Tag Archives: GiveWell Highlights

GiveWell’s Research Council

As GiveWell grows and matures as an organization, we’re excited to continue learning from others in our field. We believe that actively seeking feedback on our work enables us to do more good. In May 2023, we launched a Research Council, a small group of experts we can consult on research questions and grant investigations.
We aimed to create a Council whose collective experience includes:

Deep familiarity with specific areas GiveWell researches
Substantial time working and/or living in the geographic areas where we fund work (low- and middle-income countries, primarily in Africa and South Asia)
Conducting research, especially randomized controlled trials (RCTs), on global health and development programs
Taking effective programs from pilot to scale
Working in partnership with major funding institutions and with country governments, especially the governments of countries where we support programs

So far, we’ve held three meetings with this full group to share further details of our research process and how we set our cost-effectiveness threshold. During these meetings, Council members provided helpful feedback about ways we might improve our research.
Additionally, we’ve asked Council members for their recommendations for how to approach tricky questions in our grant investigations and on bigger-picture considerations we might be missing. For example, we spoke with Council members about whether an organization’s request for additional funding seemed reasonable, about vaccination rates, and about ways to improve how we work with organizations and governments. We’ve also asked Council members for referrals to other experts on specific topics of interest.
This Council is a new initiative for getting external feedback. For this first iteration, we’ve invited people who are familiar with GiveWell’s work, all of whom have some current or previous affiliation with organizations to which GiveWell has recommended funding. We wanted to start with a small group of advisors we already knew in some capacity; depending on how this initiative goes, we might expand in the future to include a wider set of experts. We’ll also continue to seek input on our research from external advisors and experts beyond this Council.
While seeking external feedback is an important part of our process, all GiveWell funding and organizational decisions are made solely at our discretion and may not reflect the views of external contributors, and vice-versa.
Currently, our Research Council includes six members, listed below and on this page.

Amrita Ahuja is Vice President

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GiveWell from A to Z

To celebrate the end of 2023, we’re highlighting a few key things to know about GiveWell—from A to Z. These aren’t necessarily the 26 most important parts of our work (e.g., we could include only “transparency” or “top charities” for T) but they do fit the alphabet, and we’ve linked to other pages where you can learn more.
All Grants Fund. Our recommendation for donors who have a high level of trust in GiveWell and are open to programs that might be riskier than our top charities.
Bar. We set a cost-effectiveness bar, or threshold, such that we expect to be able to fully fund all the opportunities above that level of cost-effectiveness. This bar isn’t a hard limit; we consider qualitative factors in our recommendations, as discussed here. This post also discusses our bar in more detail.
Cost-effectiveness. The core question we try to answer in our research is: How much good can you do by giving money to a certain program? This blog post describes how we approach cost-effectiveness estimates and use them in our work.
Donors. Unlike a foundation, we don’t hold an endowment. Our impact comes from donors choosing to use our recommendations.
Effective giving organizations. Organizations like Effektiv Spenden fundraise for programs we recommend and provide tax-deductible donation options in a variety of countries. We’re grateful to these national effective giving organizations and groups like Giving What We Can that recommend our work.
Footnotes.1Our research materials wouldn’t be complete without footnotes; they support our commitment to transparency. Citing our sources and explaining our claims makes it possible for people to check our work for themselves and draw their own conclusions. jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_14668_1_1’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_14668_1_1’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], });
Generalizability. How well evidence generalizes to different settings, including variations in program implementation and the contexts where a program is delivered. Also called “external validity.”
Health workers and community distributors. The people who deliver many of the programs we support; includes both professional health workers and distributors who receive stipends to deliver programs in their local communities. For example, community distributors go from household to household to provide seasonal malaria chemoprevention to millions of children.
Incubating new programs. We partner with the Evidence Action Accelerator and Clinton Health Access

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Neil Buddy Shah has been appointed CEO of the Clinton Health Access Initiative

I am excited to share that GiveWell Managing Director Buddy Shah has been appointed CEO of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), a major global health organization working across a range of issues including malaria prevention and maternal and neonatal health. This news is bittersweet for me. I’m sad to be losing the talent, advice, and thought partnership Buddy brought to GiveWell, but I’m thrilled that he is taking up this position—the global health sector will be stronger for it.
CHAI is gaining a great leader in Buddy. But perhaps more importantly for GiveWell and our supporters, this appointment is a signal that effective giving is contributing to more corners of the global health landscape than ever before. Buddy is a strong champion of impact maximization, and I am excited that he will apply this lens in his new role.
I am also pleased that this transition does not mark the end of Buddy’s relationship with GiveWell. It is important that GiveWell maintain strong connections with leading organizations in the global health sector. With Buddy at the helm of CHAI, there will be another important voice advocating for programs that increase health outcomes as much as possible per dollar spent.
We wish our best to Buddy in his new role, and we look forward to maximizing impact together for many years to come.
The post Neil Buddy Shah has been appointed CEO of the Clinton Health Access Initiative appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

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Reflecting on our progress in 2019

GiveWell grew significantly in 2019. We hired 13 full-time staff members, bringing our total size to 37, and expanded our ability to take on new projects across domains. We feel positioned to do more and better work going forward as a result.
We see a strong indication that the amount of funding we directed to our recommended charities increased last year, too. While we haven’t reconciled all giving from 2019, the value of donations we processed increased by about 30% in 2019.
We’re proud of what we accomplished in 2019. We also fell short of some goals last year. Most notably, we failed to make as much progress as we planned in researching new areas of global health and poverty alleviation.
This blog post provides a brief look at our key successes and failures last year. A more detailed accounting of how our progress in 2019 compared to the goals we set is available on this page.
Successes
Hiring new staff
Years of planning for our needs and recruiting efforts culminated in hiring 13 new staff to join our small team in 2019. GiveWell ended last year over 50% bigger than it was at the end of 2018.
We hired across the domains of our work: seven joined the research team, two joined the outreach team, three joined the operations team, and one will serve as Managing Director. We expect each staff member will enable us to accomplish more and achieve better outcomes across these key areas of our work. Below, we highlight a few senior hires whom we expect to help steer the direction of our work.

Managing Director. We hired Neil Buddy Shah as our first Managing Director in late 2019. Buddy will work closely with GiveWell’s CEO Elie Hassenfeld to set GiveWell’s high-level strategy. He will also engage with the international development community to learn from and contribute to discussions of how to do as much good as possible and to identify promising funding opportunities. We expect Buddy to start at GiveWell this summer.
Research. We’ve been looking to hire senior researchers to expand our ability to assess new types of evidence since 2016. We described in early 2019 how our research is evolving and how we hoped to hire additional experienced researchers to enable us to do this work. We hired Alex Cohen and Teryn

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