Evaluation of GiveWell

We complete two types of evaluation:

  • Internal reviews of our progress over the past year, focusing on the research we’ve completed, growth in the organization, and key metrics such as donations influenced and web traffic. A full list of these reports is available at our annual reviews page.
  • In the past, we have conducted external assessments of the quality of our research, focusing on the quality of our methodology, the usefulness of our recommendations, and the accuracy [bad word] of our findings. We have asked two types of individuals to complete these assessments: subject matter experts (often academics who work in relevant fields) and individual donors (the types of people likely to use our research to decide where to give).

Internal reviews and plans

GiveWell’s mission is to find outstanding giving opportunities and publish the full details of our analysis to help donors decide where to give. The ultimate goal is to have significant impact on the flow of donations, moving toward a world in which donors reward effectiveness in improving lives.

Each year we complete an internal review of our progress over the previous year and publish a plan of our goals for the coming year.

Annual reviews and plans

Published Plan Review Summary
Mid-2007 Original business plan (PDF) - Summary
Mid-2008 Plan for 2008-09 (PDF) Annual review (PDF) Summary
Late-2008 Change of direction (PDF) Interim review (PDF) Summary
Early 2010 Review and plan (DOC) Review and plan (DOC) | Metrics report (DOC) Summary
Early 2011 Top-level priorities | Specifics of the research GiveWell metrics report | Introduction: big picture priorities shift | Evaluating GiveWell as a donor resource | Evaluating GiveWell as a project Summary
Early 2012 Top-level priorities | Specifics of the research GiveWell metrics report | GiveWell's progress in 2011 | Evaluating GiveWell as a donor resource | Evaluating GiveWell as a project Summary
Early 2013 Top-level decision | Update on plans GiveWell metrics report | GiveWell's progress in 2012 | Evaluating GiveWell as a donor resource | Evaluating GiveWell as a project Summary
Early 2014 Traditional work | GiveWell Labs GiveWell metrics report | GiveWell's progress on traditional work in 2013 | Progress on GiveWell Labs in 2013 | General plans for GiveWell as an organization in 2014 Summary

Most recent self-evaluation

Our most recent self-evaluation (February 2014) is made up of the following documents:

External reviews

We began the process of soliciting external reviews in July 2010. As of this writing (August 2013), we are no longer actively soliciting external reviews. More on this decision in this blog post.

We created five separate external vetting assignments, each evaluating a separate piece of our process:

  • Issue overview: The purpose of this assignment is to assess the conclusions we've come to (and the sources we've used) regarding key issues (from an individual donor standpoint) in international aid.
  • Criteria and heuristics: The purpose of this assignment is to evaluate and reflect on (a) the criteria we use to evaluate charities; (b) the heuristics we use to identify charities most likely to meet these criteria.
  • Narrowing the field: The purpose of this assignment is to vet our process for narrowing the field from a large number of "charities to be examined" to a smaller number of "charities for futher investigation." It consists of "spot checking" different categories of charities, determining whether we have applied our criteria consistently and appropriately, and reflecting on the appropriateness of our criteria.
  • Charity review: The purpose of this assignment is to assess the conclusions we've come to about a particular charity that passed our heuristics (or that we reviewed in depth for another reason).
  • Finding the Best Charity: The purpose of this assignment is to gauge the usefulness of GiveWell's research in a real-world context: deciding what charity to give to in a limited amount of time.

Completed reviews

Assignment Person Review topic Completed assignment
Issue overview Matthew Bonds1 HIV/AIDS Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Issue overview Matthew Collin2 Developing-world education Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Issue overview Andy Beckingham3 Maternal mortality Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Issue overview Pierre Thompson4 Combination deworming Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Criteria and heuristics Laura Freschi5 Our criteria and heuristics Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Criteria and heuristics David Jinkins6 Our criteria and heuristics Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Narrowing the field Jonah Sinick7 Our process for narrowing the field Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Narrowing the field Ju Min Kim8 Our process for narrowing the field Summary | Full assessment (PDF)
Charity review Robert Mundy9 VillageReach (July 2010 review) Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Charity review Robert Mundy10 Against Malaria Foundation Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Charity review Robert Mundy11 Small Enterprise Foundation Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Charity review Jonah Sinick12 Stop TB Partnership Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Charity review Wendy Knight13 Nurse-Family Partnership Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Charity review Joshua Rosenberg14 Village Enterprise Fund Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Charity review Kate Lang15 Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Charity review Ju Min Kim16 Chamroeun Summary | Full assessment (PDF)
Charity review Rachel Gross17 KIPP Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Charity review Lim Kwangjin18 Stop TB Partnership Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Charity review Rachel Gross19 Invest in Kids Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Charity review Ju Min Kim20 VillageReach Summary | Full assessment (PDF)
Finding the Best Charity Stephanie Wykstra21 Deciding where to give Summary | Full assessment (ZIP)
Finding the Best Charity Robert Mundy22 Deciding where to give Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Finding the Best Charity Timothy Moreland23 Deciding where to give Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
Finding the Best Charity Tobias Pfutze24 Deciding where to give Summary | Full assessment (DOC) | Follow up conversation
Finding the Best Charity Rachael Stephens25 Deciding where to give Summary | Full assessment (DOC)
  • 1. About: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/matthew-bonds/ (accessed October 7, 2010). Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5tJnzR9Jr.
  • 2. About: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~sant1981/ (accessed October 19, 2010). Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5tcN1VaLe.
  • 3. Andy Beckingham FFPH is a Consultant in Public Health who has worked in the UK and India. He has over 23 years of experience in health care and is currently (as of January 2011) working with a range of agencies in Andhra Pradesh on joint efforts to improve the quality of maternal care in the state.
  • 4. Pierre Thompson is a 2011 graduate of Georgetown University. He completed this assignment as part of his volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 5. About: http://dri.fas.nyu.edu/object/laura_freschi.html (accessed October 7, 2010). Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5tJoWl6oT.
  • 6. About: http://personal.psu.edu/dcj138/about_me/aboutme.html (accessed July 14, 2011). Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/60AgizdC5.
  • 7. About: http://www.math.uiuc.edu/~jsinick2/ (accessed October 7, 2010). Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5tJpWmZbH.
  • 8. Ju Min Kim is a postdoctoral research fellow in theoretical physics currently working in Germany. She completed this assignment as part of her volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 9. Robert Mundy is a 2010 graduate from Rutgers University. He completed this assignment as part of his volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 10. Robert Mundy is a 2010 graduate from Rutgers University. He completed this assignment as part of his volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 11. Robert Mundy is a 2010 graduate from Rutgers University. He completed this assignment as part of his volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 12. About: http://www.math.uiuc.edu/~jsinick2/ (accessed October 7, 2010). Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5tJpWmZbH.
  • 13. Wendy Knight completed this assignment as part of her volunteer work for GiveWell. Subsequent to completing this assignment, she joined GiveWell as a full-time staff member in February 2011.
  • 14. Joshua Rosenberg is a student at Pomona College. He completed this assignment as part of his volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 15. Kate Lang is a MBA student at Drexel University. She completed this assignment as part of her volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 16. Ju Min Kim is a postdoctoral research fellow in theoretical physics currently working in Germany. She completed this assignment as part of her volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 17. Rachel Gross holds a master's degree in plant biology from Northwestern and is currently a graduate student. She completed this assignment as part of her volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 18. Lim Kwangjin is a philosophy undergraduate student at New York University. He completed this assignment as part of his volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 19. Rachel Gross holds a master's degree in plant biology from Northwestern and is currently a graduate student. She completed this assignment as part of her volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 20. Ju Min Kim is a postdoctoral research fellow in theoretical physics currently working in Germany. She completed this assignment as part of her volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 21. About: http://www.stonehill.edu/x17928.xml (accessed October 7, 2010). Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5tJpWP9JQ.
  • 22. Robert Mundy is a 2010 graduate of Rutgers University. He completed this assignment as part of his volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 23. Timothy Moreland is a 2009 graduate of University of Pittsburgh. He completed this assignment as part of his volunteer work for GiveWell.
  • 24. About: http://new.oberlin.edu/arts-and-sciences/departments/economics/faculty_d... (accessed March 2, 2011. Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5wstBQ7HS.
  • 25. Rachael Stephens is a 2011 graduate of Bryn Mawr College. She completed this assignment as part of her volunteer work for GiveWell.
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