What is GiveWell?

GiveWell is a nonprofit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of our analysis to help donors decide where to give.

Unlike charity evaluators that focus solely on financials, assessing administrative or fundraising costs, we conduct in-depth research aiming to determine how much good a given program accomplishes (in terms of lives saved, lives improved, etc.) per dollar spent. Rather than try to rate as many charities as possible, we focus on the few charities that stand out most (by our criteria) in order to find and confidently recommend the best giving opportunities possible (our list of top charities).

How and why did GiveWell start?

GiveWell started as a group of donors, employed full-time in the hedge fund industry, discussing how to accomplish as much good as possible. We found ourselves fascinated by the research we were conducting, but also found that it isn't a part-time job, and few public resources exist that can help with it. We raised startup funding from our former coworkers and left our jobs to start GiveWell. For more, see our story.

What are you trying to accomplish?

Individual donors give nearly 60 times as much as the Gates Foundation and nearly 5 times as much as all foundations combined. (See chart)

We aim to direct as much funding as possible of this large pool to the best giving opportunities we can find, and create a global, public, open conversation about how best to help people.

We picture a world in which donors reward charities for effectiveness in improving lives.

How does GiveWell get information about charities?

In GiveWell's early years, we conducted applications for direct grants. Charities shared information with us in order to apply for these grants.

Since we are now able to demonstrate that our recommendations lead to donations, charities usually find us, or participate in our process upon request. We are open to considering any charity that applies in accordance with our guidelines and will do deep investigations of the most promising ones we find. In the past we have conducted broad searches, doing the best we can to find charities that focus on evidence-backed programs. See our process for more detail.

How does GiveWell pay its own salaries and operating costs?

We have a set of core donors who believe strongly in our mission and pay our operating costs (more).

We do not receive any funds from the charities featured on our site, or retain any portion of donations to our top-rated charities for ourselves.

How can I help?

To stay updated on our work, see our Get Involved page.

To donate to GiveWell or our top charities, please visit our donate page.

How can I learn more?

See our:

Questions that aren't answered on the website? Contact us.