The GiveWell Blog

GiveWell is aiming to have a new #1 charity by December

Our current top-rated charity is VillageReach. In 2010, we directed over $1.1 million to it, which met its short-term funding needs (i.e., its needs for the next year or so).

VillageReach still has longer-term needs, and in the absence of other giving opportunities that we consider comparable, we’ve continued to feature it as #1 on our website. However, we’ve also been focusing most of our effort this year on identifying and investigating other potential top-rated charities, with the hope that we can refocus attention on an organization with shorter-term needs this December. (In general, the vast bulk of our impact on donations comes in December.) We believe that we will be able to do so. We don’t believe we’ll be able to recommend a giving opportunity as good as giving to VillageReach was last year, but given VillageReach’s lack of short-term (1-year) room for more funding, we do expect to have a different top recommendation by this December.

We haven’t been updating our rankings continuously; we prefer to do very deep investigations of top contenders, and aim for an all-at-once refresh in time for December. This is largely because we’ve continued to raise the bar for what it takes to become a top charity. For example, since we’ve found field visits to be useful, we now have a strong preference to avoid naming a charity “top-rated” before we’ve seen its work on the ground (for this reason, staff is currently split up between Malawi and India, visiting contender charities; we will post notes and pictures after we return and get the content approved by charities we’ve visited). More generally, we are looking to examine a charity from many different angles and have a high level of confidence before we start directing significant funds to it.

Bottom line – by December, we will have a new “top-rated” charity. This is not a “demotion” of VillageReach; rather, it reflects our success in directing enough funding to it to close its short-term gap.


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