GiveWell was founded in 2007 by a group of friends in the financial sector. They were accustomed to evaluating companies based on results and performance and were surprised to learn that the same was not the norm when it came to donating to charity. There was no understanding of the impact of their donated money. As committed donors, the group looked into the matter and founded GiveWell using their own resources.

Since then, GiveWell has grown into a leading global impact research organisation in the field of health and poverty reduction. They look for organisations worldwide that:

  • demonstrably make the most impact per amount donated, and
  • are best placed to use additional donations to save or improve lives.

Each year GiveWell spends 20,000 hours on research.

Selection process

GiveWell works with a highly structured selection process. As a first step, GiveWell selects charitable causes according to the three criteria mentioned in our approach beschreven. The problem area must be:

  • important (can save or improve many lives)
  • neglected (hasn’t received much attention yet)
  • scalable and applicable on a large scale

GiveWell searches for charities from anywhere in the world that work to mitigate extreme poverty and its impacts on health and well-being. GiveWell then forms an assessment based on these four additional criteria1:


1. Proven effectiveness
Does the organisation use scientifically proven effective interventions? For example:

  • Supplying food supplements to children
  • Incentivising routine vaccinations with money
  • Taking preventive measures against malaria

2. Cost-effectiveness
Does the organisation use the resources in the best possible way? Is the impact sustainable in the long term?

3. Scope for more funding
What additional value do further donations add? Recommendations are suspended if GiveWell is not convinced of the added benefit of donations, even for strong charities.

4. Transparency
GiveWell’s intensive assessment process requires important information from each organisation. GiveWell looks for organisations that are willing to share a great deal of this information including the success of their programmes and any failures.  GiveWell publishes the full details of its analysis publically online. This means that evaluated organisations must also be prepared to be transparent in public.


GiveWell’s best charities are the result of this in-depth research. GiveWell also recommends their Top Charities Fund and All Grants Fund. This fund supports top recommended charities and also those that can do the most good with donations at that given moment2.

Our top charities have been selected by GiveWell.

The Doneer Effectief Fund for Poverty and Health follows the blueprint of GiveWell’s All Grants Fund in choosing which organisations to forward incoming donations to.

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