The GiveWell Blog

UNICEF Inspired Gifts: Revolution or donor illusion?

UNICEF offers you the chance to buy measles vaccines for 100 children for $27.10. And lest you complain that you’ve heard this one before, it assures you specifically that “while other organizations allow supporters to purchase ‘symbolic’ gifts, Inspired Gifts are actual items.” Is this finally the “real personal connection” donors have been waiting for?… Read More

Perspectives on donor irrationality

Jeanne Panossian left two very interesting comments on our blog discussing donor irrationality, from the point of view of someone running a small charity. On donor illusions: ” … It takes extraordinary ethical fortitude to openly tell people how complicated your organization is, normally a donor has made their basic decision in the first 15… Read More

My greatest fear about microfinance

How much of microfinance’s popularity in the world of philanthropy comes straight from this story? I was shocked to discover a woman in the village, borrowing less than a dollar from the money-lender, on the condition that he would have the exclusive right to buy all she produces at the price he decides. This, to… Read More

Too much attention on the giver’s experience; not enough on the recipient’s

From the recent discussion on Tactical Philanthropy: As philanthropists/donors/funders, we spend so much time thinking about how to maximize social benefit through our activities, that often we lose sight of the personal benefits that we experience from these endeavors. We disagree. Consider the current state of the nonprofit sector. We have practically no information about… Read More

Donor illusions

There’s an persistent conflict in international charity: It feels great to be able to say, “My donation helped THIS person.” But it’s rarely – if ever – practical for that sort of connection to be real. As a result, international charities tend to create “donor illusions” by implying that donations can be attributed more tangibly,… Read More