The GiveWell Blog

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

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

Is fundraising stuck in the world of Mad Men?

Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car… It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is okay. You are okay. — Don Draper on AMC’s Mad Men. (Video… Read More