Information About Donating | GiveWell

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Information About Donating

This page includes information about options for donating to our recommended charities, as well as answers to frequently asked questions about donations.



Last Updated: September 2017; Published: September 2015

Donate to GiveWell in Support of Our Recommended Charities

We recommend that donors giving gifts smaller than $1,000 donate online by credit card because this method requires the lowest amount of administrative work for us. More details on donating via credit card as well as alternative methods below. Please note that if you do not indicate how you would like your donation to be designated when you give to GiveWell (e.g., to our recommended charities), your donation will be treated as unrestricted funding, which we may choose to either use for operating expenses or to grant to recommended charities.

  • Online credit card donations: Use this form. Transactions are processed by Braintree Payments (www.braintreepayments.com). Like all credit card processors, Braintree charges a percentage fee on every transaction. Braintree charges GiveWell 2.15% (3.20% for AMEX) + $0.28 on each transaction. The fee is taken out on GiveWell's end: if you donate $100, we receive $97.57 (or $96.52 if using AMEX).
  • Online through PayPal: Select an option from this page. PayPal charges 2.2% + $0.30 on each transaction. There is some administrative work for us to process PayPal donations.
  • Mail a check, using our check donation form:

    (For the difference between top and standout charities, please see here.)

    For donors giving more than $1,000, we recommend sending a check. Checks have no processing fees, but require more administrative work for us than either credit card or PayPal donations. We therefore recommend that donors use a credit card for gifts of less than $1,000.

  • Donate by bank transfer. Due to the administrative cost associated with processing bank transfers, we ask that donors use bank transfers only for donations of $1,000 or more. If you are interested in making a bank transfer donation to GiveWell to GiveWell, please fill out this form. Donations made by bank transfer may have fees for the donor. It is our impression that some banks charge a fee for transfers and some do not. If you're interested in donating by bank transfer, we suggest you check with your bank about the fees involved. GiveWell does not pay fees on bank transfers.
  • Donate stocks. Due to the administrative cost associated with processing donations of stock, we ask that donors donate stock only if the value of the stock at the time of transfer is estimated at approximately $1,000 or more. Donations of stock are processed by E*Trade. E*Trade charges a $4.95 commission on each sale. If you are interested in making a donation of stock to GiveWell, please fill out this form. Alternatively, donors giving $5,000 or more can give to GiveWell's Vanguard donor-advised fund, which may be able to accept certain types of securities that E*Trade cannot, including Vanguard mutual funds.
  • Bitcoin or other payment methods. Please email us at donations@givewell.org if you would like to make a donation with Bitcoin or an alternative payment method. We are exploring Bitcoin as a donation option and may offer the ability to give via Bitcoin or other payment methods in the future.

The same methods and recommendations apply for donations made to GiveWell in support of our own operations.

It is important to us to track donations made due to our research. If you choose to give directly to one or more of our recommended charities (rather than through our site), please let us know through our donation report form and, if the charity's donation form provides a place to do so, please tell the charity that your gift was a result of our research. Follow the links below to donate directly:

  • Against Malaria Foundation
  • Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI)
  • The END Fund (GiveWell's recommendation is for the deworming program only). Donors will need to specify that they are giving due to GiveWell's recommendation so the END Fund knows that their gift is intended to support deworming. Please note that the END Fund will notify GiveWell of donors who indicate they heard about the END Fund through GiveWell, and we are planning to use that information to inform our estimates of the impact of GiveWell's funding on deworming programs. We do expect that some of GiveWell's funding will cause more spending on non-deworming programs due to fungibility (more).
  • Malaria Consortium (GiveWell's recommendation is for the seasonal malaria chemoprevention program only). Donors will need to specify if they want to specifically support seasonal malaria chemoprevention. Malaria Consortium prefers that donors support its work through GiveWell; all such donations will be restricted to the seasonal malaria chemoprevention program.
  • Evidence Action, which runs Deworm the World Initiative
  • GiveDirectly
  • Iodine Global Network
  • Living Goods
  • Project Healthy Children
  • Sightsavers' deworming program is one of our top charities. We do not list it here because Sightsavers told us that it will treat donations received directly through its website as unrestricted (not exclusively for use on deworming programs). GiveWell's recommendation of Sightsavers is only for its work on deworming.
  • Our other recommended charities do not currently have a way to accept individual donations. These are: Development Media International (DMI), Food Fortification Initiative (FFI), and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)'s universal salt iodization (USI) program.

Frequently Asked Questions About Donations

(1) It allows us to track our own impact on donations, (2) it gives us a chance to ask you if you'd like to receive updates on GiveWell's research, and (3) when we grant the funds to the charity, we can designate them as we believe is best (as either unrestricted or restricted donations; more details for AMF, GiveDirectly, and Evidence Action).

Please note that if you submit a donation to GiveWell with no designation (for example, mailing a check but not filling out the check donation form), we will treat it as unrestricted funding, which we may choose to either use for operating expenses or to grant to recommended charities.

No, GiveWell collects no fees from donations to support its recommended charities. Once we have reviewed and approved your request to grant a donation to our recommended charities, 100% of your donation (after credit card fees) will be used to support the charity or charities of your choice (more details on the grant approval process here).

Will my donation be tax-deductible?

GiveWell (a.k.a. The Clear Fund) is a federally-recognized tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. US donors are able to take tax deductions for donations to GiveWell to the extent permitted by US tax laws. In addition, GiveWell is able to make grants to our recommended charities. Please note that donations to GiveWell are irrevocable and donor requests to grant donations to our recommended charities are subject to our approval (more details on GiveWell's approval process here).

  • UK donors can make tax-deductible contributions to some of our recommended charities, many of which are UK-based (see below for more information). UK donors wishing to give to a GiveWell-recommended charity not listed below may contact donations@givewell.org for additional assistance.
  • German, Swiss, and Dutch donors can make a tax-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 contact@charityscience.com for more information about giving by check or bank transfer (low or no fees). For information about giving for GiveWell-recommended charities not on the list, please email contact@charityscience.com. 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, Sightsavers, Malaria Consortium, the END Fund, 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. Only charities listed on the form are currently eligible – more may be added later. (Australian donors wishing to give to the Against Malaria Foundation can make a tax-deductible donation directly to that organization – see above.)

In addition, donations to our top charities and other standout charities themselves are eligible for tax deductions in the following countries:

We ask that donors who use our research to decide to support these organizations through their own websites complete our donation reporting form so we are able to track our own impact.

Unfortunately, there are many countries where many people wish to use our research but none of our top-rated charities are tax-deductible. In some countries, donors may be able to take advantage of donor-advised funds or fiscal sponsorship organizations in order to make tax-deductible gifts to our top charities.

In general, we think that differences in effectiveness between charities are sufficiently large that in cases where the best giving opportunity may not be tax-deductible, it makes sense to give a smaller post-tax donation to the best organization rather than a larger pre-tax donation to a tax-deductible organization. However, we understand that donors may have different intuitions on this question, and are hoping to eventually have tax-deductible giving opportunities in other countries with many GiveWell users.

When does GiveWell grant funds it has collected to charities?

We currently aim to make grants to charities within about two months after the end of each calendar quarter (for example, by the beginning of June based on donations collected in January through March). We may alter this schedule in the future (e.g. if a charity tells us that having the funds sooner will impact its operations or if we face capacity limitations).

If I request that you allocate funds from my donation for your recommended charities, will all of my donation be granted to those charities?

Donors to GiveWell can request that we use their donations for the support of a particular recommended charity (or charities), or for grants to recommended charities at GiveWell’s discretion. Donors communicate allocation preferences to us in several different ways, depending on the donation method they choose; for example, by specifying how they want their donation to be used on our credit card donation form, top charities and standout charities check donation forms (see here for the difference between top and standout charities), or by emailing us.

Our grantmaking process includes review and approval of grants to recommended charities by our Board of Directors. We generally approve grants in accordance with donors’ allocation preferences by granting all funds (less applicable financial transaction fees) to the charities that donors have told us they want to support, and have historically made grants in accordance with donors' allocation preferences in all cases. However, we retain the right to exercise final discretion over how funds from all donations are allocated.

GiveWell retains final discretion over how funds from donations are allocated to ensure that donations from US donors are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law, including when GiveWell grants funds to international charities formed outside the US. Generally speaking, US donors cannot take a charitable contribution deduction for a donation to international charities that are not formed in the US. Some of GiveWell’s recommended charities (and charities we might recommend in the future) are formed outside the US and do not have tax-exempt US-based organizations. GiveWell has reviewed each of these organizations and confirmed that they advance charitable purposes and otherwise meet applicable US legal requirements, so we, as a US 501(c)(3) organization, are able to grant funds to them. However, in order for a US donor to take a charitable contribution deduction for a donation that the donor recommends we grant to such an international charity, GiveWell has to exercise legal discretion and control over the donated funds, which means that we have the right to allocate the funds to a different charitable purpose than to a grant to that international charity.

How do I modify or cancel a recurring donation? How do I update the credit card number for a recurring donation?

Please send us an email at donations@givewell.org if you would like to modify or cancel your monthly donation to GiveWell.

We can only assist with donations made for the support of recommended charities through GiveWell; in order to change or cancel a donation made directly to a GiveWell-recommended charity, you will need to reach out to the charity directly.

I would like to reallocate my existing, recurring donation according to your updated recommendation.

If your existing donation is designated for granting to our recommended charities, we will automatically reallocate the money you donate in accordance with our updated recommendation. There is no need for you to take any action.

I want to give stocks or other securities, or I want to donate by bank transfer.

If you are interested in making a donation of stock to GiveWell, please fill out this form. If you are interested in making a donation to GiveWell via bank transfer, please fill out this form.

Can I donate to a donor-advised fund?

GiveWell has a donor advised fund (DAF) through Vanguard Charitable for this purpose. More information and instructions for donating are available here.

I want to donate in honor of someone.

If you are giving by credit card, there is an option on our online donation forms to dedicate your donation to someone. If you check this box and and tell us the person's email address, we'll send them an email letting them know about your gift. Alternatively, you can download and use our acknowledgement letter templates.

I tried entering my credit card number and got an error. What do I do?

We’re sorry about the trouble. We know that some donors occasionally experience problems with our donation pages. One thing that has worked for some donors in the past is using a different browser.

If that fails, we can also accept credit card donations via PayPal at http://www.givewell.org/about/donate/paypal and we can accept donations by check made out to GiveWell and sent to 182 Howard St #208, San Francisco, CA 94105. Other donation options are listed above.

We appreciate you letting us know if you continue to have website issues so that we can troubleshoot. Please email donations@givewell.org with a description of the problem.

What happens if I don't indicate how I'd like my donation to be used?

We sometimes receive donations without guidance on how the donor wants them to be used, such as a check made out to "GiveWell" with no accompanying top charities or standout charities check donation form (see here for the difference between top and standout charities) as well as donations made through certain online platforms or donor advised funds. We will treat these donations as unrestricted funding, which we may choose to either use for operating expenses or to grant to recommended charities. This designation will be communicated via the receipt you receive from GiveWell, and we're happy to change it if you let us know.

Other questions?

Please don't hesitate to email us at donations@givewell.org.