Tag Archives: givewell

December 2021 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 info@givewell.org 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.
You can view previous open threads here.
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Staff members’ personal donations for giving season 2021

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.1See our staff giving posts from 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013. jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_13569_1_1’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_13569_1_1’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], }); Staff are listed alphabetically by first name.
You can click the below links to jump to a staff member’s entry:

Andrew Martin
Audrey Cooper
Elie Hassenfeld
Isabel Arjmand
James Snowden
Maggie Lloydhauser
Natalie Crispin
Olivia Larsen
Roman Guglielmo

Andrew Martin (Senior Research Associate)
I’m planning to give 100% of my donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund (MIF). I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year working on the cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) that GiveWell uses as a major input into allocation decisions for the MIF. My work on the CEA, as well as my observations of all the care and thoroughness that my colleagues put into research on where to allocate MIF funding, increases my confidence that this is the best option for my personal donation.
Audrey Cooper (Philanthropy Advisor)
My family generally sets aside 10% of our income for charitable giving. This year, we’ll be supporting GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund, to save lives and alleviate poverty, and the International Refugee Assistance Project, which focuses on both advocacy and direct service for displaced people. We also make a small monthly gift to a criminal justice-focused organization working to provide alternative sentencing options in our city.
Throughout the year, we make a few additional donations that typically come out of our regular spending budget, rather than the money we’ve set aside for giving. For instance, we make gifts in honor of friends, for birthdays/special occasions or when they’ve organized a fundraiser for a cause they’re passionate about. We also make small donations to organizations in our neighborhood (such as the local community garden and an agency serving people experiencing homelessness) and to organizations that we benefit from but that are technically nonprofits (museum memberships, etc.). I think of these donations as paying into organizations that are providing public goods and making my city a better place, rather than as cost-effective charitable donations. Together, these types of donations represent a small portion of our giving—less than 1% of our income.
Elie

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Our recommendations for giving in 2021

You can have a remarkable impact by supporting cost-effective, evidence-based charities.
Just looking at the approximately $100 million[1] GiveWell had discretion to grant in 2020—a subset of all the money we directed to the charities we recommend—the impact of our donors is impressive. We estimate these grants will:

Save more than 24,000 lives
Treat over 6 million children with a full course of antimalarial medication
Provide vitamin A supplementation to over 8.6 million children
Deliver over 4.4 million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) to protect against malaria
Vaccinate 118,000 children
Treat over 11.4 million children for parasitic worms

We’re grateful for your support and interest in our work, and we’re excited to share our recommendations and updates on our recent research. We hope you consider donating to some of the truly outstanding charities we recommend.

Summary

We continue to recommend the same excellent top charities.
Our top recommendation: GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund
GiveWell’s evolving role
How our research teams have increased our room for more funding

Our top charities team identified many more cost-effective funding opportunities in 2021.
Our new interventions team identified a number of promising new program areas to support.
We finalized three initial focus areas for high-leverage work within public health regulation and investigated grants in each of those areas.

​​
Updates to our impact estimates
Giving unrestricted funding
How to give efficiently
Ways to learn more

We continue to recommend the same excellent top charities.
The nine charities we recommend are high-impact, cost-effective, and backed by evidence and our rigorous analysis. This year, our top charities list remains unchanged.
While our list of recommendations is the same, we have made major strides in our research identifying new giving opportunities within our top charities. We expect to direct about $300 million to our top charities in 2021, compared to about $180 million in 2020. More detail on this below.
We’ve also made major strides in identifying new opportunities that are as cost-effective as current top charities, and expect to grant about $130 million to new interventions this year. We expect to continue that work in 2022.
Our top recommendation: GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund
Our Maximum Impact Fund remains our top recommendation for donors who want to do as much good as possible with their gift. As always, we take no fees, and grant from our Maximum Impact Fund on a quarterly basis to the opportunities where we believe additional donations will help the most.
Cost-effectiveness varies

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Why malnutrition treatment is one of our top research priorities

We believe malnutrition is a very promising area for charitable funding in the future. In 2021, we directed nearly $30 million to two organizations—The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) and International Rescue Committee (IRC)—working on malnutrition, and we expect to direct more funding to malnutrition programs in the future. (We have published a write-up about one of these grants here and will publish write-ups about the other grants in the near future.)[1] To give a sense of what we expect, we would not be surprised if GiveWell directs as much funding to malnutrition in the future as we have to malaria programs in recent years.
We haven’t written much about this cause, so we thought it was important to remedy that. In this post we will share:

What malnutrition is and the scope of the problem. While we have remaining uncertainties, we estimate that 45 to 210 million children experience malnutrition each year and that malnutrition increases their chance of death by two to seven times relative to children who aren’t malnourished. More below.
How NGOs and governments support treatment. NGOs and governments implement relatively simple programs to treat malnutrition.
Why we believe these programs are promising. In sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for nearly 25% of global cases and where we have the best understanding, we estimate that the total funding gap for malnutrition programs is between $350 million and $13 billion, at a cost of $2,000 to $18,000 per death averted.
What our remaining open questions are. We have open questions about the evidence, what it means for the likely effect size of the programs we’re supporting, and challenges to support organizations growing significantly to meet the large global need.

We’re not recommending that donors give to malnutrition programs at this time. We’ve filled the cost-effective funding gaps that we’ve identified. We’re investigating further spending opportunities and expect to direct additional funding to malnutrition programs in the future, but we don’t have specific recommendations for donors today. Now, we continue to recommend that most donors give to our Maximum Impact Fund.
A note on the estimates below
As you’ll note, most of our estimates involve very wide ranges. This includes our estimate for the number of children globally who experience severe malnutrition, the cost to reach them, and the cost-effectiveness of programs we might fund.

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GiveWell’s money moved in 2020

2020 was another year of tremendous growth. GiveWell donors contributed over $240 million to our recommended charities (our “2020 money moved”), a 60% increase from the approximately $150 million we directed in 2019. This is part of an exciting, long-term trend. Just a decade ago, in 2010, GiveWell’s total money moved was $1.5 million.[1]
We believe these donations will save tens of thousands of lives and benefit many others. This incredible impact would not be possible without the continued support and generosity of our donors. While our research enables us to identify and recommend highly cost-effective giving opportunities, our donors are responsible for turning those recommendations into real change for some of the poorest individuals in the world.
This post lays out highlights from our final 2020 money moved report and shares more details about how donors gave to GiveWell’s recommended charities in 2020.[2]

Summary of influence: In 2020, GiveWell influenced charitable giving in several ways. The following table summarizes our understanding of this influence.

Headline money moved: In 2020, we confidently tracked $244 million in money moved to our recommended charities, and via our GiveWell Incubation Grants program. This amount, which we call “headline money moved,” only counts donations that we are confident were influenced by our recommendations. This includes the grants we make through the Maximum Impact Fund. See Appendix 1 of our 2020 metrics report for additional details on how we calculate our money moved.
We also estimate that we are responsible for an additional $3 million in donations, but we are unable to attribute these donations directly to GiveWell. Because we are more uncertain about this influence, we do not include this amount in our “headline money moved” figure but include it in our “best guess of total money directed to charities” figure. [3]
The chart below shows the breakdown of our headline money moved into the following categories: grants that Open Philanthropy made to our recommended charities, donations from other donors to our recommended charities, and Incubation Grants. Please note that Open Philanthropy support (marked in gray) does not include funding it provided for GiveWell Incubation Grants, which are shown separately in purple. [4]

Money moved by charity (excluding Incubation Grants): Our nine top charities received the majority of our money moved. Our nine standout charities received a total of $2.2 million.

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Initial thoughts on malaria vaccine approval

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently recommended the widespread use of the malaria vaccine RTS,S/AS011We’ll use “RTS,S” as shorthand in this post. jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_13408_1_1’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_13408_1_1’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], }); for children. It provides an additional, effective tool to fight malaria. This is great news!
We’ve been following this vaccine’s development for years and, in the last few months, have been speaking with organizations involved in its development and potential wider rollout.
Our work on RTS,S (and other malaria vaccines) is ongoing, and we might significantly update our views in the near future. But because we’ve been following its progress, we’re sharing some initial thoughts.
In brief

This vaccine is a promising addition to the set of tools available to fight malaria, but it’s not a panacea. We expect long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) and seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC)—interventions provided through two of the programs we currently recommend—to continue to be important in the fight against malaria in the near term.2

The parts of the WHO news release that we have bolded indicate that RTS,S should be used with existing malaria control interventions:

“WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus [said,] ‘Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.’”
“WHO recommends that in the context of comprehensive malaria control the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine be used for the prevention of P. falciparum malaria in children living in regions with moderate to high transmission as defined by WHO.”
Similarly, Gavi’s news release states: “The vaccine will be a complementary malaria control tool to be added to the core package of WHO-recommended measures for malaria prevention. This includes the routine use of insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor spraying with insecticides, malaria chemoprevention strategies, and the timely use of malaria testing and treatment.”
jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_13408_1_2’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_13408_1_2’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], });
Simple comparisons of potential costs and effectiveness of RTS,S and SMC suggest that SMC could be more cost-effective (see below). But there are lots of unknowns about RTS,S that could change that.
We are actively looking into whether there are promising funding opportunities in this space.
So:

For the time being, this news

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We’re discontinuing the standout charity designation

We aim to maximize our impact. That means we focus on directing funds as cost-effectively as we can. Rather than recommending a long list of potential giving options, we focus on finding the organizations that save or improve lives the most per dollar.1We focus on providing a short list of impact-maximizing options that we have intensely vetted. We don’t aim to recommend a long list of potential options for donors. jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_13382_1_1’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_13382_1_1’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], });
Going forward, we will no longer publish a list of standout charities alongside our list of top charities. We think our standout charities are excellent, but we believe donors should support top charities.2For example, in a 2019 blog post on standout charities (“What are standout charities?”), we wrote: “We don’t advise giving to our standout charities over our top charities because we believe that top charities have a greater impact per dollar donated. By definition, top charities have cleared a higher bar of review from GiveWell.” jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_13382_1_2’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_13382_1_2’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], });
Removing standout charities will lead our website to better reflect our recommendations for donors. We hope it will reduce confusion about the difference between top and standout charities and help us direct funding as cost-effectively as possible.
We continue to see the nine standout charities we’ve shared as very strong organizations. This decision doesn’t in any way reflect changes in our evaluation of their programs.
What are standout charities?
We define standout charities as follows:
Standout charities “support programs that may be extremely cost-effective and are evidence-backed. We do not feel as confident in the impact of these organizations as we do in our top charities. However, we have reviewed their work and believe these groups stand out from the vast majority of organizations we have considered in terms of the evidence base for the program they support, their transparency, and their potential cost-effectiveness.”
In other words, we expect that funds directed to top charities are more likely to have a significant impact than those directed to standout charities. We created the standout charity designation to recognize organizations we reviewed that didn’t quite

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September 2021 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 info@givewell.org 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.
You can view previous open threads here.
The post September 2021 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

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June 2021 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 info@givewell.org 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.
You can view previous open threads here.
The post June 2021 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

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Early signs show that you gave more in 2020 than 2019—thank you!

Our donor community appears to have given significantly more in 2020 than 2019, according to early data on donations we processed.
Growth was strong relative to previous years—even 2019, which also had strong growth—and across many different dimensions. Overall, donations to GiveWell more than doubled in 2020.
We estimate that these donations will collectively save more than 12,000 lives; provide over 2 million deworming treatments to children, leading to an approximate increase in that group’s lifetime earnings of more than $21 million; and deliver almost 3,000 cash transfers to low-income households. For simplicity, the impact estimates in this paragraph exclude some donation types, and so don’t represent the full impact of donations to GiveWell in 2020.[1]
“Donations to GiveWell” refers to donations that we received directly:

It includes donations to GiveWell for our recommended organizations—including for the Maximum Impact Fund—and unrestricted funding, which may be used for our operations.[2]
It excludes donations that were made directly to our recommended organizations (via their own donation platforms) as a direct result of our research, or to other groups that accept donations for GiveWell and/or our recommended organizations, since we don’t yet have complete information about those donations.[3] It also excludes GiveWell Incubation Grant funding.[4] Most donations from Open Philanthropy, a major philanthropic grantmaker with which we work closely, are part of this excluded category because they were made directly to our recommended organizations.[5]We expect these excluded donations to account for a large proportion of total funding we influenced last year. For example, in 2019, we received $54.9 million in “donations to GiveWell.” When we received complete information about donations made directly to our recommended organizations or groups supporting them due to our research, and included them in our assessment of our influence, the amount of money we tracked increased to $155.1 million.[6]

While this post is only a preliminary look at our donors’ collective giving last year, the early signs show incredible growth. Thank you to our donor community!
The takeaway: donations to GiveWell more than doubled
We received more than twice as much funding in 2020 as we did in 2019.
Please click to see larger image.
All amounts are rounded to the nearest $100,000. This chart excludes most support from Open Philanthropy and most GiveWell Incubation Grants.[7]
A caveat: we can slice our data in many different ways. Please take care

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Update on Board meeting transparency

One of GiveWell’s organizational values is maintaining a high degree of transparency about our work. As part of our transparency efforts, we’ve published written materials and audio recordings from each meeting of GiveWell’s Board of Directors since we were founded.
We recently increased the quality of and level of detail in the written materials we share with our Board members prior to each meeting. We made this update to improve our engagement with our Board. As we’re continuing to publish these written materials, this update will also improve our public transparency.
We’ve decided to stop publishing audio recordings going forward, as we don’t think they were very helpful to understanding our work and there were costs to producing them.
Overall, we believe that our updated written Board materials provide a better view of our governance than the previous combination of less-detailed written materials and audio.
As no longer sharing audio is the end of a longstanding practice, we want to explain in a bit more detail what you can expect from our Board meeting materials going forward and why we’re making this change.
Why we share Board meeting materials
We’ve published materials from our Board meetings since GiveWell was founded in 2007. While we don’t share everything publicly—we redact sensitive or confidential information, such as details about staff performance (more here)—the amount we share is uncommon in the nonprofit sector. Our aim is to be open about key topics and questions related to GiveWell’s progress and future plans.
We’ve increased Board engagement through written materials, which we publish on our website
Before each meeting, we share written materials with Board members.1You can see an example of the materials here, under “Attachments.” jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_13254_1_1’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_13254_1_1’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], }); We’ve recently set the goal of using these materials to tell Board members approximately everything they need to know about the topics on the meeting agenda, which means these materials are more substantive now. In the past, we weren’t committed to writing everything down.
We now ask the Board to closely review the materials before each meeting so that they can send us questions, which we answer in writing. Meetings center on any remaining questions about our written responses.
We publish all of these materials

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March 2021 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 info@givewell.org 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.
You can view previous open threads here.
The post March 2021 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

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Donors in the Netherlands can now make tax-deductible gifts through GiveWell

We’re excited to announce that donations to GiveWell are now tax-deductible in the Netherlands!
Dutch donors can make donations on the GiveWell donate page. Our top recommendation for all donors is to give to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund, which we grant regularly to our recommended charities according to where we believe donations can do the most good.
Additional details for donors in the Netherlands
GiveWell is a registered Public Benefit Organization (Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling, or ANBI) in the Netherlands. Our status is listed here, under our legal name, The Clear Fund. Our identification number, or RSIN, is 8262.78.516.
We are happy to accept one-time donations, recurring donations, and five-year gift agreements (periodic gift agreements) for donors in the Netherlands. For general questions, please contact donations@givewell.org. Dutch donors who are specifically interested in setting up a periodic agreement should email operations@givewell.org.
Information for donors outside of the Netherlands
Our donors have requested additional giving options outside of the United States. The Netherlands is the first country in which we have registered outside of the U.S. We plan to register in additional countries going forward.
Current information about tax-deductibility for GiveWell donors outside of the Netherlands and the United States may be found here.
We would like to thank Effective Altruism Netherlands for their help with our registration process. Thank you!
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Do you have questions about giving in 2020?

Many people make charitable donations in December. If you’re considering making a gift in the coming weeks and you want more information before doing so, we’re happy to help!
We’re glad to answer questions in writing and on the phone. For written responses, please email donations@givewell.org or leave a comment on this blog post. For a phone call, please fill out this form to request a call with a GiveWell staff member.
We’re happy to field questions on topics like:

which organizations we recommend most highly today and why,
the pros and cons of different donation methods,
the tax deductibility of different giving options and the implications of the CARES Act for U.S. donors,
support for logistical questions about making a donation,
additional details on the Maximum Impact Fund, our top recommendation for donors,
and more.

We hope to hear from you!
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December 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 info@givewell.org 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.
You can view our September 2020 open thread here.
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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!

Summary
In this post, we’ll cover:

How to give in 2020
Our work on COVID-19
Key research updates
Introducing New Incentives
Giving to GiveWell’s operations
How to give efficiently
Ways to learn more

How to give in 2020
Our nine top charities are the best opportunities we’ve found for donors to save or improve lives.
We conduct an intense, monthslong assessment of each top charity before determining it can be added to our list. All top charities meet our high standards for evidence of effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and transparency. We believe they will use donations well.
However, our work to ensure that our top charities meet our standards isn’t the end of our process. We continually assess where funding is most needed within our list of top charities. Donors can support the highest-priority needs by giving to our Maximum Impact Fund.
The Maximum Impact Fund is our top recommendation for donors who want to do as much good as possible with their gift. We regularly make grants from the Maximum Impact Fund to our top charities. We direct these grants where we believe they will achieve the most good at the time they’re given.
Our top charities’ funding needs constantly change. For example, a top charity might identify an opportunity to work in a new country that requires more funding than it has on hand. Another might receive a large grant that fills its immediate funding needs. We continually monitor these changes and re-prioritize our top charities’ needs.
Giving to the Maximum Impact Fund is the best way to take advantage of our latest research and to ensure your

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Maximum Impact Fund update: We estimate GiveWell donors’ $15.3 million to the Against Malaria Foundation will save over 3,000 lives

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.
Why we chose AMF
We typically allocate flexible donations to our top charities every quarter. However, we delayed allocating the donations we received to “Grants to recommended charities at GiveWell’s discretion” in the first quarter of 2020. We wanted to better understand the impact of the growing COVID-19 pandemic on charities’ budgets and plans before making a decision about where funding would have the greatest impact.
AMF was a top contender for receiving this grant because of its high estimated impact per dollar. It is continuing its work during the pandemic, with some delays and modifications.[3] However, we wanted to resolve a couple open questions about its work before making a grant.[4]
First, we wanted to make sure that AMF needed additional funding. At the end of 2019, it held around $70 million that was earmarked for specific distributions, but we were unsure how much of this funding would be formally committed.[5] As of June 2020, AMF had committed nearly all of this funding and held only around $4 million in uncommitted funds.[6] Distributions AMF hoped to carry out in DRC and Guinea in late 2021 to early 2022 would require significantly more than $4 million.[7] There is a strong

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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 info@givewell.org 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.
You can view our June 2020 open thread here.
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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.
Three key reasons why funding today leads to more impact in the future
1. Upfront coordination and planning increases charities’ impact.
Highly effective charities tend to spend a lot of time preparing before they implement their programs.
The Against Malaria Foundation (AMF) is a GiveWell top charity that supports the distribution of insecticide-treated nets, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. These nets are hung over sleeping spaces and prevent mosquitoes from biting and transmitting potentially deadly malaria. AMF says the ideal lead time for its work is 23 months.[2] During that time, it takes the following steps:

Choosing a location: AMF decides where it should direct funding to have the greatest impact. It considers malaria prevalence, the number of people in need of nets, and whether partner organizations can conduct distributions according to AMF requirements.[3]
Negotiating an agreement: AMF and the country’s national malaria program negotiate a net distribution agreement and seek government approval.[4]
Ordering nets: AMF negotiates with net manufacturers to place an order for nets suited to local needs, which may vary in size, color, and insecticide.[5]
Producing, shipping, and transporting nets: Nets are manufactured and shipped to regional warehouses.[6]
Visiting households: AMF’s partners visit households to determine how many nets are needed.[7]

Some of these steps are practical requirements for conducting a distribution, such as ordering and shipping nets to the relevant location. Other steps increase the impact of the distribution. Though 23 months may seem like a long lead time, it enables AMF to coordinate with in-country groups, identify the highest-need areas, order the quantities and types of nets that are most suitable for those areas, and select partners that can conduct high-quality distributions and monitoring. We believe that the overall impact of donations is much greater than they would be if

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A brief look at how some groups we’ve supported are responding to COVID-19

Organizations supporting and delivering public health and poverty alleviation programs have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways. Here, we provide a brief look at how some of the groups we’ve supported are responding to the pandemic.
We share an example of a charity that continues to implement its health program, with modifications for social distancing and safety; charities that have paused their programs, but continue supporting their staff; and a charity that is allocating funding to pandemic-response efforts.
This is neither a comprehensive update nor a static one. The situation is evolving rapidly. We will share a more complete update on what the pandemic means for our top charities and their funding needs closer to the end of the year. We continue to recommend that donors give to “Grants to recommended charities at GiveWell’s discretion,” which we allocate among our recommended charities where we see the greatest need.
What follows is a snapshot of what’s happening now.
Examples of how charities are responding
A charity that is continuing its program, but with modifications: Malaria Consortium’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention program
Seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) is the delivery of anti-malarial medication to children under age five during the time of year when malaria transmission is highest.[1] The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that programs to prevent malaria, including SMC, continue during the pandemic.[2]
Malaria Consortium is a GiveWell top charity that supports SMC campaigns (primarily door-to-door) in the Sahel region of Africa.[3] We expect Malaria Consortium’s next SMC distributions to take place during the upcoming July-to-October rainy season.[4]
GiveWell-directed funding to Malaria Consortium’s SMC program is flexible. We don’t restrict its use to specific activities. That means Malaria Consortium can use GiveWell-directed funds to quickly adapt its distribution model to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Malaria Consortium will aim to provide personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves, to its community SMC distributors. It also plans to provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, soap, bio-waste bags, and additional T-shirts and hijabs.[5] Malaria Consortium has instructed community distributors to maintain two meters of distance in their interactions and to share information on how to prevent COVID-19 while visiting each household.[6]

Image from Malaria Consortium’s visual aid for community distributors. SPAQ (sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine) is medication to prevent malaria.
Overall, Malaria Consortium expects slightly higher costs for its campaigns as a result

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