our harshest critic so far: Uncle Bob

There’s a saying that I think about a lot: “If you can’t explain it to your Uncle Bob, you don’t understand it.” (Note: may be a rewording of a real saying, or not a real saying at all; I’m not sure. If it’s unclaimed, mark it down as mine, thanks.) How many times have you… Read More