The GiveWell Blog

The metrics debate

About a year ago, we participated in a Giving Carnival on the topic of metrics in philanthropy, and laid out the metrics we were planning on using – along with caveats. Seeing a continuing interest in this topic (even including a panel called “Metrics Mania”), I’d like to share a bit of my progressed thinking… Read More

Politics vs. philanthropy in education research

There’s a big question in my mind about K-12 education. The question is which of the following hypotheses about helping disadvantaged children is the best bet: Disadvantaged children are so far behind by age 5 that there’s nothing substantial to be done for them in the K-12 system. Disadvantaged children are so far behind by… Read More

Reinventing the wheel

I think the following comment, from Andrea, is broadly representative of a common criticism we receive. One thing Givewell is missing, and has been criticized for in the past, is that people are already working on these issues, and that one small organization like Givewell can’t solve this “problem” where all others have failed. For… Read More

Microloans vs. payday loans

Phil Cubeta’s recent post about payday loans got me thinking about our choice to grant a microfinance organization in our Global Poverty cause. We decided to grant Opportunity International for two reasons: The belief that there is likely a significant shortage of access to credit in the developing world. The very fact that someone repays… Read More

Quick update

I’m going out of town for the next week and will have only sporadic internet access. A few odds and ends: At our Board meeting on Tuesday the 4th, we officially named our grantees in Causes 3 (Nurse-Family Partnership) and Cause 4 (KIPP). We think both are excellent options for donors. Our writeups on these… Read More