Historically, GiveWell has sought evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, underfunded charities for individual donors to support. We've looked for unusually straightforward, evidence-backed value propositions such as "$X delivers Y bednets, which saves Z lives."
More recently, we have been broadening our work via GiveWell Labs, our project that looks for the best ways to accomplish good with philanthropy - no matter what form and what sector. Within GiveWell Labs, we're open - among other things - to funding political advocacy, scientific research, startup organizations with no track record, projects with no precedent, and projects with extremely long time horizons.
We don't expect to use the same criteria we've used for our traditional work. We haven't fully committed to specific criteria or a specific process. At this point, all we're committed to is seeking to make the best use we can of our limited resources (time, staff capacity) to find the best giving opportunities possible, and continuing to practice extreme transparency in the process. Our goal is not to apply the "evidence-backed/thoroughly-vetted/underfunded" framework to causes where it may be out of place, but rather to improve the level of transparency and public dialogue around how to make the most of one's giving (even if, for many causes, such dialogue revolves around heavily intangible and intuition-laden ideas).
Our thinking on GiveWell Labs evolves quickly and concrete recommendations could be far in the future, so we haven't provided much static content. If you're interested in more information on GiveWell Labs, we encourage you to click through to our complete set of GiveWell Blog posts on GiveWell Labs, which are arranged in reverse chronological order.
Other content related to GiveWell Labs:
- Our list of investigations of philanthropic causes
- Our list of conversation notes (content after the "United States Equality of Opportunity" section is focused on GiveWell Labs; some of the other content is as well)
- Our History of Philanthropy project, which seeks to find and produce better information on what philanthropy has historically succeeded and failed at
- Overview of our work on policy-oriented philanthropy
- Overview of our work on scientific research funding