The GiveWell Blog

Good news can create new challenges for donors

I was glad to read of a new $110 million initiative for insecticide-treated bednet distribution, which we find one of the better-established ways to spend money to improve lives. But what does this mean for you if you’ve been giving to a malaria charity? Do independent bednet distributions now run the risk of being redundant… Read More

Agriculture charity evaluation: Incomes boosted are not the same as lives changed

What’s wrong with this “evidence of impact” for high-profile charities? The Millennium Villages project‘s main evidence of impact so far appears to be increasing crop yields by a factor of 4-15x in 3 villages. (H/T to the recent coverage of Millennium Villages on Aid Watch) A KickStart evaluation (available on our website (DOC)) reports that… Read More

Are charities helping? We don’t know

In a recent debate, David Hunter’s article on the nonprofit sector has taken heat for its assertion that “While nonprofits work incredibly hard, with passion and dedication, and often in incredibly difficult circumstances to solve society’s most intractable problems, there is virtually no credible evidence that most nonprofit organizations actually produce any social value.” We… Read More

Is fundraising stuck in the world of Mad Men?

Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car… It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is okay. You are okay. — Don Draper on AMC’s Mad Men. (Video… Read More

What’s different about Kiva

Why has Kiva been singled out for so much criticism lately (see GiveWell Board member Tim Ogden’s summary)? Part of the answer is that Kiva has arguably been misleading donors – but that can’t be the full answer. David Roodman’s original post could never have come about without the fact, as Mr. Roodman puts it,… Read More

DonorsChoose vs. Kiva

This Tactical Philanthropy post implies that the salient difference between DonorsChoose and Kiva is that DonorsChoose is more “authentic” in terms of connecting donors to projects. (Update: Sean points out in the comment below that most of the post I cited was a quote from a former DonorsChoose employee and doesn’t necessarily reflect TacticalPhilanthropy’s opinion.)… Read More