The GiveWell Blog

What If We Have Extra?

What do you do if you’re in the very fortunate position of having more money than you need to meet your own immediate needs? You might find new things to buy. You might stockpile it for a rainy day. You might donate it to cost-effective global health programs. Or you might do some combination of the three.

GiveWell thinks about that same question.

First, a bit of context: All donations made to GiveWell’s Top Charities Fund, All Grants Fund, and recommended organizations go to the programs we recommend. (We do not take a percentage of donations made to recommended organizations through GiveWell’s website, nor do we receive any fees from organizations for being featured on our site.)

Our own organizational needs are met by donors who choose to direct funding to GiveWell’s operations (by giving to our Unrestricted Fund). In other words, we are supported only by donors who explicitly choose to support GiveWell itself through unrestricted donations.

But what happens when we receive more unrestricted donations than we need? We could choose to spend the funds on something new for the organization. We could squirrel those funds away, building an endowment to cover future needs. Or, like you, we could donate to cost-effective global health programs.

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More than a Spoonful of Medicine

What does it take to prevent malaria? Some of the programs GiveWell recommends might sound straightforward—for example, seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) programs provide antimalarial drugs to young children—but the process of accomplishing this is not simple at all.

Below, we offer a post from Malaria Consortium that describes the many complex steps required to carry out an SMC campaign. See our reports for more information about the evidence for SMC and about Malaria Consortium’s SMC program.

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Some Things We’re Reading

Today we’re sharing a few quotes from pieces we’ve come across recently in our work—claims have not been vetted, and (of course) interest is not endorsement.

  • The story of Ethiopian manufacturing—its rise, its faltering, and its potential for renewal—is an example, I believe, of where a little more empathy can lead to better economics.” (Oliver Kim, Global Developments)
  • “Every year, tuberculosis kills over a million people. Can a new vaccine turn the tide? For the last 100 years, we’ve only had one TB vaccine—and it leaves a lot to be desired.” (Jess Craig, Future Perfect)

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