The GiveWell Blog

Staff members’ personal donations for giving season 2020

For this post, a number of GiveWell staff members volunteered to share the thinking behind their personal donations for the year. We’ve published similar posts in previous years.((See our staff giving posts from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.)) Staff are listed alphabetically by first name.

You can click the below links to jump to a staff member’s entry:

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GiveWell’s money moved in 2019

GiveWell donors contributed over $150 million to our recommended charities in 2019. This is the first year in our 13-year history we have reached this remarkable milestone.

While it is easy to celebrate this large headline figure, we should not lose sight of the transformative impact this number represents, nor should we overlook the compassion and generosity of the donors behind these dollars. We estimate that donations made to our top charities in 2019 will:

  • Avert the deaths of between 19,000 and 32,000 people,
  • Provide parasitic worm treatments to over 12 million children, and
  • Deliver unconditional cash transfers to over 14,000 families.[1]

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Our recommendations for giving in 2020

You can have a major, positive impact today by choosing to support organizations backed by strong evidence: our top charities.

We recommend the nonprofits that offer the most impact per dollar we’re aware of. In fact, we estimate that you can save a life by donating $3,000-$5,000 to our top recommendation.[1]

If you’re a longtime donor, you’ll recognize most of this year’s top charities. You may even wonder why our list hasn’t changed much. However, a tremendous amount of research—truly thousands of hours—has been done to ensure that these organizations continue to meet our high standards. And although there are many familiar names, one is entirely new: New Incentives.

We’re proud to share our recommendations and grateful to you for considering supporting them. We hope you’ll read on!

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Maximum Impact Fund update: Q1 and Q2 2020

Thanks to our donors, we have disbursed $23.3 million in flexible funding to our top charities this year. This generous, flexible support is worthy of celebration!

This post focuses on our decision to grant $15.3 million to the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF), which includes the $11.7 million that donors gave to “Grants to recommended charities at GiveWell’s discretion” in the first half of 2020.[1]

AMF supports the distribution of insecticide-treated nets in areas with high rates of malaria. The nets stop mosquitoes from biting and spreading the disease. We estimate our donors’ support for AMF will collectively save over 3,000 lives, mostly of young children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Guinea.[2] Without this grant, we think net distributions in DRC and Guinea would have been delayed.

We believe that AMF was the highest-impact choice for this grant. We chose AMF after assessing the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on our top charities, the urgency of our top charities’ funding needs, and our estimates of their impact per dollar. We’re grateful for GiveWell donors’ trust in providing flexible funding to fill this need.

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September 2020 open thread

Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.

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Why we’re excited to fund charities’ work a few years in the future

We recently spoke with someone who wanted to donate to a GiveWell top charity. They were interested in getting the funding “out the door” and to program participants as quickly as possible.

But our top choice for funding today is Malaria Consortium’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention program—for work it expects to complete in 2022.[1] The potential donor was puzzled. Shouldn’t we prioritize an organization that needs the money sooner?

We often recommend donations today that support programs a few years from now. This probably diverges from many people’s intuitions about getting funding out the door as soon as possible.

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