Tag Archives: givewell

Researcher spotlight: Erin Crossett, GiveWell Program Officer

Our research team spends over 50,000 hours a year looking for cost-effective organizations and interventions to save and improve lives, with the goal of producing the world’s top research on where to give. This interview with Program Officer Erin Crossett provides a glimpse into the world of GiveWell research.

Q: What made you interested in joining the GiveWell research team?
A: I really cared about working at a place where evidence of real impact was the key determinant of what we investigated and what we funded. I think a lot of organizations nominally care about impact, and the term “impact” gets thrown around a lot. But I think it really means something at GiveWell—it’s a core part of the GiveWell research DNA, and that’s very motivating.
Q: What grant are you most proud of contributing to during your time at GiveWell?
A: Actually the first grant I made at GiveWell: a grant to the Development Innovation Lab (DIL) at the University of Chicago to launch what we hoped would be a large, multi-site randomized controlled trial of water quality interventions. The trial was powered to detect mortality, looking at the effect of vouchers (coupons to redeem for free chlorine) and in-line chlorination (chlorine provided via an automatic dispenser added to an existing water pump) on all-cause mortality in children under five.
This grant was exciting for a number of reasons—it’s really rare to be able to run trials that are powered to detect mortality because it requires a really big sample size, and logistically, it’s quite complex to run a trial of that size. So the fact that we could do it, or even that we just took the first step to do it, is very exciting.
Before I joined GiveWell, a couple researchers on the team did a lot of work to make our first investments in clean water, but we were really uncertain about the effect of chlorination on all-cause mortality. This trial could reduce some of that uncertainty and potentially lead us to invest significantly more in water quality interventions. If the results are less promising than we thought, that could instead lead us to direct money to other interventions that are more cost-effective. So this research has real implications for how we direct large amounts of money. We would also learn

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

The hardest part about fundraising for GiveWell

May marked my three-year anniversary as a Philanthropy Advisor at GiveWell. It’s a job I adore (as I’ve written about here and here), and I’ve recently been tasked with the exciting process of interviewing candidates for our growing team.
One of the best questions I’ve been asked in this process is: What’s the hardest part about fundraising for GiveWell? The short answer: GiveWell is funding constrained, but we can’t point at a specific opportunity and say, “If you donate now, here’s the impact your donation will actually cause.”
Instead, our answer is fairly abstract, and pretty far from traditional fundraising language. We tell donors that we would spend additional money on opportunities at or above our cost-effectiveness bar (which translates to saving a life for about $5,000), but we’re unable to explain in advance precisely what we will allocate additional funds to. That answer isn’t as compelling as telling someone a vivid story about how their money alone would allow us to fund a great program we’ll otherwise have to decline, but it has the advantage of being completely accurate and true.
It’s natural that people aligned with GiveWell’s approach would ask about the true impact their funds unlock, and also about what would happen if they don’t give. After all, these are key questions1To learn more about how we fund, check out our “How We Work” blog series. jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_14984_1_1’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_14984_1_1’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], }); we think about as a funder. Donors make careful decisions about how much to give, when to give, and where to allocate gifts according to their priorities; to make those decisions, they need to know what we’d do with their money and what we would be prevented from doing if they don’t donate.
But the GiveWell research process doesn’t lend itself to easy answers to these questions. So indulge me, if you will, in an extended metaphor:
I’m at the grocery store shopping for a huge dinner party. I choose everything on my list, get to the checkout, and realize I don’t have enough money to cover my selections. I choose a few things to put back, and then the kind bystander behind me magnanimously steps up to

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

June 2024 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 2024 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

May 2024 updates

Every month we send an email newsletter to our supporters sharing recent updates from our work. We publish selected portions of the newsletter on our blog to make this news more accessible to people who visit our website. For key updates from the latest installment, please see below!
If you’d like to receive the complete newsletter in your inbox each month, you can subscribe here.
Fun Fact
In the past 12 months, GiveWell has recommended grants in 20 countries across Africa and Asia! See the countries represented on the map below.
Created by mapchart.net
Meet Our New Hires
We’ve shared several hiring announcements with you recently, and we’re excited to introduce you to two new GiveWellians!
Meet Araceli Steger, our new Head of People, and Uri Bram, our new Head of Communications. Araceli joins us from Tegus, an investment research platform where she was Vice President of People. Uri was most recently the CEO of The Browser newsletter, curating the most interesting writing on the web every day.
We’re thrilled to have Araceli and Uri on board! Thank you for sharing our job announcements with your networks and helping us find exceptional people to join our team.
Research and Partner Roundup
GiveWell publishes new research pages on $500,000 grant to Family Empowerment Media for the production of small-scale radio transmitters and $896,000 bridge grant to Development Innovation Lab for continued research on the effect of water chlorination on mortality. New Incentives publishes new blog post about vaccine hesitancy. Malaria Consortium hosts panel on role of philanthropy in fighting malaria featuring GiveWell’s Alicia Weng.
The post May 2024 updates appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

Mobile vaccination with New Incentives

In this blog post, we’re crossposting the work of one of our grantee organizations and top charities: New Incentives, which gives cash incentives for parents and caregivers in Northern Nigeria to take advantage of standard childhood vaccines that are freely available from government clinics. Recently, New Incentives wrote about the experiences of their staff member Idris and a mobile vaccination team on one particular Saturday morning in Kano State, Nigeria.
While most of the vaccinations that New Incentives incentivizes occur at stationary clinics, mobile vaccination teams exist to serve mothers such as Alawiyya, aged 20, who says she lost so much blood during the recent home birth of her child, now three weeks old, that she wasn’t able to walk the few miles to the nearest clinic so baby Aliyu could be vaccinated.
At GiveWell, we direct funds based on careful, rigorous examination of quantitative evidence from academic trials and other on-the-ground research. We worry that simple stories can be misleading, often because they cherry-pick the best-case outcome of a program while obscuring its general impact. They can also result in charitable funding being directed toward more photogenic causes, even when the need might be greater elsewhere.
Nonetheless, we hear from some of our donors that stories and photos help bring the impact of their donations to life, and we think that this vivid example of New Incentives’ work is a great way to experience that. We also think that understanding the logistical details of how programs are implemented, and the varied and specific challenges they face, helps make clear why GiveWell’s detail-oriented, evidence-centric approach is so important.
For example, on this particular day, this mobile vaccination team was able to vaccinate more babies than expected in Alawiyya’s village, Jijiyawa, but only one baby out of the expected five in another village, Yan Gizo. Carefully tracking how many of the eligible babies ultimately get vaccinated is crucial for figuring out how cost-effective the program is.
So we wanted to share the stories of Idris, Alawiyya, and this particular mobile vaccination team on this particular Saturday morning, even while flagging that it’s just one of the 5,900 clinics and 11,130 mobile vaccination sessions that New Incentives staff participated in during January 2024. The plural of “story” is not data, but the stories do

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

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

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

Making our work more readable

Perhaps you noticed that our most recent blog post included a bit of whimsy and even a joke footnote. Our blog is changing slightly, and you can expect more of that!
When GiveWell first started blogging, the blog was a place to share broad thoughts on philanthropy and generate conversation. While we’re not planning to revert to the tone of our early blog posts (which we consider a mistake), we are trying to publish more on our blog and to make what we publish more readable. Our blog posts will be as accurate as ever, but we’re hoping that a more conversational tone will be easier to engage with.
This blog refresh stems from an organization-wide emphasis on legibility. This focus is related to our deeply held value of transparency. For people outside of GiveWell to truly evaluate the conclusions that drive our recommendations, our work needs to be not only public but also understandable.
In GiveWell’s dictionary:

Transparency [ tran·spah·ruhn·see ]: literally making information available
Legibility [ leh·juh·bi·luh·tee ]: making a decision easy to understand and agree or disagree with

Making our work more legible takes many forms. For example, alongside our main cost-effectiveness models, we now also publish shorter versions that are easier to digest (and can be used to identify key factors in our estimates).
If you’d like to see the difference for yourself, compare the full version, the simplified version, and the summary version of our cost-effectiveness analysis for a 2023 grant to Malaria Consortium.
We’ve also made grant pages (like this one, on identifying and treating a congenital condition called clubfoot) easier to follow by including a more extensive summary that lays out the case for the grant, provides a summary of our cost-effectiveness analysis, and identifies our key reservations. We think our previous grant pages (like this one, on malnutrition treatment) were generally less readable, and that key information that informed our reasoning was harder to find.
One of the ways we plan to maintain strong legibility is through the work of our newly established “cross-cutting” research subteam. An explicit goal of their work is making our research more accurate, transparent, and legible. For example, they’ve led efforts on “red-teaming,” an exercise in which GiveWell researchers not otherwise involved in a particular grant or program investigation search for

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

Consider the Eggplant

By: Chandler Brotak, Isabel Arjmand, and Uri Bram
Norman Borlaug, the “father of the green revolution,” transformed agriculture (and won a Nobel Peace Prize) for developing new wheat varietals that resisted diseases and greatly increased yields.
You might well wonder: if it’s possible for wheat, is it possible for other crops? Consider the eggplant: a popular purple fruit/vegetable that can be made into everything from hongshao qiezi to baba ghanoush. It’s beloved by many people worldwide, and also by a cute but destructive moth larva:

An eggplant fruit and shoot borer larva inside an eggplant fruit. Photo credit: Chirag85 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The “eggplant fruit and shoot borer,” as the name suggests, bores into the shoots and fruit of eggplants, damaging the crops. A new varietal, Bt eggplants, was developed by the Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco), and later supported by partnerships with USAID, Cornell University, and local partners.1Shelton et al. 2019, pp. 4-5. jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_14850_2_1’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_14850_2_1’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], }); This varietal is genetically modified to create proteins which are toxic to these little menaces, but safe for humans and the environment.
So: could encouraging the adoption of Bt eggplants create a purple revolution that meets GiveWell’s bar for outstanding programs?
Based on preliminary research, we don’t believe so.
Two of the major considerations in our evaluation framework are whether the intervention is cost-effective and whether we believe it has room for more funding.
For cost-effectiveness, we attempt to quantify the costs and benefits of each intervention we investigate. In the case of Bt eggplants, the main effects of the program that we consider are increased yields and decreased costs for eggplant farmers. A randomized controlled trial conducted in Bangladesh from 2017-2018 found that Bt eggplants increased yields by about 50% and reduced pesticide costs by about 40%,2GiveWell, Bt eggplant adoption short note jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_14850_2_2’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_14850_2_2’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], }); increasing their total profits by about 60%.3GiveWell, Genetically modified eggplants BOTEC jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_14850_2_3’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_14850_2_3’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], });
At GiveWell,

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

A major initiative to scale up water chlorination in India

We recommended a $38.8 million grant to Evidence Action to support the Indian government in providing clean water by setting up in-line chlorination in two states, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
This isn’t a grant designed to directly deliver a service or commodity; instead, Evidence Action will use the funding to work in close partnership with state and local governments, providing technical assistance to support the delivery of the program. Providing all rural households with access to clean, piped water is a major priority for the Indian government. In-line chlorination, which uses a device to automatically disinfect water by adding chlorine as the water passes through a pipe, is a way to make drinking water safe.
We believe this grant may not only increase access to chlorinated water in the states it directly supports, but also inspire other states to adopt similar practices. A core part of the program’s theory of change is that governments in locations outside the grant area may take up a program they might not otherwise adopt. This is the first very large grant we’ve made where that’s been an important consideration. We think the upside is unusually high—if successful, this grant could eventually lead to tens or even hundreds of millions of additional people receiving safe water—but it’s also riskier than most of our grants, as there are a number of ways the program could fail to have the desired impact. Our hope is that this grant will reduce mortality and improve health at a very large scale.
The rest of this post describes the importance of clean water, the benefits of partnering with government, why we think this opportunity has such a large potential upside, our estimate of the program’s cost-effectiveness, and some of our uncertainties. You can read the full rationale for the grant here.
Why is clean water important?
Consuming contaminated water can lead to intestinal infections that are sometimes fatal. The evidence we’ve reviewed suggests that improving water quality also reduces mortality from causes not directly linked to water quality, such as respiratory infections (more here).
We estimate that this program will reduce overall mortality by about 4% among people reached with in-line chlorination. Given that we anticipate the program may reach tens of millions of people over the course of around a decade, the impact

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

Malengo: Supporting students to pursue education internationally

GiveWell recently recommended a grant of up to $750,000 to Malengo, an educational migration program. Malengo supports students from low-income countries in moving to high-income countries for university. The goal is to enable them to earn a higher income over time, benefiting both the students and their families.
GiveWell is co-funding the grant with Open Philanthropy, which is contributing an equal amount, for a total of up to $1.5 million over three years. We expect the GiveWell portion of the grant to be funded in part by individual donors and in part by the All Grants Fund.
One of our Program Officers, Erin Crossett, recommended this grant based on the belief that it could be a highly cost-effective opportunity. As a small discretionary grant, it received less scrutiny than our standard grants.
This grant provides an interesting learning opportunity for us, and it may support Malengo through a particularly challenging financial period.
The rest of this post shares why we think Malengo’s program could be cost-effective, how filling this specific funding gap might enable Malengo’s program to become more financially sustainable, and what we hope to learn next. You can read more about the full rationale for this grant on our grant page.
A small discretionary grant
Our senior grantmakers can collectively recommend a total of up to $10 million in “small discretionary grants” each year (more details here). We believe that we can increase our expected impact by occasionally funding small, promising opportunities like this one without investing a lot of time in evaluating them.
We’re writing a post about this grant because we think it’s interesting and different from our usual recommendations. But almost by definition, it’s not representative of most of our grantmaking work. Most of our funding goes to programs we’ve researched more deeply in our key focus areas of malaria, vaccines, nutrition, and water quality. However, we’re always excited to look into new areas that could be promising, including programs like Malengo’s.
Malengo’s migration program: A promising way to increase incomes
The income someone can expect to earn varies widely based on where they live. Around the world, millions of people move from lower-wage to higher-wage areas, either within their home countries or outside them, in hopes of making a better living for themselves and their families.
Many students from lower-income countries would like to

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

March 2024 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 2024 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

What we fund, #1: We fund many opportunities outside our top charities

This post is the fourth in a multi-part series, covering how GiveWell works and what we fund. We’ll add links to the later posts here as they’re published. Through these posts, we hope to give a better understanding of what our research looks like and how we make decisions.

How we work, #1: Cost-effectiveness is generally the most important factor in our recommendations
How we work, #2: We look at specific opportunities, not just general interventions
How we work, #3: Our analyses involve judgment calls

GiveWell aims to find and fund programs that have the greatest impact on global well-being. We’re open to funding whichever global health and development opportunities seem most cost-effective. So while our top charities list is still what we’re best known for, it’s only part of our impact; we also dedicate substantial funding and research effort to opportunities beyond top charities.
In 2022, 71% of the funds we directed supported our four current top charities, and 29% were directed to other programs.1This is based on the funding we directly recommended or granted to other organizations from February 1, 2022, to January 31, 2023, as well as funding that we believe was influenced primarily by our research and recommendations. jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_14734_1_1’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_14734_1_1’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], }); However, most of our research capacity goes toward programs other than our top charities. This is because (a) most programs we direct funding to aren’t top charities (we have four top charities but directed funding to about 40 other grantees in 2022),2See pages 15 and 16 of our 2022 metrics report.
jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_14734_1_2’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_14734_1_2’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], }); and (b) it requires more effort to investigate a program we know less deeply.
In this post we’ll share:

The overall scope of our grantmaking
Why we dedicate funding and research capacity to programs other than our top charities
The types of opportunities we support

You can support the full range of our grantmaking via the All Grants Fund.
The scope of our work
Our research is focused on global health and development programs. We believe this is an area in which donations can be especially cost-effective.
Much of our funding

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

February 2024 updates

Every month we send an email newsletter to our supporters sharing recent updates from our work. We publish selected portions of the newsletter on our blog to make this news more accessible to people who visit our website. For key updates from the latest installment, please see below!
If you’d like to receive the complete newsletter in your inbox each month, you can subscribe here.
Spotlight on a GiveWell Grantee
This month, we are shining a spotlight on Suvita, an organization that aims to increase childhood vaccination rates in India. In April 2023, we made a $3.3 million grant to support its work in promoting vaccinations through SMS text message reminders and Immunization Ambassadors who share information about vaccines in local communities. The grant will support these programs in two Indian states, Bihar and Maharashtra. We think these low-cost activities could lead to small but meaningful increases in vaccination rates, which in turn will mean fewer children dying of vaccine-preventable diseases. You can read more about this grant here.
This grant to Suvita was funded by GiveWell’s All Grants Fund and individual donor funding. The All Grants Fund allows donors to contribute to the most impactful grant opportunities we’ve identified, regardless of program or location. It’s a great option for donors who have a high level of trust in GiveWell and are open to programs that might be riskier or less certain than our top charities.
Research Updates
We’ve recently published a number of new research pages—below are a few highlights. If you’d like to sign up for email updates whenever we publish new research materials, you can do so here.

Co-delivering vitamin A supplementation and seasonal malaria chemoprevention in Nigeria

In October 2023, GiveWell recommended a $1.4 million grant to Malaria Consortium to deliver vitamin A supplementation (VAS) alongside seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) campaigns in two states in Nigeria. Malaria Consortium already delivers seasonal malaria chemoprevention via door-to-door campaigns in these states, and this grant will fund the costs of adding VAS as part of these campaigns. We expect that Malaria Consortium will be able to deliver VAS at a low cost by leveraging its existing SMC platform, thus increasing the number of children receiving VAS and, in turn, averting a higher number of child deaths.

Iron and folic acid supplementation in India

In August 2022, GiveWell

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

January 2024 updates

Every month we send an email newsletter to our supporters sharing recent updates from our work. We publish selected portions of the newsletter on our blog to make this news more accessible to people who visit our website. For key updates from the latest installment, please see below!
If you’d like to receive the complete newsletter in your inbox each month, you can subscribe here.
Recent GiveWell events
We ended 2023 with two in-person events, one in New York and one in San Francisco.
In San Francisco, GiveWell’s CEO Elie Hassenfeld was joined by Neil Buddy Shah, CEO of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), to discuss the work of both organizations and their partnership via the CHAI Incubator. You can find the audio recording and transcript of this event here.
In New York, Elie spoke with journalist Matthew Yglesias, co-founder of Vox and creator of Slow Boring, about GiveWell’s top charities and latest research. You can check out the video recording and transcript of this event here.
Attending events is a great way to learn more about GiveWell! You can sign up here to be notified of in-person and virtual events, and you can catch up on our previous events here.
GiveWell in the Media
Teryn Mattox, Director of Research at GiveWell, wrote a guest essay for Emily Oster’s Substack, ParentData, on the effectiveness of kangaroo mother care (KMC). KMC is intended to be a low-cost alternative to conventional neonatal intensive care for low-birth-weight infants; it primarily involves skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby. In low- and middle-income countries, KMC can save babies’ lives, but implementation can be challenging. GiveWell’s research on and grantmaking to maternal and newborn health programs includes a grant to r.i.c.e., which operates a KMC program in India.
Research Updates
We’ve recently published a number of new research pages—below are a few highlights. If you’d like to sign up for email updates whenever we publish new research materials, you can do so here.

Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)

In September 2023, GiveWell recommended a $6.6 million grant to CHAI for a two-year diarrhea treatment program in Bauchi, Nigeria. This grant supports the distribution of oral rehydration solution (ORS) and zinc to households with children under the age of five. Diarrhea is a common cause of childhood mortality in Nigeria, and we roughly estimate that this

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

December 2023 updates

Every month we send an email newsletter to our supporters sharing recent updates from our work. We publish selected portions of the newsletter on our blog to make this news more accessible to people who visit our website. For key updates from the latest installment, please see below!
If you’d like to receive the complete newsletter in your inbox each month, you can subscribe here.
The year 2023 has been one of growth at GiveWell. Our team has expanded, giving us the ability to take on more internal projects, reach out to more supporters, and conduct research into new interventions and funding areas. Since our metrics year started on February 1, we have directed over $100 million to funding opportunities in more than 10 countries, with more grantmaking expected in the coming months—we expect the programs these grants support will save tens of thousands of lives. We are proud of the impact that our supporters have made with their giving in 2023, and look forward to finding new opportunities and directing more funding in 2024.
Recent panel discussion on maternal health
GiveWell recently hosted a virtual event focusing on maternal and reproductive health, a new and growing area of GiveWell’s grantmaking. Economist and author Emily Oster moderated a panel with Svetha Janumpalli, Founder and CEO of New Incentives, and Erin Crossett, a Program Officer at GiveWell. During the hour, they discussed GiveWell’s research and grants to maternal and newborn health, including a recent grant to r.i.c.e. to operate a program for low-birthweight babies focused on kangaroo mother care. Elie Hassenfeld, GiveWell’s CEO and Co-Founder, also joined to answer audience questions. If you missed this engaging conversation, you can catch up on the recording here.
We’re continuing to investigate a number of programs in this area and would be excited to direct funding to them, if they meet our cost-effectiveness bar.
GiveWell in the media
The How To Money podcast recently interviewed Elie to discuss effective altruism, GiveWell’s founding, and making the greatest impact with your giving.
Highlights from our grantees
Nutrition International
Nutrition International shared a photo essay on their vitamin A supplementation (VAS) work in hard-to-reach areas in Nigeria. This story follows health workers during a maternal, newborn, and child health week in Kwanda town, as they deliver VAS to children under five.
Although GiveWell did not fund the

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

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

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

GiveWell’s 2022 metrics report

In 2022, the most recent year for which data is available and analyzed, GiveWell raised the largest amount of money in our history, over $600 million. We thank our donors for continuing to trust us to find and recommend highly cost-effective giving opportunities. The following table summarizes our funds raised and our funds directed to programs in metrics year 2021 and 2022.1GiveWell’s metrics year runs from February 1 through January 31 of the following year; the 2022 metrics year ran from February 1, 2022, to January 31, 2023. jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_14651_1_1’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_14651_1_1’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], });

2021
2022
Y/Y Growth

Funds Raised
$595,489,935
$602,889,435
1%

Funds Directed2In 2022, as in 2021, we raised more funds than we directed. For more on this, see the funds directed section below. jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_14651_1_2’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_14651_1_2’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], });
$529,426,944
$439,391,294
-17%

For more information on our 2022 funds raised, funds directed, operational expenses, and donor metrics, see our impact page and our full metrics report.
A note on timing
This post covers funds raised and directed in our metrics year 2022 (spanning February 1, 2022 to January 31, 2023). Our metrics report is typically published at least six months after the close of the metrics year because we need to collect data on donations we influence from third parties and then cross-check that data to ensure we aren’t double-counting any funds. This year we were additionally delayed by competing internal priorities.
Funds raised
In 2022, we raised slightly more funding than during 2021, and substantially more than prior years.3Note that the chart refers to our historical funds raised. The figures for 2020 and earlier refer to our “money moved,” which tracked the funding that was both raised and directed in a given year. We are now reporting on funds raised and funds directed separately, which we believe is simpler and clearer. jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_14651_1_3’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_14651_1_3’, tipClass: ‘footnote_tooltip’, effect: ‘fade’, predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: ‘top right’, relative: true, offset: [10, 10], });

We are excited by a continuing trend of donors trusting GiveWell to allocate their donation (e.g., by giving to one of our Giving Funds) instead of choosing to restrict their donation

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

Staff members’ personal donations for giving season 2023

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 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013. jQuery(‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_14589_1_1’).tooltip({ tip: ‘#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_14589_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: Alex Singal, Audrey Cooper, Carley Moor, Charlotte Fisken, Dilhan Perera, Elie Hassenfeld, Isabel Arjmand, Kameron Smith, Kaymin Martin-Burnett, Lauren Imholte, Maggie Lloydhauser, Olivia Larsen, Paige Henchen, Steph Stojanovic, Teryn Mattox, Vicky Yu, Victoria N Krauss.
Alex Singal (Philanthropy Associate)
I am still working out the exact amounts and timing of my giving this year (I may need to wait until January to make the actual donations for tax reasons), but I am planning to direct the majority of my giving (60-80%) to GiveWell’s Top Charities Fund.
Even though GiveWell’s top giving recommendation for donors with a high degree of trust in GiveWell and willingness to take on more risk is our All Grants Fund, my personal preference (for now) is to maximize near-term impact. I trust GiveWell’s incredible team of researchers that the long-run expected value of the All Grants Fund is higher than that of the Top Charities Fund, but I take comfort in knowing that my donation is guaranteed to be used by one or more of our excellent top charities to provide life-saving health interventions in the immediate future.
That said, I will also be giving a smaller amount to the All Grants Fund, which covers the full range of our grantmaking, as there are many amazing programs outside of our top charities that I want to support.
The remainder of my giving will go to GiveDirectly. While I am confident the programs GiveWell supports are ultimately more impactful (and likely significantly so) than unconditional cash transfers, I have immense respect for GiveDirectly and the simplicity of its mission to reduce suffering by sending money directly to those living in extreme poverty, and I want to support that effort.
Audrey Cooper (Philanthropy Advisor)
My husband and I give 10% of our income each year—we chose this number

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

December 2023 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 December 2023 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>

How we work, #3: Our analyses involve judgment calls

This post is the third in a multi-part series, covering how GiveWell works and what we fund. Through these posts, we hope to give a better understanding of our research and decision-making.

How we work, #1: Cost-effectiveness is generally the most important factor in our recommendations
How we work, #2: We look at specific opportunities, not just general interventions

Our goal is to recommend funding to the programs we believe have the greatest impact per dollar donated. There’s no simple algorithm for this question. Answering it necessarily involves making judgment calls. Our first post in this series discussed the importance of cost-effectiveness analyses and the many factors we consider; in this post, we’ll share:

How we make subjective choices in the face of imperfect information
Some examples of judgment calls that illustrate our approach:

Combining data and intuition: Estimating the effect of water chlorination on mortality
Valuing disparate outcomes: Comparing clubfoot treatment to life-saving programs
Anticipating the likely decisions of other actors: Predicting the impact of technical assistance for syphilis screening and treatment

Making decisions with imperfect evidence
Our work relies heavily on evidence, but the available evidence never answers a question with certainty.
Academic literature and its limitations
We don’t take the results of any given study at face value.[1] Instead, we often make adjustments along the way to come to a final estimate. As part of that process, we might consider:

The methodological limitations of the available studies
The likelihood of publication bias or spurious results
Whether the study results are likely to represent the impact of the specific program we’re considering funding, which requires looking at potential differences in contexts and in the programs being implemented
How plausible the results seem when considering other relevant information, including whether there’s a known mechanism by which a program might have a certain effect
The opinions of expert advisors
Other factors not listed here

Some questions can’t easily be addressed by studies but are still important for assessing the impact of a program. Those include topics like:

Will another funder support this program if we don’t?
Will this program be successfully transitioned to the government?
How likely is it that new research will provide information that changes our minds two or three years from now?
How bad is the experience of having disease A compared to the experience of having disease B?

Considering multiple perspectives
Some donors and other experts might reasonably disagree with our

Givewell Blog | http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheGivewellBlog

Goto full post >>