- Grants to our top charities: $2 million to GiveDirectly, $1.5 million to Deworm the World Initiative, $750,000 to Schistosomiasis Control Initiative.
- A match, up to $5 million total and $100,000 per donor, on donations made to GiveDirectly from today through January 31, 2014.
We very much appreciate Good Ventures’ generous support of our top charities.
These decisions were made by Good Ventures and not GiveWell, but we were part of the discussions leading up to them, and thought we ought to briefly summarize what recommendations we’ve made and thoughts we’ve shared on this front.
On the grants, we advised Good Ventures to do as it did and agree with the reasoning stated in its announcement. We believe that Good Ventures will have better giving opportunities available to it in the future than today, and we also see negative aspects to “crowding out” the donations of individuals, so we did not advise it to close top charities’ full funding gaps, but we did advise it to help ensure that the minimum targets are hit.
On the match, we raised the possibility of matching donations to GiveDirectly. We stated that we saw positive value in encouraging other individuals to give to a top charity, and that we believed money given to any top charity – particularly GiveDirectly, which seems to have the most absorptive capacity and which most staff are favoring for their personal donations this year – is money well spent. Ultimately, Elie and I recommended against the match (feeling that these funds would be better spent on a future giving opportunity), while stating that we believed there were strong arguments both ways and that we respected and supported Good Ventures’ decision. Alexander recommended in favor of the match.
We’re aware of the tension between supporting a match and our previous writing on matches. We believe that a maximally rational approach to giving should not be influenced by most donation matching. However, Good Ventures’ match is targeted at influencing a broad range of donors, many of whom may not fully align with our view and may be positively influenced by the match offer. And we also believe it is not misleading in the way that many matches are: the purpose of the match is to bring in more donors, and there is a legitimate possibility that the full match will not be taken advantage of (in which case those funds simply won’t be donated to GiveDirectly). If the full amount of the match is reached, we believe Good Ventures will be giving more in total to our top charities this year than they would have been had a match not been a possibility.
Good Ventures is more positive on GiveDirectly than on our other top charities, to a greater degree than most GiveWell staff. We’re still planning for individual staff members to discuss their planned personal allocations in the next couple weeks.