The GiveWell Blog

Working for GiveWell

If you’re interested in working or volunteering for GiveWell, now would be a good time to let us know. We’ve been a 7-person team for the last couple of months, but since two of the hires were temporary, we’re soon going to be back down to 5. We were happy with our productivity when we had 7 people; we have the funds, the management capacity and the desire to get back up to that size if the right people come along.

About the role

We’re looking primarily for Research Analysts – people who will provide support to the goal of finding the best giving opportunities. Research Analyst duties mostly consist of:

  • Reviewing independent research on the best ways to help people and on other issues relevant to giving
  • Reviewing particularly promising charities – including speaking with their representatives and asking critical questions, reviewing and evaluating documents they send, and writing up their answers to critical questions, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Taking part in discussions of which giving opportunities are most promising and of general GiveWell strategy
  • Miscellaneous duties depending on individual preferences, including networking, outreach, writing (e.g., for the blog), and original analysis on research questions
  • We encourage analysts to push their abilities to the limit and take on as much responsibility as they can. An analyst can grow into a major role at GiveWell.

A few practical details on the role:

  • We are located in New York City and currently work in the Tribeca/Chinatown area. Hours are flexible and some telecommuting is allowed, though overall expectations for productivity are high.
  • The general environment is one of intense discussion and debate. We change course and rethink things frequently, and analysts are encouraged to challenge, question and critique their managers.

What we’re looking for

We believe the most important qualities for a Research Analyst are

  • Passion for finding great giving opportunities. There’s little precedent for the kind of work we do, and we can’t train people to the point where little of their own judgment is required. As a result, analysts end up making a lot of judgment calls and it’s important that these judgment calls be oriented toward finding great giving opportunities.

    In the past, we’ve found that the best employees are the ones who come to us looking to volunteer or work for us, demonstrating pre-existing interest in and passion for the project. That’s why we’re starting this search via our own blog – we think the most promising candidates are likely to be among our readers.

  • Critical thinking/analysis skills. Analysts need not have existing proficience with data analysis (though it’s a plus), but they do need to be able to approach claims about charities’ impact with skepticism and good critical questions – whether those claims are made by charities, scholars, or myself and Elie.
  • Attention to detail. Analysts need to do careful, reliable work whose conclusions we can trust.

How to apply

Email us with a resume and a note on why you’d like to work for GiveWell. We will most likely write back asking you to enter our volunteer process; we generally ask people to volunteer for us before being hired, so that we can get a strong sense of their fit with the organization.

We also appreciate referrals to people who might be a good fit.


  • Dr. Mark Barrett on September 15, 2011 at 5:09 am said:

    I see that you are based in NY, but I am wondering if you need someone based in Asia who can help explore and research possibilities in this part of the world? I work in a number of countries (Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Singapore) and could help to provide reviews and analysis of programmes that would be good candidates for funding. Much of my work is in doing program evaluations, assessments, surveys, data analysis and reporting etc. I would be interested to discuss this if there is an interest. Cheers.

  • Hi Mark, thanks for the offer. We wouldn’t hire someone right now specifically for the purpose of visiting charities on the ground. If you were visiting organizations already, we’d encourage you to publish your reactions to them. We’d find that valuable.

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