Evaluating GiveWell's impact

Last updated: March 2014

In addition to evaluations of other charities, GiveWell publishes substantial evaluation on itself, from the quality of our research to our impact on donations. This page summarizes two key metrics: (a) donations to top charities directly through our website, and (b) web traffic.

Money moved

Money moved to recommended charities

The chart below shows GiveWell's annual "money moved" against its operating expenses. "Money moved" refers to donations to our recommended giving opportunities that we can confidently attribute to our research (more detailed definition below).

For more details on our money moved, our growth, and our donors, see our 2013 annual metrics report.

Overall money moved includes all donations driven by GiveWell to our recommended charities, including grants made by Good Ventures to recommended charities.

The table below shows GiveWell's money moved by charity.

Total money donated, by charity

Charity 2013 2012 2011 2007-2010
GiveDirectly $10,482,865 $1,329,359 $187,381 $0
Against Malaria Foundation $2,490,588 $5,829,514 $2,562,372 $377,230
Schistosomiasis Control Initiative $2,190,184 $1,111,548 $862,766 $6,200
Evidence Action, which runs the Deworm the World Initiaitive $2,142,836 $0 $0 $0
VillageReach $3,280 $61,849 $622,866 $1,539,480
Other $51,063 $141,610 $685,190 $1,071,402
Total to recommended charities $17,360,816 $8,473,880 $4,920,575 $2,994,312

Money moved from large donors fell in 2013. We believe many of these these donors are waiting to give and that giving from these donors will increase in the next few years. Details at this blog post.

Notes:

  • Because the vast majority of GiveWell's money moved comes in during December of each year, we only update these figures annually.
  • Because donations tend to be clustered in late December and early January, grouping these donations together provides a more accurate picture of annual growth. In the table and chart above, each year covers February 1 to January 31, e.g. "2012" refers to February 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013.

Other money moved

In 2013, GiveWell advised Good Ventures to make five grants totaling $895,000 to other organizations, as part of our work on GiveWell Labs. Details in our 2013 metrics report.

In 2012, GiveWell advised Good Ventures to make a $1 million co-funding grant to PSI Myanmar and a $100,000 "quick grant" to the U.S. Cochrane Center.

Web traffic

The chart below shows our web traffic over time, as measured by unique visitors each month. There are seasonal spikes each December when interest in charitable giving peaks (circled in the chart below).

More detail

More detail is available for each year in our annual self-reviews.

What we count as "money moved"

  • Donations made to top charities directly through our website. Though some of these donations go directly to top charities, we are able to track them and verify that they went through our website.
  • Donations that our recommended charities report back to us as being attributable to GiveWell. We have a high standard for this – we count only cases where (a) the donor explicitly stated that their donation was on the strength of GiveWell's recommendation; (b) the donor gave to Nurse-Family Partnership or Against Malaria Foundation and stated that they heard about it from a Nicholas Kristof column; Mr. Kristof has informed us that he included NFP in the column on our recommendation, and cited GiveWell in his column as his reason for recommending AMF; or (c) the donor gave to Against Malaria Foundation in 2011 or 2012 and stated that their donation was on the strength of Giving What We Can's recommendation as this recommendation was based on GiveWell's research.
  • Donations that donors report to us (informally or using our donation report form) as donations that they made on the strength of our recommendation. We cross-reference our data with recommended charities' data, when necessary, to eliminate double-counting.
  • Donations made directly to GiveWell and earmarked for re-granting. We count donations made and restricted in year X, and then granted in year Y, as "money moved" for year X, not year Y.

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