The GiveWell Blog

We’re glad to answer your questions

We know that many individuals make their charitable donations at this time of year. We’re here to help!

If you would like to discuss your 2019 giving decision with a GiveWell staff member, please email us at or schedule a call here.

For example, we’re glad to:

  • Provide a brief overview of our 2019 top charity recommendations.
  • Assist with the logistics of making a donation and discuss options for donating, such as appreciated securities, checks, and wire transfers.
  • Answer any questions about our research or recommendations.

We look forward to hearing from you!


  • Bill L. on January 29, 2020 at 10:25 am said:

    In a quick review of your web site, the top charities for the past several years all have their efforts focused outside in the United States. If one wanted to donate to charities that focus on needs inside the U.S., it would be helpful to have a list of the top charities in that category.

  • Catherine (GiveWell) on January 29, 2020 at 11:41 am said:

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your comment!

    GiveWell’s mission is to find and recommend a short list of top charities that are evidence-backed, cost-effective, and can use additional funding well.

    We don’t try to rate as many charities as possible; instead, we focus on thoroughly understanding the few charities that stand out most by our criteria in order to find and confidently recommend high-impact giving opportunities. You can read more about this here.

    We’re focused on global health and poverty alleviation programs because we’ve found that your dollar can go further overseas; the most cost-effective and evidence-backed programs we’ve found are operating in poorer parts of the world.

    Early in GiveWell’s history, we looked into covering more causes with our recommended charities. We found that charities working in the poorest parts of the world stood out the most by our criteria and that donors using our research were most interested in donating to these charities. We wrote about our shift to focusing exclusively on charities implementing global health and poverty alleviation programs here.

  • GiveWell seems to focus on very concrete interventions (e.g., mosquito netting). Surely that is helpful, so I’m fine with that.

    However, I believe efforts that are not so concrete (e.g., education, supporting local entrepreneurship, building infrastructure) could be helpful in ways that are less hard to predict.


  • I read an old givewell article on education (basically: no concrete evidence it helps) that givewell has since deprecated. So that might be your stance: hard to find evidence.

  • Catherine (GiveWell) on February 6, 2020 at 6:12 pm said:

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for your question. Our current top charities implement programs that have been studied via randomized controlled trials, which we consider high-quality evidence in support of their work. We can point to these studies and the charities’ monitoring and cost information to make a public, vettable case to our donors that these charities are excellent, cost-effective giving options.

    In recent years, we we have significantly expanded our research focus to include new areas that may be more challenging to measure than the programs our current top charities implement. We have also recommended Incubation Grants to support the development of potential future top charities and research into promising programs. Our goal is to identify high-impact giving opportunities that are even more cost-effective than our current top charities, which we believe are highly cost-effective and difficult to beat. We may have additional types of evidence to share in support of our future recommendations!

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