Advice for larger donors | GiveWell

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Advice for larger donors

Donors considering making large donations should keep the following in mind when making their gift.

We are happy to help you. If you need assistance, please contact us at

Issues associated with making large donations via credit card

When donating via credit card, you will be charged standard credit card processing fees. This means that when a donor gives $10,000 by credit card, GiveWell receives about $9,780 (about $9,675 if using AMEX). In addition, your credit card company may flag the transaction. Generally, a call to the credit card company can resolve these issues.

Donors can avoid these issues by:

  • Mailing a check. You can mail a check directly to our top charities. Charities' mailing addresses appear on the donate pages of their websites. If you take this option, please use the donation report form to let us know about your gift; doing so helps GiveWell track our impact.

    You may also mail a check to GiveWell for the support of one of our top-rated charities. Please mark the check "For the support of _____ [charity name]." GiveWell takes no fees when collecting donations for the support of our top charities. You can mail us a check at:

    182 Howard Street #208
    San Francisco, CA 94105

  • Donating via bank transfer. Our top charities can also accept donations via bank transfer. While this option involves fees, these will be significantly lower for large donations than using your credit card. Please contact our top charities for the information necessary for making a transfer.

    If you prefer, you can make a donation via bank transfer to GiveWell and tell us that this donation is for the support of one of our top charities. GiveWell takes no fees when collecting donations for the support of our top charities. Please contact us at for more information about making a bank transfer to GiveWell.

Other issues for larger donors to consider

Donor advised funds. Donor advised funds allow donors to make a charitable donation (and get a tax deduction) now, while deciding which charity to support later. The donation goes into a fund that is "advised" by the donor, and the donor may later recommend a grant from the fund to the charity of his/her choice.

Many large investment companies – Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab – offer donor advised funds.

Donor advised funds charge fees on the assets held in the fund. These fees vary based on the amount of assets held and the investement option chosen by the donor. (For example, see Vanguard's page on fees.)

GiveWell has a fund at Vanguard that donors can use if they do not wish to set up a fund on their own. (See this page for more information about contributing to this fund.)

Tax advantages of giving appreciated securities. Donating appreciated securities offers donors additional tax benefits. (For more information, see Vanguard's write-up on this topic.)

GiveWell maintains a brokerage account to allow us to accept donations of securities. Please contact us at for more information.

Donor advised funds may also be helpful in assisting donors in donating securities.