Before giving season ends, we wanted to make sure to put in a good word for the UPenn Center for High-Impact Philanthropy (which we have mentioned before).
We have carefully reviewed the Center’s reports on malaria and U.S. education, both of which overlap heavily with the research we have done. We consistently find their statements to be research- and evidence-based, with citations that make it clear where their reasoning comes from. Their reports are focused on the practical issues of philanthropy and give examples of specific successful nonprofit programs.
We have learned from these reports and we believe they have significant value for donors.
We haven’t yet carefully reviewed their most recent report, on U.S. housing, health and hunger, but if and when we research these causes it will be one of the first sources we consult.
As Peter Singer and William Easterly recently discussed, there is a severe shortage of groups that provide substantive public information about the facts of giving and the research relevant to it. The Singer/Easterly discussion noted GiveWell and Good Intentions are Not Enough (another resource we find helpful) as examples of such groups. We think that the Center belongs on the list as well.
I agree that they do interesting and useful work.
In reading the exec summaries for Malaria and Student Success, I was struck by the diagram that they include at the back. It’s a 3 bubble diagram also available here:
(The second chart on that page – purple with 3 intersecting bubbles…)
It suggests that donors use a multi-pronged approach to evaluating charitable opportunities. Look at the chart for details. The approach is reasonably similar to what I believe GiveWell is doing, and is expressed clearly and concisely.
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