The GiveWell Blog

The Maximum Impact Fund is now the Top Charities Fund

We’ve decided to rename the Maximum Impact Fund to better describe what opportunities this fund supports. The Maximum Impact Fund will now be called the Top Charities Fund.

We recently announced changes to our top charity criteria that include a new requirement for our top charities: that we have a high degree of confidence in our expectations about the impact of their programs. Alongside this update, we also introduced a new giving option, the All Grants Fund. The All Grants Fund supports the full range of GiveWell’s grantmaking and can be allocated to any grant that meets our cost-effectiveness bar—including opportunities outside of our top charities and riskier grants with high expected value.

The new All Grants Fund is a complement to what we have called our Maximum Impact Fund, which is granted to cost-effective opportunities among our top charities. However, we’ve received feedback that describing the fund which supports grantmaking only to our top charities as having “Maximum Impact” is confusing in light of the opportunity to support a wider range of opportunities (with potentially higher expected value) through the All Grants Fund.

Based on this feedback, we’ve decided to change the name of the Maximum Impact Fund to the Top Charities Fund.

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Announcing the Change Our Mind Contest for critiques of our cost-effectiveness analyses

We’re extremely excited to be announcing the Change Our Mind Contest to encourage critiques of our cost-effectiveness analyses that could lead to substantial improvements of our overall allocation of funds. For all the details, see this page.

Cost-effectiveness is the single most important input in our decisions about what programs to recommend, and we believe it’s possible that we’re missing important considerations or making mistakes that lead us to allocate funding suboptimally. We’ve been excited to see people engaging with our cost-effectiveness analyses, and we’d like to inspire more of that engagement.

With that in mind, we’re inviting you to identify potentially important mistakes or weaknesses in our existing cost-effectiveness analyses and tell us about them!

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Our UK supporters can now make tax-deductible donations through GiveWell UK

GiveWell UK is now fully registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in the United Kingdom. Our UK supporters now have a tax-deductible option for donating directly to GiveWell!

The basics

We’ve launched GiveWell UK as a UK Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), with the registered charity number 1196392, and the official UK partner of GiveWell. Beginning with the 2022 tax year, eligible UK taxpayers may take tax deductions for donations to GiveWell UK.( These donations are also eligible for Gift Aid.

GiveWell UK donations may be directed toward GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund (MIF), All Grants Fund, top charities, or unrestricted support for GiveWell’s US operations. Donations will be granted out on a quarterly basis in line with the recommendations of GiveWell’s US-based research team, upon the approval of GiveWell UK’s trustees (more here).

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Changes to our top charity criteria, and a new giving option

Since 2007, GiveWell has maintained a list of top charities. The organizations and programs on that list have changed over time, but the goal has remained the same: to help donors decide where to give.

In service of that goal, we’ve spent roughly the last year working on a plan to add to and update our criteria for top charities, so that they accurately reflect our prioritization of funding opportunities and are more helpful to donors. The revised criteria emphasize programs from which we expect high impact, with the additional requirement that we have a high degree of confidence in our expectation.

We hope these changes will also draw a brighter line for donors between our top charities and other excellent funding opportunities we support, a distinction that we haven’t always made clear. Recognizing that some donors want to contribute to grants outside our top charities list, we’re also introducing a new giving option: the All Grants Fund. Providing this option as a complement to the Maximum Impact Fund is an important step as grants to programs outside our top charities become a bigger part of our work.

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GiveWell’s 2021 metrics report

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.

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An update on GiveWell’s funding projections

As little as six months ago, we were in the position of having more funding available than we could spend on opportunities that met our very high cost-effectiveness bar. Today, the opposite is true—we don’t expect to have enough funding to support all the cost-effective opportunities we find.

In this post we will: provide an update on GiveWell’s projected funding position, explain how we have been successful in identifying cost-effective opportunities, and share our initial thoughts about what this update means for GiveWell’s forward-looking grantmaking strategy.

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