"The gold standard for giving."

"How do you give? Is there a non-profit that you've been donating to for years? Or do you let the flood wash over you, acting when a heart string feels a tug?

It turns out there's a better way: A small band of researchers, headed by refugees from the financial sector, scour the planet for organizations that have the maximum impact with the dollars they are given. This is the idea behind GiveWell, a charity-evaluating nonprofit started in 2006. Its mission is to identify organizations throughout the world that are doing good, and then subject them to careful scrutiny, including site visits. It posts the results, including extensive case files, on its website for free. Its motto: "Real change for your dollar.''

As we enter into the prime giving season, GiveWell provides a valuable service for the donor who has few preconceptions and just wants to make the world better."

"GiveWell [...] has completely changed the way I think about donating money."

"GiveWell [...] has completely changed the way I think about donating money. [...] Like many start-ups, GiveWell is disruptive. It wants to transform philanthropy from a field where decisions are often governed by emotion and, even, marketing to one whose work is measured, tested and constantly optimized to produce the most good."

"Philanthropy has made huge strides in the last couple of decades, with far more emphasis on cost-effective interventions that are scalable to bring about change. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped lead the way, and Web sites like Givewell.org guide small-time donors."
"When bonus season came around, instead of deciding whether to buy a new suit, car, or a Caribbean vacation, hedge fund analysts Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld, both then 25, agonized over which charities to donate to. They put so much time and effort into figuring it out that they eventually left their jobs ... to start GiveWell, a nonprofit that evaluates charities with hedge-fund–level rigor."
"On average, Americans spend more time watching television in one day than they do researching charities in an entire year. Finding good charities takes time. It means using the few organizations, such as GiveWell, that do in-depth studies of charities' effectiveness. And it means remembering that the best organizations, charitable or otherwise, are built on more than a good story or a charismatic leader."
"GiveWell has filled a huge gap."

"When I speak about why we ought to be doing more to help the world's poorest people - something I do often - the most frequent question I get is: how can we know that our donation will really help the poor?

Until GiveWell came along, it was difficult to give a convincing answer to that question. Previous charity-rating organizations just looked at how much of a charity's income went to program expenses, rather than administration - and it doesn't take much thought to realize that that figure tells you nothing about how effective the charity's programs are. GiveWell has filled a huge gap, and at the same time has started a major trend towards greater transparency and demonstrated cost-effectiveness in the charitable world."

"The detail in which GiveWell explains its reasoning and the thoroughness of its research into its top charities are unmatched."

"The detail in which GiveWell explains its reasoning and the thoroughness of its research into its top charities are unmatched, as far as we've seen. We've been impressed by the co-founders' dedication to their work, humility about what they know and what they don't, and ability to adapt the GiveWell model as they learn.

While Good Ventures does not accept unsolicited requests for funding, we do consider all of GiveWell's recommended charities for substantial grants."

"GiveWell is a godsend."

"Charity is a way to relieve guilt, a way to advertising one’s willingness and ability to make sacrifices, and a way to make other people better off. For those of us who want to maximize the last of these when we give, GiveWell is a godsend. That’s why I make it the primary beneficiary of my charitable donations."

"I can't think of a better resource for a careful donor."

"Having been an activist and donor in the social sector for a few years now, I have not run across a group of people doing more rigorous, demanding evaluations of non-profits than the GiveWell team. They bring a thoughtfulness and precision to each of the fields they study that is rare in the sector. I can't think of a better resource for a careful donor."

"A donor can feel confident that an organization recommended by GiveWell meets the highest standards of performance."
"By far the best charity evaluator working today."

"GiveWell, by far the best charity evaluator working today, has a new top ranked charity, the Against Malaria Foundation. Why is VillageReach, their best ranked charity for several years, no longer at the top? First, GiveWell is ranking more charities and charities are now more willing to provide GiveWell the kind of detailed information on outcomes that GiveWell demands. Thus, more charities are vying for the top spot. Even more important is this:

VillageReach was our top-rated organization for 2009, 2010 and much of 2011 and it has now received over $2 million due to GiveWell's recommendation. We do not believe that VillageReach has short-term funding needs... When was the last time that a charity or evaluator told you that due to successful fund-raising there are now more urgent needs elsewhere? Impressive. As I have for several years, I will be following GiveWell's advice and donating to the Against Malaria Foundation and several of GiveWell's other top charities." "GiveWell's research made it possible for me to pick a charity with confidence." "I found GiveWell while prepping for a special edition of Jeopardy! I was looking for a worthy charity to split my winnings with, and was becoming more and more frustrated with the process -- with my inability to find good information and meaningful metrics, and with the sense that a lot of the nonprofits I was researching existed more for self-preservation than to solve any real problems. But I saw that GiveWell was addressing these exact concerns, making it unique among the resources I found. GiveWell's research made it possible for me to pick a charity with confidence: I selected VillageReach, its top-rated charity, to receive half of what turned out to be a$300,000 prize."