GiveWell was created by a group of friends working in finance. When they wanted to donate to charities themselves, they were astonished at how difficult it was to find information about the impact of the charities’ work. They started to investigate this thoroughly, and in 2007 two of them started GiveWell full-time.

Since then, GiveWell has grown into a leading global impact research organization in the field of health and poverty reduction. They search worldwide for organizations that

● make the most impact per amount donated, and
● are best able to make use of additional donations in saving or improving lives.

Every year, GiveWell spends over 20,000 hours on research.

Selection process

GiveWell works in the area of global health and poverty alleviation because it has found that this is where donations can do the most good, according to its criteria:

1. Effectiveness

Does the organization use evidence-backed, effective interventions? These interventions have included:

• deworming school-children,
• providing cash incentives for childhood vaccinations,
• distributing vitamin A supplements,
• preventing malaria with nets and medication

2. Cost effectiveness

Does the organization use the resources in a way that accomplishes a high amount of good for the cost? For example, GiveWell looks for charities that perform well on metrics such as “cost per life saved.”

3. Room for more funding

What do extra donations add? Recommendations are suspended if GiveWell is not convinced of the added value of donations, even for strong charities.

4. Transparency

GiveWell’s intensive review process requires significant information from each organization. GiveWell looks for organizations that share significantly with it, including about how successfully they are implementing their programs and also about any mistakes made. GiveWell publishes the full details of its analysis online, and so organizations must also be willing to be publicly transparent.

GiveWell’s top charity recommendations are the result of this in-depth investigation.

GiveWell also recommends a Maximum Impact Fund for donors, which it grants to the top charity or charities that can do the most good. The Maximum Impact Fund is GiveWell’s top recommendation for donors.

You can find out how to donate to GiveWell on the Health page.

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