Top-rated charities - 2010 archived version

This page is an archived copy of our top charities page. It was published in 2010. See our current recommendations

Thousands of hours have gone into finding our top-rated charities. They're proven, cost-effective, underfunded, and outstanding.


Top international charities

Basics Strengths/weaknesses
Organization Cause Rating Ranking Evidence of effectiveness Cost-effectiveness Funding gap Transparency Monitoring and evaluation
Village Reach Global health: immunizations Gold 1 Strong Excellent Significant Excellent Excellent
Stop TB Global health: Tuberculosis Silver 2 Strong Excellent Significant Above average Strong
Against Malaria Foundation Global health: malaria Silver 3 Moderate Excellent Significant Excellent Strong
Small Enterprise Foundation Economic empowerment: microfinance Silver 4 Limited Moderate Moderate Excellent Strong
Village Enterprise Fund Economic empowerment: cash transfers and business training Silver 5 Limited Moderate Moderate Excellent Strong
Chamroeun Economic empowerment: microfinance Silver 6 Limited Moderate Moderate Excellent Strong

Top United States charities

Basics Strengths/weaknesses
Organization Cause Rating Ranking Evidence of effectiveness Cost-effectiveness Funding gap Transparency Ongoing monitoring
KIPP Education: charter schools Gold 1 Above average Limited Significant Above average Strong
Nurse-Family Partnership Early childhood care: nurse home visits Gold 2 Strong Limited Only long term Above average Excellent
Invest in Kids Youth behavior Silver 3 Above average Limited Moderate Strong Strong

Top charities, by cause

Cause Top charity in cause Rating
Global health Village Reach Gold
Tuberculosis Stop TB Silver
Malaria Against Malaria Foundation Silver
HIV/AIDS PSI Notable
Microfinance Small Enterprise Foundation Silver
Other economic empowerment Village Enterprise Fund Silver
Cleft palate surgery ReSurge International (formerly Interplast) Notable
Developing-world education Pratham Notable
US education KIPP Gold
US early childhood care Nurse-Family Partnership Gold
US youth behavior Invest in Kids Silver

Our charity evaluation process

For specifics, see our process for international charities and our process for U.S. charities.

GiveWell's process broadly consists of:

  • Examine hundreds of charities and relevant academic literature
  • Deeply investigate the most promising charities by our criteria
  • Publish all the details of our charity recommendations and the full details of our reasoning on this website

Evaluation criteria

We look for charities that are proven, cost-effective, have "room for more funding," and are transparent. More information is available on our criteria page.

Identifying charities

We cast the net as wide as we can to consider as many charities as possible, reviewing hundreds of charities' websites and more deeply investigating the most promising ones. We identify charities from sources, including:

  • Submissions to our website
  • Grantees of other major funders such as the Skoll, Gates, or Mulago foundations
  • Partners of research organizations such as the Poverty Action Lab or Innovations for Poverty Action

In-depth charity reviews

We perform in-depth reviews of charities that meet our heuristics for further evaluation. These are a relatively small subset of all the charities we consider and are those we believe have a reasonable chance of receiving our recommendation.

We begin our process by reviewing all publicly available information about a charity including its website, external evaluations, and other relevant information.

We then try and speak directly with a member of a charity's senior management, who can answer questions about the organization's overall activities and process for evaluating its impact.

We also often request additional documents and information which we analyze and incorporate into our review process.

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