The GiveWell Blog

GiveWell’s 2021 metrics report

Added October 2022: From 2020 to 2022 we used the name “Maximum Impact Fund” to refer to the fund used to support the highest-priority funding needs among our top charities each quarter. In September 2022, we changed the name of this fund to the “Top Charities Fund” to better describe what opportunities this fund supports; more information here.

In 2021, GiveWell directed the largest amount of money in our history, over $500 million, which we believe will be beneficial or life saving to many people in need. We thank our donors for continuing to trust us to find and recommend some of the most highly cost-effective giving opportunities in the world.

Note that this year, we’ve also updated our metrics report to more clearly communicate about our work. Previously, we reported on our “money moved,” a metric that tried to provide a composite picture of both the funds we raised and directed in a given year. However, starting with our 2021 report, we’ll be reporting on these metrics separately as “funds raised” and “funds directed,” which we believe will be simpler and clearer.

The following tables summarize our funds raised and funds directed in 2021:

Table summarizing 2021 funds directed by category

Table summarizing 2021 funds raised by category

This represents a significant increase in the funds we raise on a yearly basis, from only $11 million in 2012 to $595 million in 2021.

Chart of funds raised by year

You’ll note that our funds directed in 2021 is about $66 million lower than our funds raised. The funds we raised that were not directed include:

  • “Contingency funds” committed to charities under particular grant agreements but only paid out under certain conditions of the grant. (If those conditions are not met, we reallocate the funding to other opportunities.)
  • “Rollover funds” saved for grantmaking in future years.
  • Maximum Impact Fund donations raised in a given metrics year but allocated in the following year (these appear as funds directed in the following year).
  • Unrestricted funds raised in a given metrics year but not spent on operations or granted out to charities in that year (these appear as funds directed in the year they are allocated).

For more information, please see our full report.


  • OFH Soup Kitchen on August 9, 2022 at 2:13 am said:

    I am greatly inspired by your report. I think I can do more with my charity to get those numbers.

  • I give to TLYCS. What are the differences between them and you?

  • Miranda Kaplan on September 14, 2022 at 9:06 am said:

    Hi, Kevin,

    The Life You Can Save is motivated by a mission similar to GiveWell’s; that is to say, both organizations encourage effective giving informed by evidence. TLYCS also recommends giving to some of GiveWell’s top charities.

    However, TLYCS is a separate organization, founded in 2013 by Peter Singer (who wrote a book of the same name in 2009), while GiveWell was founded by Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld in 2007. TLYCS is also broader than GiveWell in both its activities and its recommendations; it relies on GiveWell’s research as a basis for some of its charity recommendations, but also recommends other programs (more on its approach here).

    I hope this is helpful—let me know if you have further questions!


Comments are closed.