Published: March 2021 (2014 version)
The purpose of this policy is to provide GiveWell staff with general guidance on what gifts are and are not appropriate to accept in connection with their jobs.
- Nominal: minimal, insignificant
This policy pertains to all GiveWell employees.
GiveWell staff may not accept in connection with their position at GiveWell gifts of more than a nominal value. Prohibited gifts include, but are not limited to, meals or accommodation paid for by a grantee or grantee representative. If rejecting a grantee’s offer would materially negatively impact a staff member's ability to do their job or impose undue burden on the grantee (e.g., if other accommodation is not available at a particular site, or the grantee would have to duplicate effort to share information with GiveWell that is otherwise being shared at an event), offers may be accepted but must be reimbursed by GiveWell. For example, if a GiveWell staff member attends a meal or accepts accommodation paid for by a grantee or grantee representative as part of a site visit, GiveWell will reimburse the grantee for the cost.
Before accepting a gift that must be reimbursed, staff should confirm with their manager that it is otherwise appropriate. For example, there may be broader issues to be considered before attending a group meal or accepting accommodations. If you have questions about what can be accepted or reimbursed, please direct them to the Director of Operations.
To reimburse a grantee for an otherwise prohibited gift, please email the Controller, describe the gift, and provide a receipt (if available) or an estimate of the cost so that GiveWell can initiate a payment in its accounting and payment systems.
Failure to comply with this policy can result in discipline deemed appropriate, up to and including termination. If there is any doubt as to whether a gift made to a member of GiveWell’s staff by any third party falls within this policy, individuals must disclose it to the Director of Operations and seek guidance rather than fail to disclose.
February 17, 2021
Examples of acceptable nominal gifts:
- A charity gave one staff member a set of children’s books and a rattle for her kids. Estimated value: $25.
- A charity gave one staff member a nice notebook. Estimated value: $20.
- A charity gave staff members locally made placemats during a site visit. Estimated value: $5 each, $20 total.
- A vendor sent staff members a bottle of wine as a token of appreciation. Estimated value: $30.
- A charity representative buys a staff member a coffee during a meeting. Estimated value: $5.
Examples of prohibited gifts that would be reimbursed:
- A charity invites a staff member to a private lunch at a restaurant with other donors. GiveWell will reimburse the charity for the actual (if known) or a grossed up estimate of the cost of their portion of the meal, regardless of the estimated per person cost.
- A charity hosts GiveWell staff members at their guest house during a site visit. GiveWell will reimburse the charity for the actual (if known) or a grossed up estimate of the cost of that accommodation.
Point Of Contact
Director of Operations