The GiveWell Blog

Joint release on finding the best charities, not just avoiding the worst

Last year, we and many other groups came together in a joint press release on the “worst way to pick a charity.”. We argued that the simple, “one-size-fits-all” metric of the overhead ratio is a red herring, and that deeper analysis is needed to make sure your gift accomplishes good.

But many donors don’t have time for deeper – or any – analysis. To help them, this year three organizations – GiveWell, Philanthropedia and Root Cause – have come together with a list of 6 recommended charities.

Each of our organizations has recommended two charities, using our distinctive methodologies. Note that we haven’t vetted each others’ recommendations and do not necessarily endorse each others’ endorsements – but we think it’s important to show donors (even donors with very little time) what sorts of options they have, publicly and centrally.

As our release states, and as we’ve written before many times in the past (most recent discussion here), we think that there is currently far too much emphasis on avoiding bad charities, with the implication being that it’s fine to give to whatever charity asks most loudly once you’ve determined that they aren’t literally stealing your money. We want to change the subject from “How can donors avoid the very worst charities?” to “How can they seek out the very best?” This joint list of recommended charities is a step in that direction.

Full release – including the six charity recommendations – here