These are evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, underfunded organizations. We discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of these organizations in this post. We discuss our process for reaching these recommendations below.
Our ranking of organizations is based on our belief in the value of filling their remaining funding gaps, which derives from the overall quality and cost-effectiveness of the organization's work, as well as what additional funding will enable the organization to do. More details in this post.
#1 Against Malaria Foundation
|Preventing deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa|
|Malaria is one of the leading killers of children in Africa. Insecticide-treated bed nets prevent deaths and many other non-fatal cases of malaria and are relatively inexpensive – about $5 per net. (For more details, see our full report on bed nets.) We believe that AMF effectively expands access to bed nets. More.|
#2 Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI)
|Treating people for parasite infections in sub-Saharan Africa|
|SCI supports programs that treat people for parasitic worm infections that cause short-term symptoms such as anemia, and may cause longer-term developmental problems. These worms are extremely inexpensive to treat. (For more, see our full report on deworming.) We believe that SCI cost-effectively expands access to deworming treatment. More.|
#3 Deworm the World Initiative (led by Evidence Action)
|Treating children for parasite infections in developing countries|
|The Deworm the World Initiative, led by Evidence Action, supports programs that treat children for parasitic worm infections that cause short-term symptoms such as anemia, and may cause longer-term developmental problems. These worms are extremely inexpensive to treat. (For more, see our full report on deworming.) Deworm the World focuses on advocacy and technical assistance to governments providing deworming, and we believe that it cost-effectively increases the number of children receiving deworming treatment. More.|
|Distributing cash to very poor individuals in Kenya and Uganda|
|Directly transferring money to poor individuals allows them to purchase that which they believe will help them most. Strong evidence indicates that cash transfers lead recipients to spend more on their basic needs (such as food) and may allow recipients to make investments with high returns, with no evidence of large increases in spending on items like alcohol or tobacco. (For more, see our full report on cash transfers.) We believe that GiveDirectly effectively distributes cash to extremely low-income individuals. More.|
Other standout charities
|Development Media International (DMI)|
|Producing mass media to promote improved health behaviors in developing countries|
|DMI produces radio and television broadcasts in developing countries that encourage people to adopt improved health practices. DMI's program may be highly cost-effective. DMI has shown a commitment to monitoring the quality of its programs.|
|Iodine Global Network (IGN), formerly ICCIDD|
|Aiding salt iodization programs in developing countries|
|Iodine deficiency, which remains common in the developing world, harms cognitive development. Fortifying salt with iodine successfully alleviates this problem. (For more, see our full report on salt iodization.) IGN aims to reduce iodine deficiency globally by advocating for national salt iodization programs, tracking progress on iodization, and providing global and country-specific guidance on related programmatic and scientific issues.|
|The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) - Universal Salt Iodization (USI) program|
|Aiding salt iodization programs in developing countries|
|Iodine deficiency, which remains common in the developing world, harms cognitive development. Fortifying salt with iodine successfully alleviates this problem. (For more, see our full report on salt iodization.) GAIN’s USI activities vary considerably across countries and include advocacy, technical assistance, supplying equipment, training government officials and salt producers, and monitoring, among others.|
|Supporting a network of community health promoters in Uganda|
|Living Goods sells health products door-to-door and provides basic health counseling in sub-Saharan Africa. A randomized controlled trial measured a 27% reduction in childhood mortality as a result of its program.|
Tax-deductibility of donations to our top charities
Donations to GiveWell are tax-deductible in the US, and we are able to take donations for the support of any of our top charities. In addition:
- Charity-specific considerations. Gifts to the Against Malaria Foundation are tax-deductible in several countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia. Gifts to SCI are tax-deductible in the UK. Gifts to IGN are tax-deductible in Canada.
- UK donors can make a tax-deductible donation to the Giving What We Can Trust for the support of one or more of GiveWell's recommended charities. Only charities listed on the form are currently eligible – more may be added later. Donations by UK tax-payers via the trust are eligible for Gift Aid.
- German and Swiss donors can make a deductible donation to Giordano-Bruno-Stiftung or Effective Altruism Foundation for the support of GiveWell or one or more of our recommended charities.
- Canadian donors can make a tax-deductible donation to Charity Science to support GiveWell or GiveWell's recommended charities. Donors can give online through PayPal (2-3% processing fee) at Charity Science's website, or, for donations greater than $1,000, can contact Charity Science at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about giving by check or bank transfer (low or no fees). Note that there is an aggregate limit to how much Charity Science can give to charities that are not registered in Canada, so donors considering giving a gift of $5,000 or more for GiveWell, GiveDirectly, Deworm the World Initiative, GAIN, DMI, or Living Goods should contact Charity Science or GiveWell before donating.
- Australian donors can make a tax-deductible donation to Effective Altruism Australia and earmark the donation for one of several GiveWell recommended charities. (Australian donors wishing to give to the Against Malaria Foundation can make a tax-deductible donation directly to that organization – see above.)
Our charity evaluation process
For details, see our process.
GiveWell's process broadly consists of:
- Identifying charities focused on proven, cost-effective programs serving the global poor
- Deeply investigating and thoroughly vetting the ones that participate in our process
- Publishing all the details of our charity recommendations and the full details of our reasoning on this website
- Following up over time to report on recommended charities' progress
Identifying eligible charities
We have conducted extensive searches for charities that focus on our priority programs. These programs represent, according to our research, the most evidence-backed approaches to helping the global poor. More.
In-depth charity reviews
We invite eligible charities to participate in our intensive evaluation process, which aims to deeply and critically question the case for the charity's impact, and lay out what we see as the strengths and weaknesses publicly.
Our process includes conversations with representatives; examination of internal documentation including monitoring and evaluation reports, budgets, and plans for using additional funding; reviewing independent literature and evidence of effectiveness of the charities' programs. For the strongest contenders, we conduct visits to programs in the field.
We focus our investigation on the following questions: (a) What does the charity do? (b) What is the evidence that its activities are executed and work as intended? (c) How cost-effective are the charity's activities (in terms of good accomplished per dollar spent)? (d) What will be the impact of increased revenue on the charity's activities (the room for more funding question)?
Because our recommendation directs substantial donations to a charity, top charities are generally willing to engage substantively with us and help us deepen our understanding of their activities and progress over time. We follow up intensively and publicly discuss charities' progress, including both the good and the bad news.
Pros and cons of giving to our top charities
Over the years, we've substantially changed our outlook on what a good giving opportunity should look like, and we are working to produce giving opportunities that could look very different from these ones.
We think the principal advantages of our current top charities are that:
- They represent the best opportunities we're aware of to help low-income people with relatively high confidence and relatively short time horizons. If you're looking to give this year and you don't know where to start, we'd strongly recommend supporting our top charities.
- Due to the emphasis on thorough vetting, transparency, and following up, our top charities represent excellent learning opportunities, and we feel that one of the most desirable outcomes of giving is learning more that will inform later giving. Supporting our top charities helps GiveWell demonstrate impact and improves our ability to learn, and we are dedicated to sharing what we learn publicly.
- There is an argument for saving money rather than giving, and giving at the point where better information on top giving opportunities is available.
- If you have access to other giving opportunities that you understand well, have a great deal of context on, and have high confidence in — whether these consist of supporting an established organization or helping a newer one get off the ground — it may make more sense to take advantage of your unusual position and "fund what others won't," since GiveWell's research is available to (and influences) large numbers of people.
Discuss these charities with GiveWell staff
If you'd like to discuss our research and top charities with a GiveWell staff member, you can request a call here.
Archives of our past charity recommendations: