Top charities - November 2011 archived version

This page is an archived copy of our top charities page. It was published in November 2011. See our current recommendations

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

(Details of our process)
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#1 Against Malaria Foundation (AMF)

Preventing deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa
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Malaria is a major problem in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 1 million people -- mostly children -- die each year. Insecticide-treated bed nets prevent cases of and deaths from malaria and are relatively inexpensive -- about $5 per net. (For more details, see our full report on bed nets.) We believe that AMF is highly effective in expanding access to bed nets.

Tax deductibility: US, UK, CAN

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#2 Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI)

Treating children for parasite infections in sub-Saharan Africa
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In sub-Saharan Africa, a large proportion of people, often children, are infected with parasitic worms that cause short-term symptoms such as anemia, and may cause longer-term developmental problems. These worms are extremely inexpensive to treat -- about $5 to protect a child for 10 years. (For more, see our full report on deworming.) We believe that SCI is highly effective in expanding access to deworming treatment.

Tax deductibility: US , UK

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Other standout organizations

(Definition of "standout organization")

Please note: the organizations below are listed in alphabetical order.

Organization What do they do? Donate
GiveDirectly Cash grants to poor households in Kenya Donate
Innovations for Poverty Action Research on how to fight poverty and promote development Donate
KIPP Houston (United States) Charter schools facing budget cuts Donate
Nyaya Health [now know as Possible] Health care in rural Nepal Donate
Pratham Primary education in India Donate
Small Enterprise Foundation Microloans for women in South Africa Donate

Tax deductions are available for the U.S. (only) for all of the above.

Past top-rated charities with limited room for more funding

We believe the charities below are outstanding but have limited short-term room for more funding.

Organization What do they do? Donate
VillageReach Health-systems logistics in Africa Donate
Nurse-Family Partnership Nurse home visits to first-time mothers in the U.S. Donate

Our charity evaluation process

For details, see our process for international charities and our process for U.S. charities. This page has all charities that we have considered.

GiveWell's process broadly consists of:

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

Evaluation criteria

We primarily look for charities with strong documented track records, highly cost-effective activities, and concrete needs for more funds. Recommended charities must be highly transparent and accountable, i.e., willing to share enough in-depth information about their work that we can assess them on these criteria.

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. This page has all charities that we have considered.

We identify charities from sources, including:

In-depth charity reviews

We perform in-depth reviews of charities that make it through the early stages of our process. These involve 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 their programs in the field.

Standout organizations

Our top-rated charities are the ones we feel will accomplish the most good, per dollar contributed. We also award the "standout" distinction to organizations that meet the following criteria:

  • We have found the charities interesting and promising enough to continue in-depth investigation of.
  • The charities have participated fully in our process and helped us gain all the information we needed to assess them fully by our criteria.
  • The charities have cleared us to publish in-depth reviews discussing their performance by these criteria.
  • After considering all available information, we feel that these charities represent outstanding opportunities for donors to accomplish good.

We post the names of every charity we consider on our website. This page has all charities that we have considered.

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