The GiveWell Blog

Update on our work on outreach

GiveWell’s impact is a function of the quality of our research and the amount of money we direct to our recommended charities (our “money moved”). Historically, we’ve focused mostly on research because we felt that the quality of our recommendations was a greater constraint to our impact than our money moved.

This has changed. Outreach is now a major organizational priority. The goal of this work is to increase the amount of money we direct to our top-recommended charities.

Maximizing the impact of your donation: saving on fees means more money for great charities

We recently discussed how you can give to reduce the administrative burden on charities when giving. This post will focus on how you can save money on fees and give tax-efficiently so that more of your charitable budget can go directly to the organizations you want to support. This is an updated version of a post we originally ran in 2012; some content is the same, other content has been added or updated.

Give efficiently and reduce the work for charities

GiveWell’s research aims to help donors by recommending charities we believe can put donations to use efficiently to save or improve lives. Our research focuses on maximizing the good donors can accomplish with their gifts by identifying where to donate effectively.

This is the first of two posts discussing another important aspect of giving effectively: how you donate. The second post will discuss how to maximize your gift (via tax deductions, employer matches, and other strategies) and to ensure the greatest percentage of your donation reaches the charity, rather than being taken up by fees. This post will discuss how to reduce the administrative burdens on charities by choosing your donation method wisely.

Our approach to processing undesignated donations

Though GiveWell donors typically indicate how they would like their donations to be designated – e.g., for the support of one or more of our recommended charities – we occasionally receive donations without any designation information. It is important to us that donors understand our process for handling these donations: as a general rule, we treat all undesignated donations as unrestricted gifts, which means they will most likely to be used to fund GiveWell’s operating expenses.

In this post, we will:

  1. Discuss undesignated donations more in-depth and outline our rationale for treating them as unrestricted gifts.
  2. Explain how our thinking on processing these types of donations has evolved over time to better meet our donations processing goal – to make it easy for donors to communicate their designation preferences, be transparent about where donations are allocated, and keep our administrative costs low.
  3. Provide information on how to make sure that, as a donor, your designation preferences are communicated to us.

If you have any questions about the designation of a future or past donation to GiveWell, please email us at donations@givewell.org.

GiveWell annual review for 2012: Details on GiveWell’s money moved and web traffic

This is the final post (of five) we have made focused on our self-evaluation and future plans. This post lays out highlights from our metrics report for 2012. For more detail, see our full metrics report (PDF). 1. In 2012, GiveWell tracked $9.57 million in money moved based on our recommendations, a significant increase over… Read More

Profile of a GiveWell customer

The Money for Good study examined the size of the potential audience for work like GiveWell’s. What we’d like to see next would be a study on the nature of this audience: what sort of donor is open to giving based on third-party research? How do they think, what sorts of causes are they interested… Read More