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September 2021 open thread

All Categories Blogs - Tue, 09/14/2021 - 11:45

Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at info@givewell.org or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.

You can view previous open threads here.

The post September 2021 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

September 2021 open thread

Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at info@givewell.org or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.

You can view previous open threads here.

The post September 2021 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

June 2021 open thread

All Categories Blogs - Mon, 06/14/2021 - 09:04

Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at info@givewell.org or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.

You can view previous open threads here.

The post June 2021 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

June 2021 open thread

Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at info@givewell.org or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.

You can view previous open threads here.

The post June 2021 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Early signs show that you gave more in 2020 than 2019—thank you!

All Categories Blogs - Tue, 05/11/2021 - 11:40

Our donor community appears to have given significantly more in 2020 than 2019, according to early data on donations we processed.

Growth was strong relative to previous years—even 2019, which also had strong growth—and across many different dimensions. Overall, donations to GiveWell more than doubled in 2020.

We estimate that these donations will collectively save more than 12,000 lives; provide over 2 million deworming treatments to children, leading to an approximate increase in that group’s lifetime earnings of more than $21 million; and deliver almost 3,000 cash transfers to low-income households. For simplicity, the impact estimates in this paragraph exclude some donation types, and so don’t represent the full impact of donations to GiveWell in 2020.[1]

“Donations to GiveWell” refers to donations that we received directly:

  • It includes donations to GiveWell for our recommended organizations—including for the Maximum Impact Fund—and unrestricted funding, which may be used for our operations.[2]
  • It excludes donations that were made directly to our recommended organizations (via their own donation platforms) as a direct result of our research, or to other groups that accept donations for GiveWell and/or our recommended organizations, since we don’t yet have complete information about those donations.[3] It also excludes GiveWell Incubation Grant funding.[4] Most donations from Open Philanthropy, a major philanthropic grantmaker with which we work closely, are part of this excluded category because they were made directly to our recommended organizations.[5]We expect these excluded donations to account for a large proportion of total funding we influenced last year. For example, in 2019, we received $54.9 million in “donations to GiveWell.” When we received complete information about donations made directly to our recommended organizations or groups supporting them due to our research, and included them in our assessment of our influence, the amount of money we tracked increased to $155.1 million.[6]

While this post is only a preliminary look at our donors’ collective giving last year, the early signs show incredible growth. Thank you to our donor community!

The takeaway: donations to GiveWell more than doubled

We received more than twice as much funding in 2020 as we did in 2019.

Please click to see larger image.

All amounts are rounded to the nearest $100,000. This chart excludes most support from Open Philanthropy and most GiveWell Incubation Grants.[7]

A caveat: we can slice our data in many different ways. Please take care when comparing the figures in this post to previously-published data on our metrics, which may include or exclude donations differently. (And don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments!)

The details: growth was strong across many dimensions last year

Amount given by donor size category

In 2020, we saw growth in total donations from every donor size category.

Please click to see larger image.

All amounts are rounded to the nearest $100,000. Donors’ size buckets are determined by their total giving over the course of the metrics year.

Amount of unrestricted funding

Donors collectively gave more than twice as much unrestricted funding in 2020 as in 2019.

Unrestricted support is especially valuable to us because of its flexibility. We use it to support our operations and may grant it to our recommended organizations, following our “excess assets” policy, which caps the amount of funding we can hold for our own work.

Please click to see larger image.

All amounts are rounded to the nearest $100,000.

We expect to grant a portion of the unrestricted support we received in 2020 to organizations we recommend.

Number of donors

The total number of donors who gave to GiveWell in 2020 was up 67% from the previous year. Over 40,000 donors gave to GiveWell last year.

Please click to see larger image. What caused this growth? (It’s hard to say!)

As far as we can tell, the vast majority of our growth was organic: people found GiveWell and donated, for reasons we can’t directly attribute to our outreach efforts. For example, people may have searched for “effective donations” online and landed on GiveWell’s website, or heard about GiveWell from a friend and decided to donate.

It’s difficult to measure the impact of our outreach activities, such as advertising, on our growth. Many donors neither report what causes them to donate (by filling out our donor survey) nor give in such a way that we can independently determine what led them to give (for example, by donating through a custom link we share on a podcast advertisement).

Even when donors do report their donation as being due to a particular activity, we may still be missing important parts of the story. For example, if someone donates because their friend told them about GiveWell, and the friend heard about GiveWell through a podcast, we would guess the donor would be likely to report this as a “personal referral” and that we wouldn’t know that the podcast played a role at all. This challenge, while not unique to GiveWell, makes it difficult to tell satisfying stories about what leads people to give.

That said, we do have some limited data. In 2020, we tracked about $5 million in growth that was directly due to our outreach efforts. Now, moving into the realm of speculation: we know that 2020 was an unusual year, and it’s likely that some donations are attributable to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the United States’ Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was designed to encourage charitable giving.[8] Several large donors told us that the CARES Act influenced the amount they gave last year. More speculatively, while many people have experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic, for some donors pandemic restrictions in activities last year might have freed up some disposable income, which they chose to donate. It seems likely to us that these factors contributed to the growth that we saw among our donor community.

We’ll publish a complete metrics report later this year

For now, we’re celebrating this early positive news and the huge impact that our donor community had last year. Thank you for your generosity during this difficult time.

The post Early signs show that you gave more in 2020 than 2019—thank you! appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Early signs show that you gave more in 2020 than 2019—thank you!

Evaluation of Givewell Blogs - Tue, 05/11/2021 - 11:40

Our donor community appears to have given significantly more in 2020 than 2019, according to early data on donations we processed.

Growth was strong relative to previous years—even 2019, which also had strong growth—and across many different dimensions. Overall, donations to GiveWell more than doubled in 2020.

We estimate that these donations will collectively save more than 12,000 lives; provide over 2 million deworming treatments to children, leading to an approximate increase in that group’s lifetime earnings of more than $21 million; and deliver almost 3,000 cash transfers to low-income households. For simplicity, the impact estimates in this paragraph exclude some donation types, and so don’t represent the full impact of donations to GiveWell in 2020.[1]

“Donations to GiveWell” refers to donations that we received directly:

  • It includes donations to GiveWell for our recommended organizations—including for the Maximum Impact Fund—and unrestricted funding, which may be used for our operations.[2]
  • It excludes donations that were made directly to our recommended organizations (via their own donation platforms) as a direct result of our research, or to other groups that accept donations for GiveWell and/or our recommended organizations, since we don’t yet have complete information about those donations.[3] It also excludes GiveWell Incubation Grant funding.[4] Most donations from Open Philanthropy, a major philanthropic grantmaker with which we work closely, are part of this excluded category because they were made directly to our recommended organizations.[5]We expect these excluded donations to account for a large proportion of total funding we influenced last year. For example, in 2019, we received $54.9 million in “donations to GiveWell.” When we received complete information about donations made directly to our recommended organizations or groups supporting them due to our research, and included them in our assessment of our influence, the amount of money we tracked increased to $155.1 million.[6]

While this post is only a preliminary look at our donors’ collective giving last year, the early signs show incredible growth. Thank you to our donor community!

The takeaway: donations to GiveWell more than doubled

We received more than twice as much funding in 2020 as we did in 2019.

Please click to see larger image.

All amounts are rounded to the nearest $100,000. This chart excludes most support from Open Philanthropy and most GiveWell Incubation Grants.[7]

A caveat: we can slice our data in many different ways. Please take care when comparing the figures in this post to previously-published data on our metrics, which may include or exclude donations differently. (And don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments!)

The details: growth was strong across many dimensions last year

Amount given by donor size category

In 2020, we saw growth in total donations from every donor size category.

Please click to see larger image.

All amounts are rounded to the nearest $100,000. Donors’ size buckets are determined by their total giving over the course of the metrics year.

Amount of unrestricted funding

Donors collectively gave more than twice as much unrestricted funding in 2020 as in 2019.

Unrestricted support is especially valuable to us because of its flexibility. We use it to support our operations and may grant it to our recommended organizations, following our “excess assets” policy, which caps the amount of funding we can hold for our own work.

Please click to see larger image.

All amounts are rounded to the nearest $100,000.

We expect to grant a portion of the unrestricted support we received in 2020 to organizations we recommend.

Number of donors

The total number of donors who gave to GiveWell in 2020 was up 67% from the previous year. Over 40,000 donors gave to GiveWell last year.

Please click to see larger image. What caused this growth? (It’s hard to say!)

As far as we can tell, the vast majority of our growth was organic: people found GiveWell and donated, for reasons we can’t directly attribute to our outreach efforts. For example, people may have searched for “effective donations” online and landed on GiveWell’s website, or heard about GiveWell from a friend and decided to donate.

It’s difficult to measure the impact of our outreach activities, such as advertising, on our growth. Many donors neither report what causes them to donate (by filling out our donor survey) nor give in such a way that we can independently determine what led them to give (for example, by donating through a custom link we share on a podcast advertisement).

Even when donors do report their donation as being due to a particular activity, we may still be missing important parts of the story. For example, if someone donates because their friend told them about GiveWell, and the friend heard about GiveWell through a podcast, we would guess the donor would be likely to report this as a “personal referral” and that we wouldn’t know that the podcast played a role at all. This challenge, while not unique to GiveWell, makes it difficult to tell satisfying stories about what leads people to give.

That said, we do have some limited data. In 2020, we tracked about $5 million in growth that was directly due to our outreach efforts. Now, moving into the realm of speculation: we know that 2020 was an unusual year, and it’s likely that some donations are attributable to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the United States’ Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was designed to encourage charitable giving.[8] Several large donors told us that the CARES Act influenced the amount they gave last year. More speculatively, while many people have experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic, for some donors pandemic restrictions in activities last year might have freed up some disposable income, which they chose to donate. It seems likely to us that these factors contributed to the growth that we saw among our donor community.

We’ll publish a complete metrics report later this year

For now, we’re celebrating this early positive news and the huge impact that our donor community had last year. Thank you for your generosity during this difficult time.

The post Early signs show that you gave more in 2020 than 2019—thank you! appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Early signs show that you gave more in 2020 than 2019—thank you!

Our donor community appears to have given significantly more in 2020 than 2019, according to early data on donations we processed.

Growth was strong relative to previous years—even 2019, which also had strong growth—and across many different dimensions. Overall, donations to GiveWell more than doubled in 2020.

We estimate that these donations will collectively save more than 12,000 lives; provide over 2 million deworming treatments to children, leading to an approximate increase in that group’s lifetime earnings of more than $21 million; and deliver almost 3,000 cash transfers to low-income households. For simplicity, the impact estimates in this paragraph exclude some donation types, and so don’t represent the full impact of donations to GiveWell in 2020.[1]

“Donations to GiveWell” refers to donations that we received directly:

  • It includes donations to GiveWell for our recommended organizations—including for the Maximum Impact Fund—and unrestricted funding, which may be used for our operations.[2]
  • It excludes donations that were made directly to our recommended organizations (via their own donation platforms) as a direct result of our research, or to other groups that accept donations for GiveWell and/or our recommended organizations, since we don’t yet have complete information about those donations.[3] It also excludes GiveWell Incubation Grant funding.[4] Most donations from Open Philanthropy, a major philanthropic grantmaker with which we work closely, are part of this excluded category because they were made directly to our recommended organizations.[5]We expect these excluded donations to account for a large proportion of total funding we influenced last year. For example, in 2019, we received $54.9 million in “donations to GiveWell.” When we received complete information about donations made directly to our recommended organizations or groups supporting them due to our research, and included them in our assessment of our influence, the amount of money we tracked increased to $155.1 million.[6]

While this post is only a preliminary look at our donors’ collective giving last year, the early signs show incredible growth. Thank you to our donor community!

The takeaway: donations to GiveWell more than doubled

We received more than twice as much funding in 2020 as we did in 2019.

Please click to see larger image.

All amounts are rounded to the nearest $100,000. This chart excludes most support from Open Philanthropy and most GiveWell Incubation Grants.[7]

A caveat: we can slice our data in many different ways. Please take care when comparing the figures in this post to previously-published data on our metrics, which may include or exclude donations differently. (And don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments!)

The details: growth was strong across many dimensions last year

Amount given by donor size category

In 2020, we saw growth in total donations from every donor size category.

Please click to see larger image.

All amounts are rounded to the nearest $100,000. Donors’ size buckets are determined by their total giving over the course of the metrics year.

Amount of unrestricted funding

Donors collectively gave more than twice as much unrestricted funding in 2020 as in 2019.

Unrestricted support is especially valuable to us because of its flexibility. We use it to support our operations and may grant it to our recommended organizations, following our “excess assets” policy, which caps the amount of funding we can hold for our own work.

Please click to see larger image.

All amounts are rounded to the nearest $100,000.

We expect to grant a portion of the unrestricted support we received in 2020 to organizations we recommend.

Number of donors

The total number of donors who gave to GiveWell in 2020 was up 67% from the previous year. Over 40,000 donors gave to GiveWell last year.

Please click to see larger image. What caused this growth? (It’s hard to say!)

As far as we can tell, the vast majority of our growth was organic: people found GiveWell and donated, for reasons we can’t directly attribute to our outreach efforts. For example, people may have searched for “effective donations” online and landed on GiveWell’s website, or heard about GiveWell from a friend and decided to donate.

It’s difficult to measure the impact of our outreach activities, such as advertising, on our growth. Many donors neither report what causes them to donate (by filling out our donor survey) nor give in such a way that we can independently determine what led them to give (for example, by donating through a custom link we share on a podcast advertisement).

Even when donors do report their donation as being due to a particular activity, we may still be missing important parts of the story. For example, if someone donates because their friend told them about GiveWell, and the friend heard about GiveWell through a podcast, we would guess the donor would be likely to report this as a “personal referral” and that we wouldn’t know that the podcast played a role at all. This challenge, while not unique to GiveWell, makes it difficult to tell satisfying stories about what leads people to give.

That said, we do have some limited data. In 2020, we tracked about $5 million in growth that was directly due to our outreach efforts. Now, moving into the realm of speculation: we know that 2020 was an unusual year, and it’s likely that some donations are attributable to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the United States’ Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was designed to encourage charitable giving.[8] Several large donors told us that the CARES Act influenced the amount they gave last year. More speculatively, while many people have experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic, for some donors pandemic restrictions in activities last year might have freed up some disposable income, which they chose to donate. It seems likely to us that these factors contributed to the growth that we saw among our donor community.

We’ll publish a complete metrics report later this year

For now, we’re celebrating this early positive news and the huge impact that our donor community had last year. Thank you for your generosity during this difficult time.

The post Early signs show that you gave more in 2020 than 2019—thank you! appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Update on Board meeting transparency

All Categories Blogs - Thu, 04/15/2021 - 12:29

One of GiveWell’s organizational values is maintaining a high degree of transparency about our work. As part of our transparency efforts, we’ve published written materials and audio recordings from each meeting of GiveWell’s Board of Directors since we were founded.

We recently increased the quality of and level of detail in the written materials we share with our Board members prior to each meeting. We made this update to improve our engagement with our Board. As we’re continuing to publish these written materials, this update will also improve our public transparency.

We’ve decided to stop publishing audio recordings going forward, as we don’t think they were very helpful to understanding our work and there were costs to producing them.

Overall, we believe that our updated written Board materials provide a better view of our governance than the previous combination of less-detailed written materials and audio.

As no longer sharing audio is the end of a longstanding practice, we want to explain in a bit more detail what you can expect from our Board meeting materials going forward and why we’re making this change.

Why we share Board meeting materials

We’ve published materials from our Board meetings since GiveWell was founded in 2007. While we don’t share everything publicly—we redact sensitive or confidential information, such as details about staff performance (more here)—the amount we share is uncommon in the nonprofit sector. Our aim is to be open about key topics and questions related to GiveWell’s progress and future plans.

We’ve increased Board engagement through written materials, which we publish on our website

Before each meeting, we share written materials with Board members.1You can see an example of the materials here, under “Attachments.” jQuery('#footnote_plugin_tooltip_13254_1_1').tooltip({ tip: '#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_13254_1_1', tipClass: 'footnote_tooltip', effect: 'fade', predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: 'top right', relative: true, offset: [10, 10], }); We’ve recently set the goal of using these materials to tell Board members approximately everything they need to know about the topics on the meeting agenda, which means these materials are more substantive now. In the past, we weren’t committed to writing everything down.

We now ask the Board to closely review the materials before each meeting so that they can send us questions, which we answer in writing. Meetings center on any remaining questions about our written responses.

We publish all of these materials on our website after each meeting, including (starting with the August 2020 meeting) Board member questions and our answers.

We’re no longer publishing audio recordings due to limited benefit

Our transparency goal is to be open about our governance. We don’t think sharing Board audio meaningfully increases our openness, and it involves costs.

Board meetings tend to focus on in-depth discussion of a small number of issues rather than the overall story of our progress and priorities. Given that, we don’t think meeting audio by itself adds much to our audience’s overall understanding of our work. As with written materials, there’s a cost to publishing audio; redacting sensitive information takes time. We also suspect that recording the meetings for publication imposed minor costs on the quality of the discussions.

Taking these costs into consideration along with the limited benefits, we’ve decided to stop publishing meeting audio. The August 2020 meeting, materials from which were published today, is the last one for which we expect to publish audio.

We remain committed to transparency

Although we’re ending the practice of sharing audio, we remain committed to significant transparency about our governance and believe that we’re better achieving our goals through the improvements we’ve made to our written materials.

We would appreciate hearing from you in the comments if you have any feedback on our approach.

Notes[+]

↑1 You can see an example of the materials here, under “Attachments.” function footnote_expand_reference_container_13254_1() { jQuery('#footnote_references_container_13254_1').show(); jQuery('#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button_13254_1').text('−'); } function footnote_collapse_reference_container_13254_1() { jQuery('#footnote_references_container_13254_1').hide(); jQuery('#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button_13254_1').text('+'); } function footnote_expand_collapse_reference_container_13254_1() { if (jQuery('#footnote_references_container_13254_1').is(':hidden')) { footnote_expand_reference_container_13254_1(); } else { footnote_collapse_reference_container_13254_1(); } } function footnote_moveToAnchor_13254_1(p_str_TargetID) { footnote_expand_reference_container_13254_1(); var l_obj_Target = jQuery('#' + p_str_TargetID); if (l_obj_Target.length) { jQuery('html, body').animate({ scrollTop: l_obj_Target.offset().top - window.innerHeight * 0.2 }, 380); } }

The post Update on Board meeting transparency appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Update on Board meeting transparency

One of GiveWell’s organizational values is maintaining a high degree of transparency about our work. As part of our transparency efforts, we’ve published written materials and audio recordings from each meeting of GiveWell’s Board of Directors since we were founded.

We recently increased the quality of and level of detail in the written materials we share with our Board members prior to each meeting. We made this update to improve our engagement with our Board. As we’re continuing to publish these written materials, this update will also improve our public transparency.

We’ve decided to stop publishing audio recordings going forward, as we don’t think they were very helpful to understanding our work and there were costs to producing them.

Overall, we believe that our updated written Board materials provide a better view of our governance than the previous combination of less-detailed written materials and audio.

As no longer sharing audio is the end of a longstanding practice, we want to explain in a bit more detail what you can expect from our Board meeting materials going forward and why we’re making this change.

Why we share Board meeting materials

We’ve published materials from our Board meetings since GiveWell was founded in 2007. While we don’t share everything publicly—we redact sensitive or confidential information, such as details about staff performance (more here)—the amount we share is uncommon in the nonprofit sector. Our aim is to be open about key topics and questions related to GiveWell’s progress and future plans.

We’ve increased Board engagement through written materials, which we publish on our website

Before each meeting, we share written materials with Board members.1You can see an example of the materials here, under “Attachments.” jQuery('#footnote_plugin_tooltip_13254_1_1').tooltip({ tip: '#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_13254_1_1', tipClass: 'footnote_tooltip', effect: 'fade', predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: 'top right', relative: true, offset: [10, 10], }); We’ve recently set the goal of using these materials to tell Board members approximately everything they need to know about the topics on the meeting agenda, which means these materials are more substantive now. In the past, we weren’t committed to writing everything down.

We now ask the Board to closely review the materials before each meeting so that they can send us questions, which we answer in writing. Meetings center on any remaining questions about our written responses.

We publish all of these materials on our website after each meeting, including (starting with the August 2020 meeting) Board member questions and our answers.

We’re no longer publishing audio recordings due to limited benefit

Our transparency goal is to be open about our governance. We don’t think sharing Board audio meaningfully increases our openness, and it involves costs.

Board meetings tend to focus on in-depth discussion of a small number of issues rather than the overall story of our progress and priorities. Given that, we don’t think meeting audio by itself adds much to our audience’s overall understanding of our work. As with written materials, there’s a cost to publishing audio; redacting sensitive information takes time. We also suspect that recording the meetings for publication imposed minor costs on the quality of the discussions.

Taking these costs into consideration along with the limited benefits, we’ve decided to stop publishing meeting audio. The August 2020 meeting, materials from which were published today, is the last one for which we expect to publish audio.

We remain committed to transparency

Although we’re ending the practice of sharing audio, we remain committed to significant transparency about our governance and believe that we’re better achieving our goals through the improvements we’ve made to our written materials.

We would appreciate hearing from you in the comments if you have any feedback on our approach.

Notes[+]

↑1 You can see an example of the materials here, under “Attachments.” function footnote_expand_reference_container_13254_1() { jQuery('#footnote_references_container_13254_1').show(); jQuery('#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button_13254_1').text('−'); } function footnote_collapse_reference_container_13254_1() { jQuery('#footnote_references_container_13254_1').hide(); jQuery('#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button_13254_1').text('+'); } function footnote_expand_collapse_reference_container_13254_1() { if (jQuery('#footnote_references_container_13254_1').is(':hidden')) { footnote_expand_reference_container_13254_1(); } else { footnote_collapse_reference_container_13254_1(); } } function footnote_moveToAnchor_13254_1(p_str_TargetID) { footnote_expand_reference_container_13254_1(); var l_obj_Target = jQuery('#' + p_str_TargetID); if (l_obj_Target.length) { jQuery('html, body').animate({ scrollTop: l_obj_Target.offset().top - window.innerHeight * 0.2 }, 380); } }

The post Update on Board meeting transparency appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

March 2021 open thread

All Categories Blogs - Wed, 03/24/2021 - 13:07

Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at info@givewell.org or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.

You can view previous open threads here.

The post March 2021 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

March 2021 open thread

Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at info@givewell.org or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.

You can view previous open threads here.

The post March 2021 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Donors in the Netherlands can now make tax-deductible gifts through GiveWell

We’re excited to announce that donations to GiveWell are now tax-deductible in the Netherlands!

Dutch donors can make donations on the GiveWell donate page. Our top recommendation for all donors is to give to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund, which we grant regularly to our recommended charities according to where we believe donations can do the most good.

Additional details for donors in the Netherlands

GiveWell is a registered Public Benefit Organization (Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling, or ANBI) in the Netherlands. Our status is listed here, under our legal name, The Clear Fund. Our identification number, or RSIN, is 8262.78.516.

We are happy to accept one-time donations, recurring donations, and five-year gift agreements (periodic gift agreements) for donors in the Netherlands. For general questions, please contact donations@givewell.org. Dutch donors who are specifically interested in setting up a periodic agreement should email operations@givewell.org.

Information for donors outside of the Netherlands

Our donors have requested additional giving options outside of the United States. The Netherlands is the first country in which we have registered outside of the U.S. We plan to register in additional countries going forward.

Current information about tax-deductibility for GiveWell donors outside of the Netherlands and the United States may be found here.

We would like to thank Effective Altruism Netherlands for their help with our registration process. Thank you!

The post Donors in the Netherlands can now make tax-deductible gifts through GiveWell appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Donors in the Netherlands can now make tax-deductible gifts through GiveWell

All Categories Blogs - Wed, 01/20/2021 - 12:54

We’re excited to announce that donations to GiveWell are now tax-deductible in the Netherlands!

Dutch donors can make donations on the GiveWell donate page. Our top recommendation for all donors is to give to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund, which we grant regularly to our recommended charities according to where we believe donations can do the most good.

Additional details for donors in the Netherlands

GiveWell is a registered Public Benefit Organization (Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling, or ANBI) in the Netherlands. Our status is listed here, under our legal name, The Clear Fund. Our identification number, or RSIN, is 8262.78.516.

We are happy to accept one-time donations, recurring donations, and five-year gift agreements (periodic gift agreements) for donors in the Netherlands. For general questions, please contact donations@givewell.org. Dutch donors who are specifically interested in setting up a periodic agreement should email operations@givewell.org.

Information for donors outside of the Netherlands

Our donors have requested additional giving options outside of the United States. The Netherlands is the first country in which we have registered outside of the U.S. We plan to register in additional countries going forward.

Current information about tax-deductibility for GiveWell donors outside of the Netherlands and the United States may be found here.

We would like to thank Effective Altruism Netherlands for their help with our registration process. Thank you!

The post Donors in the Netherlands can now make tax-deductible gifts through GiveWell appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Do you have questions about giving in 2020?

All Categories Blogs - Mon, 12/21/2020 - 14:00

Many people make charitable donations in December. If you’re considering making a gift in the coming weeks and you want more information before doing so, we’re happy to help!

We’re glad to answer questions in writing and on the phone. For written responses, please email donations@givewell.org or leave a comment on this blog post. For a phone call, please fill out this form to request a call with a GiveWell staff member.

We’re happy to field questions on topics like:

  • which organizations we recommend most highly today and why,
  • the pros and cons of different donation methods,
  • the tax deductibility of different giving options and the implications of the CARES Act for U.S. donors,
  • support for logistical questions about making a donation,
  • additional details on the Maximum Impact Fund, our top recommendation for donors,
  • and more.

We hope to hear from you!

The post Do you have questions about giving in 2020? appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Do you have questions about giving in 2020?

Top Charities Blogs - Mon, 12/21/2020 - 14:00

Many people make charitable donations in December. If you’re considering making a gift in the coming weeks and you want more information before doing so, we’re happy to help!

We’re glad to answer questions in writing and on the phone. For written responses, please email donations@givewell.org or leave a comment on this blog post. For a phone call, please fill out this form to request a call with a GiveWell staff member.

We’re happy to field questions on topics like:

  • which organizations we recommend most highly today and why,
  • the pros and cons of different donation methods,
  • the tax deductibility of different giving options and the implications of the CARES Act for U.S. donors,
  • support for logistical questions about making a donation,
  • additional details on the Maximum Impact Fund, our top recommendation for donors,
  • and more.

We hope to hear from you!

The post Do you have questions about giving in 2020? appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Do you have questions about giving in 2020?

Many people make charitable donations in December. If you’re considering making a gift in the coming weeks and you want more information before doing so, we’re happy to help!

We’re glad to answer questions in writing and on the phone. For written responses, please email donations@givewell.org or leave a comment on this blog post. For a phone call, please fill out this form to request a call with a GiveWell staff member.

We’re happy to field questions on topics like:

  • which organizations we recommend most highly today and why,
  • the pros and cons of different donation methods,
  • the tax deductibility of different giving options and the implications of the CARES Act for U.S. donors,
  • support for logistical questions about making a donation,
  • additional details on the Maximum Impact Fund, our top recommendation for donors,
  • and more.

We hope to hear from you!

The post Do you have questions about giving in 2020? appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

December 2020 open thread

All Categories Blogs - Tue, 12/15/2020 - 14:49

Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at info@givewell.org or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.

You can view our September 2020 open thread here.

The post December 2020 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

December 2020 open thread

Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at info@givewell.org or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments.

You can view our September 2020 open thread here.

The post December 2020 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Staff members’ personal donations for giving season 2020

All Categories Blogs - Thu, 12/10/2020 - 12:13

For this post, a number of GiveWell staff members volunteered to share the thinking behind their personal donations for the year. We’ve published similar posts in previous years.1See our staff giving posts from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013. jQuery('#footnote_plugin_tooltip_13135_1').tooltip({ tip: '#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_13135_1', tipClass: 'footnote_tooltip', effect: 'fade', predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: 'top right', relative: true, offset: [10, 10], }); Staff are listed alphabetically by first name.

You can click the below links to jump to a staff member’s entry:

Andrew Martin (Senior Research Associate)

It’s remarkable to me that the programs of GiveWell’s top charities—several of which we estimate can save a life for $3,000 to $5,000—are bottlenecked by limited funding. With additional funding, we expect that our top charities could scale up their work further or expand their programs to new countries.

I’m excited to make a very small dent in our top charities’ funding gaps by giving my annual donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund.

Catherine Hollander (Senior Research Communications Officer)

This year, I am planning to give 80% of my donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. I am excited to support all of our recommended organizations. I am glad for the research team to choose where my donation can achieve the most when it’s granted—plus, I look forward to the email letting me know what impact my contribution had.

I plan to allocate the remaining 20% of my donation to support criminal justice reform and the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). These decisions have been informed by the work of Chloe Cockburn and Alexander Berger at Open Philanthropy.

Most years, I save up and make all of my donations at the end of the year. While I am allocating the majority of my donation this year in December as usual, I also made several donations throughout the year to social justice organizations.

Devin Jacob (Technical Project Manager)

This year I am giving 22% of my donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. In previous years I have selected specific GiveWell-recommended charities to support, for reasons varying from greater confidence in specific interventions to placing less value on saving lives relative to improving lives. This year I gave most of my charitable budget away prior to the end-of-year giving season, and am choosing to give the remainder to the Maximum Impact Fund, where I am confident it will do a lot of good.

My other giving in 2020 breaks down as follows:

  • Social justice and policy-related causes – 25%. This includes organizations working on issues including immigration, the Black Lives Matter movement and criminal justice reform, COVID-related campaigns not related to health care, support for labor activism, etc.
  • Domestic political campaigns – 19%. I donated more than I usually do to political campaigns this year.
  • Nonprofit news organizations – 7%. For example, CalMatters, The Center for Investigative Reporting, etc. Much of this giving is done jointly with my partner.
  • Local charity, both formal and informal – 19%. This is a rough estimate of cash gifts to people in my community and a local mutual aid organization.
  • GiveWell-recommended charities, various – 7%. In the course of my regular work I make many small donations through GiveWell while testing payment platforms. These are spread somewhat randomly amongst our top charities, with occasional gifts to standout charities as well. I choose not to refund these donations, which results in a somewhat haphazard allocation of charitable dollars. I am comfortable with that because I believe all of the charities on our list do great work, and I’m not particularly concerned with optimizing the impact of all my donations.

Elie Hassenfeld (Chief Executive Officer)

We’re giving the vast majority of our donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. GiveWell’s top charities have huge, direct impacts on the people they serve.

We also gave smaller amounts to other organizations: ~10% to a political campaign, ~5% to support people in our local community who were struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and much smaller amounts to other organizations.

Isabel Arjmand (Internal Communications Officer)

With my annual giving, the most important thing to me is to have an impact on improving the lives of people who are in need and to play a small role in alleviating global inequality. I’m extremely lucky to be in a position to donate, and I believe I have an obligation to give away a portion of my disposable income. There is so much injustice and suffering one could address, but of all the issues in the world, global poverty and inequality is especially massive—and it’s an area where, thanks to GiveWell, I can have an impact.

So, I’ll be giving the vast majority (over 80%) of my donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. The Maximum Impact Fund is, as the name implies, the best place I know of to donate in terms of expected impact.

I feel conflicted about giving any of my annual charitable contribution to something other than the Maximum Impact Fund, because the most important aspect of my giving is how much it helps other people. But I’m inclined to support some other causes that I believe to be very important, but that lend themselves less well to GiveWell-style evaluations in some cases, and that in other cases may well be less impactful per dollar donated. The rest of my giving will go to:

  • Organization(s) working to address climate change. I haven’t chosen one yet, but I plan to look at the research done by Founders Pledge and by Giving Green, and also consider Earthjustice, which I’ve given to in previous years.
  • The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), to support and facilitate immigration to the U.S. I learned about IRAP through the work of Open Philanthropy.
  • GiveDirectly (in Africa, not its U.S. program). As a financially privileged person in the U.S., I like the idea of giving some cash directly to people who really need it. I essentially believe that in an ideal world, the distribution of global wealth would be radically different, and a donation to GiveDirectly is a small step toward and signal of support for that future. This donation is small because I expect the Maximum Impact Fund has a greater impact on global poverty per dollar donated.

I also made small donations to racial justice organizations and political organizing, and to directly support people in need, earlier this year. Those donations were more emotionally motivated and came out of what I’d otherwise have spent on myself rather than my charitable budget.

James Snowden (Program Officer)

This year, I’m giving all of my donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. GiveWell’s recommendations continue to be the best way I know of to help people.

Earlier this year, I considered giving to organizations working to address racial injustice in the United States or the U.K. I decided not to. My conception of justice is centered on inequality. The greatest source of inequality in the world continues to be the accident of where someone is born. I think I can do more to create a just world, as well as help people as much as possible, by continuing to focus my giving internationally through GiveWell.

Jim Bobowski (Director of Marketing)

Although not by design, my family typically gives in three categories about equally each year. One third is directed locally toward community programs (school, Scouts, sporting programs) that we have a direct connection with and need support. One third is directed domestically to causes outside of our community. The final third is directed internationally, so we consciously think about and help people who face incredible economic and health hardships.

Our end-of-the-year decision was made significantly easier this year. Since we contributed extensively to political races, we needed to allocate only our international giving, a task made easier through the Maximum Impact Fund. After a year working at GiveWell and seeing the rigor and care with which the research team approaches each funding decision, I am convinced there is no better way I can help people abroad than entrusting Elie and the research team to allocate my family’s donation.

We also decided to take a portion of our planned 2021 international giving and turn it into a recurring GiveWell donation, also directed to the Maximum Impact Fund. I am hopeful that doing this will make giving more naturally embedded in our lives. I’m also hopeful it will provide our research team a bit more funding throughout the year and flexibility over which programs they support.

Justin Loiseau (Senior Research Associate)

My partner and I focused our giving this year on three overlapping objectives: maximize impact, increase incomes, and reduce climate change.

  • To maximize impact, we gave to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. We especially like this fund because it allocates money based on timely opportunities and overall room for more funding among GiveWell’s top charities.
  • Since we personally place a higher value on increasing incomes relative to saving lives than GiveWell, we also gave directly to GiveDirectly. With COVID-19, we expect GiveDirectly’s transfers have had a greater cushioning effect on household economic shocks than normal.
  • We are in the process of offsetting our (current and future) family’s carbon footprints. Rather than directly offsetting via carbon credits, we believe radical policy change and innovation are more likely to mitigate catastrophic climate change. We are therefore donating our carbon-footprint-equivalent cost to organizations working on these issues. This year, we donated to the Founders Pledge Climate Change Fund to take advantage of its match offer, but would otherwise have donated to the Clean Air Task Force (CATF). The CATF is included in the Founders Pledge’s prospectus and is also recommended by IDinsight’s Giving Green initiative.

Miranda Kaplan (Content Editor)

Though I haven’t been as thoughtful as I’d hoped to be this year about charitable giving, I’m happy to report that the majority of my family’s total giving will go to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund.

My partner and I are longtime monthly donors to GiveDirectly, have remained so this year, and plan to continue that support in the future. We think the idea behind GiveDirectly’s work is important, and with our contributions we hope to both directly finance GiveDirectly and encourage the practice of empowering those living in poverty by providing them with cash they can use as they see fit. Ultimately, though, I want the bulk of our giving to do as much good as possible, and donating to the Maximum Impact Fund both is more cost-effective and allows GiveWell the flexibility to respond to changing levels of need among our recommended charities. Earlier this year, we committed to donating the federal stimulus payments we received in response to COVID-19, a total of $2,400; after many months of hemming and hawing, we’ve decided that all of that money will go to the Maximum Impact Fund.

Beyond that, my partner and I have made many small donations throughout the year to a number of causes, including organizations advocating for racial justice, journalism nonprofits, political campaigns, and individuals we know facing financial hardship here and abroad. Together these gifts made up probably no more than 20% of our total giving. In many of these cases, we felt fairly confident that a small amount of money would mean a great deal to the recipient and would be near-immediately forgotten by us. Though I hope to continue steering more of our giving to the most cost-effective opportunities possible, I imagine we’ll always reserve some of it for similar funding emergencies that are literally or metaphorically closer to home.

Natalie Crispin (Program Officer)

We will be giving our annual gift to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund.

GiveWell is considering a few options for allocating Maximum Impact Fund donations received in the last quarter of 2020, including both life-saving and income-increasing programs. We are unlikely to be able to close all of the highly cost-effective funding gaps we see this year, and I am excited to help narrow the gap.

I’ve had the opportunity over the last ten years to work directly with each of our top charities. In early 2020, it looked like this year would be very different from past years. At the start of the pandemic, it seemed inevitable that the programs our top charities support would be significantly disrupted, if not fully cancelled, for an indefinite amount of time. But these predictions did not play out, with most programs going forward close to their original schedules with modifications to keep health workers and program participants safe. This is in no small part because of the flexibility and dedication shown by the staff of our top charities and their partners in government health and education ministries, who redesigned programs, handled new logistical challenges, stepped up coordination in a time of remote work, and added new processes to already full workloads. I am very glad to be among their supporters.

Neil Buddy Shah (Managing Director)

The overall goal of my partner’s and my giving is to improve the well-being of living beings as much as possible. Therefore, we plan to split our giving this year roughly evenly between:

  • GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund, because it has incredibly cost-effective, direct impacts on saving and improving lives, better than anything I have been able to find elsewhere.
  • IDinsight, because of its work to ensure that large-scale poverty alleviation programs are informed by rigorous evidence on what is most effective. I also used to be CEO and co-founder of IDinsight and believe in its long-term potential to create large-scale improvements in people’s lives, especially through its partnerships with governments across Africa and Asia and with large, evidence-oriented funders and nonprofits like GiveWell.
  • Animal welfare causes, supporting a collection of opportunities to reduce animal suffering.

Nicole Zok (Content Editing Lead)

For the past few years I’ve been donating 10% of my income, which is what I intend to do ~indefinitely. I believe that most of my impact comes through my work, but also find it incredibly motivating that as an individual donor I can save multiple lives per year with my donations.

I feel like someone says this every year, but I think GiveWell’s research team is in the strongest position it’s ever been in, and I believe even more strongly than in previous years that our recommendations are some of the best opportunities I could give to. Since I want my donation to go where it’s most needed, I’m giving to the Maximum Impact Fund. When I’ve donated to this option in past years (what we previously called “grants to recommended charities at GiveWell’s discretion”), knowing that some of my own money was on the line made me feel a lot more invested when it came time to think about where to direct this funding. I think that’s a helpful motivator, though not a crux for why I chose this option.

This year in particular, lots of causes have tugged at my heartstrings. Humanity has come an incredibly long way in the past 100,000 years (I’d much rather be alive now than at any other time in the past), but it’s clear that there’s still a lot that could be better for the people on this blue dot. All of the reminders this year of the many ways in which people are suffering have really solidified for me that there will always be tons of causes in need of support, which makes me feel even more committed to spending my scarce resources in a way that I believe will do the most good (according to my values). I believe that my donation to the Maximum Impact Fund will save a couple of children’s lives, and I don’t know of anything I’d rather support.

Olivia Larsen (Philanthropy Advisor)

I’m very excited that I gave the vast majority of my annual donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund! I continue to be thrilled at the prospect of being able to donate to charities that can save a human life for just a few thousand dollars, and I’m very lucky to be in a financial position to donate.

With most of my annual charitable giving, I want to have as much of an impact as I can. But I also come across opportunities during the year to support causes I care about, and it feels important to me to contribute toward those (most notably, a few different bail funds in the United States) as ways to take tangible action toward values I hold, rather than spending on myself.

Steph Stojanovic (Director of Development)

My family committed to giving 10% of our income several years ago. We will likely split our giving between GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund and unrestricted support of One for the World. We think it’s important to support groups that introduce new audiences to effective giving. My husband is a former board member of One for the World, and we give to it because we think it is doing a good job of spreading the concept of effective giving to college and graduate students. If I didn’t work at GiveWell, we would donate to GiveWell in an unrestricted manner to support operations and outreach expenses, but it feels a little weird to pay some of my own salary in a roundabout way, so we chose the Maximum Impact Fund instead! It is the best way to maximally leverage GiveWell’s research expertise.

Teryn Mattox (Program Officer)

I am extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to make the world a better place through both my day-to-day work and my monthly giving. I am so proud of and excited by the work we do at GiveWell to find giving opportunities that improve the lives of the global poor, and I think the Maximum Impact Fund is one of the best ways donors can improve human welfare with their money.

I also strongly weigh the welfare of animals in the moral calculus that drives my giving. In 2020, my family decided to transition nearly all of our giving to organizations promoting animal welfare. I feel comfortable making this switch given the amount of time and energy I devote to furthering GiveWell’s work improving the lives of the global poor. We felt particularly compelled to do this based on the intensity of the suffering inflicted upon animals, the staggering numbers of factory-farmed animals being brutally tortured each year, the potential impact of our donations in reducing this suffering, and our beliefs about the importance of animal suffering. We give to a variety of organizations promoting farmed animal welfare, most of which are recommended by Animal Charity Evaluators. We also give to the Effective Altruism Animal Welfare Fund and give additional money to several of the charities endorsed by the fund.

Whitney Shinkle (Director of Operations)

I am a relative outlier among GiveWell staff. I believe strongly in GiveWell’s work and the need for effectiveness to be a critical consideration in deciding where public and private “development” dollars are spent. However, I also feel a particularly strong obligation to support people who are suffering harm caused by other people. There are a lot of nuances that could be drawn, but generally I am most concerned by war, criminal and political violence, and related social injustices. Not least among the reasons that I find them particularly galling is the degree to which these problems disrupt and prevent access to simple, well-known, cost-effective life improvements like basic health care, particularly for vulnerable people.

This year I am giving ~10% of my donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. I think all the programs GiveWell recommends do excellent work, and I trust the research team to identify where these funds can do the most good at any given time.

The remaining ~90% went to a number of organizations that work in areas less amenable to GiveWell’s particular analyses (though I hold out hope that future years might see more work in these arenas). I mostly donate to organizations with which I and/or respected colleagues have personal professional experience and that I believe to be making good efforts to demonstrate effectiveness.

Of this amount, the majority went to organizations that work on:

  • International conflict mitigation: supporting refugees and internally displaced persons, positive peace-building efforts, and economic redevelopment.
  • Domestic social justice: racial and restorative justice, immigration, anti-human trafficking, and anti-domestic violence.

A small minority was directed to organizations that address my concerns less directly. These organizations work on:

  • Specific political campaigns and democracy-building
  • Environmental conservation and climate change
  • Nonprofit news

My volunteer time this year went mostly toward U.S. political campaigns, as well as some advocacy on behalf of U.S.-based racial equity organizations.

Notes[+]

↑1 See our staff giving posts from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013. function footnote_expand_reference_container_13135() { jQuery('#footnote_references_container_13135').show(); jQuery('#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button_13135').text('−'); } function footnote_collapse_reference_container_13135() { jQuery('#footnote_references_container_13135').hide(); jQuery('#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button_13135').text('+'); } function footnote_expand_collapse_reference_container_13135() { if (jQuery('#footnote_references_container_13135').is(':hidden')) { footnote_expand_reference_container_13135(); } else { footnote_collapse_reference_container_13135(); } } function footnote_moveToAnchor_13135(p_str_TargetID) { footnote_expand_reference_container_13135(); var l_obj_Target = jQuery('#' + p_str_TargetID); if (l_obj_Target.length) { jQuery('html, body').animate({ scrollTop: l_obj_Target.offset().top - window.innerHeight * 0.20 }, 380);/*duration*/ } }

The post Staff members’ personal donations for giving season 2020 appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

Staff members’ personal donations for giving season 2020

For this post, a number of GiveWell staff members volunteered to share the thinking behind their personal donations for the year. We’ve published similar posts in previous years.1See our staff giving posts from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013. jQuery('#footnote_plugin_tooltip_13135_1').tooltip({ tip: '#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_13135_1', tipClass: 'footnote_tooltip', effect: 'fade', predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: 'top right', relative: true, offset: [10, 10], }); Staff are listed alphabetically by first name.

You can click the below links to jump to a staff member’s entry:

Andrew Martin (Senior Research Associate)

It’s remarkable to me that the programs of GiveWell’s top charities—several of which we estimate can save a life for $3,000 to $5,000—are bottlenecked by limited funding. With additional funding, we expect that our top charities could scale up their work further or expand their programs to new countries.

I’m excited to make a very small dent in our top charities’ funding gaps by giving my annual donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund.

Catherine Hollander (Senior Research Communications Officer)

This year, I am planning to give 80% of my donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. I am excited to support all of our recommended organizations. I am glad for the research team to choose where my donation can achieve the most when it’s granted—plus, I look forward to the email letting me know what impact my contribution had.

I plan to allocate the remaining 20% of my donation to support criminal justice reform and the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). These decisions have been informed by the work of Chloe Cockburn and Alexander Berger at Open Philanthropy.

Most years, I save up and make all of my donations at the end of the year. While I am allocating the majority of my donation this year in December as usual, I also made several donations throughout the year to social justice organizations.

Devin Jacob (Technical Project Manager)

This year I am giving 22% of my donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. In previous years I have selected specific GiveWell-recommended charities to support, for reasons varying from greater confidence in specific interventions to placing less value on saving lives relative to improving lives. This year I gave most of my charitable budget away prior to the end-of-year giving season, and am choosing to give the remainder to the Maximum Impact Fund, where I am confident it will do a lot of good.

My other giving in 2020 breaks down as follows:

  • Social justice and policy-related causes – 25%. This includes organizations working on issues including immigration, the Black Lives Matter movement and criminal justice reform, COVID-related campaigns not related to health care, support for labor activism, etc.
  • Domestic political campaigns – 19%. I donated more than I usually do to political campaigns this year.
  • Nonprofit news organizations – 7%. For example, CalMatters, The Center for Investigative Reporting, etc. Much of this giving is done jointly with my partner.
  • Local charity, both formal and informal – 19%. This is a rough estimate of cash gifts to people in my community and a local mutual aid organization.
  • GiveWell-recommended charities, various – 7%. In the course of my regular work I make many small donations through GiveWell while testing payment platforms. These are spread somewhat randomly amongst our top charities, with occasional gifts to standout charities as well. I choose not to refund these donations, which results in a somewhat haphazard allocation of charitable dollars. I am comfortable with that because I believe all of the charities on our list do great work, and I’m not particularly concerned with optimizing the impact of all my donations.

Elie Hassenfeld (Chief Executive Officer)

We’re giving the vast majority of our donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. GiveWell’s top charities have huge, direct impacts on the people they serve.

We also gave smaller amounts to other organizations: ~10% to a political campaign, ~5% to support people in our local community who were struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and much smaller amounts to other organizations.

Isabel Arjmand (Internal Communications Officer)

With my annual giving, the most important thing to me is to have an impact on improving the lives of people who are in need and to play a small role in alleviating global inequality. I’m extremely lucky to be in a position to donate, and I believe I have an obligation to give away a portion of my disposable income. There is so much injustice and suffering one could address, but of all the issues in the world, global poverty and inequality is especially massive—and it’s an area where, thanks to GiveWell, I can have an impact.

So, I’ll be giving the vast majority (over 80%) of my donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. The Maximum Impact Fund is, as the name implies, the best place I know of to donate in terms of expected impact.

I feel conflicted about giving any of my annual charitable contribution to something other than the Maximum Impact Fund, because the most important aspect of my giving is how much it helps other people. But I’m inclined to support some other causes that I believe to be very important, but that lend themselves less well to GiveWell-style evaluations in some cases, and that in other cases may well be less impactful per dollar donated. The rest of my giving will go to:

  • Organization(s) working to address climate change. I haven’t chosen one yet, but I plan to look at the research done by Founders Pledge and by Giving Green, and also consider Earthjustice, which I’ve given to in previous years.
  • The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), to support and facilitate immigration to the U.S. I learned about IRAP through the work of Open Philanthropy.
  • GiveDirectly (in Africa, not its U.S. program). As a financially privileged person in the U.S., I like the idea of giving some cash directly to people who really need it. I essentially believe that in an ideal world, the distribution of global wealth would be radically different, and a donation to GiveDirectly is a small step toward and signal of support for that future. This donation is small because I expect the Maximum Impact Fund has a greater impact on global poverty per dollar donated.

I also made small donations to racial justice organizations and political organizing, and to directly support people in need, earlier this year. Those donations were more emotionally motivated and came out of what I’d otherwise have spent on myself rather than my charitable budget.

James Snowden (Program Officer)

This year, I’m giving all of my donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. GiveWell’s recommendations continue to be the best way I know of to help people.

Earlier this year, I considered giving to organizations working to address racial injustice in the United States or the U.K. I decided not to. My conception of justice is centered on inequality. The greatest source of inequality in the world continues to be the accident of where someone is born. I think I can do more to create a just world, as well as help people as much as possible, by continuing to focus my giving internationally through GiveWell.

Jim Bobowski (Director of Marketing)

Although not by design, my family typically gives in three categories about equally each year. One third is directed locally toward community programs (school, Scouts, sporting programs) that we have a direct connection with and need support. One third is directed domestically to causes outside of our community. The final third is directed internationally, so we consciously think about and help people who face incredible economic and health hardships.

Our end-of-the-year decision was made significantly easier this year. Since we contributed extensively to political races, we needed to allocate only our international giving, a task made easier through the Maximum Impact Fund. After a year working at GiveWell and seeing the rigor and care with which the research team approaches each funding decision, I am convinced there is no better way I can help people abroad than entrusting Elie and the research team to allocate my family’s donation.

We also decided to take a portion of our planned 2021 international giving and turn it into a recurring GiveWell donation, also directed to the Maximum Impact Fund. I am hopeful that doing this will make giving more naturally embedded in our lives. I’m also hopeful it will provide our research team a bit more funding throughout the year and flexibility over which programs they support.

Justin Loiseau (Senior Research Associate)

My partner and I focused our giving this year on three overlapping objectives: maximize impact, increase incomes, and reduce climate change.

  • To maximize impact, we gave to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. We especially like this fund because it allocates money based on timely opportunities and overall room for more funding among GiveWell’s top charities.
  • Since we personally place a higher value on increasing incomes relative to saving lives than GiveWell, we also gave directly to GiveDirectly. With COVID-19, we expect GiveDirectly’s transfers have had a greater cushioning effect on household economic shocks than normal.
  • We are in the process of offsetting our (current and future) family’s carbon footprints. Rather than directly offsetting via carbon credits, we believe radical policy change and innovation are more likely to mitigate catastrophic climate change. We are therefore donating our carbon-footprint-equivalent cost to organizations working on these issues. This year, we donated to the Founders Pledge Climate Change Fund to take advantage of its match offer, but would otherwise have donated to the Clean Air Task Force (CATF). The CATF is included in the Founders Pledge’s prospectus and is also recommended by IDinsight’s Giving Green initiative.

Miranda Kaplan (Content Editor)

Though I haven’t been as thoughtful as I’d hoped to be this year about charitable giving, I’m happy to report that the majority of my family’s total giving will go to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund.

My partner and I are longtime monthly donors to GiveDirectly, have remained so this year, and plan to continue that support in the future. We think the idea behind GiveDirectly’s work is important, and with our contributions we hope to both directly finance GiveDirectly and encourage the practice of empowering those living in poverty by providing them with cash they can use as they see fit. Ultimately, though, I want the bulk of our giving to do as much good as possible, and donating to the Maximum Impact Fund both is more cost-effective and allows GiveWell the flexibility to respond to changing levels of need among our recommended charities. Earlier this year, we committed to donating the federal stimulus payments we received in response to COVID-19, a total of $2,400; after many months of hemming and hawing, we’ve decided that all of that money will go to the Maximum Impact Fund.

Beyond that, my partner and I have made many small donations throughout the year to a number of causes, including organizations advocating for racial justice, journalism nonprofits, political campaigns, and individuals we know facing financial hardship here and abroad. Together these gifts made up probably no more than 20% of our total giving. In many of these cases, we felt fairly confident that a small amount of money would mean a great deal to the recipient and would be near-immediately forgotten by us. Though I hope to continue steering more of our giving to the most cost-effective opportunities possible, I imagine we’ll always reserve some of it for similar funding emergencies that are literally or metaphorically closer to home.

Natalie Crispin (Program Officer)

We will be giving our annual gift to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund.

GiveWell is considering a few options for allocating Maximum Impact Fund donations received in the last quarter of 2020, including both life-saving and income-increasing programs. We are unlikely to be able to close all of the highly cost-effective funding gaps we see this year, and I am excited to help narrow the gap.

I’ve had the opportunity over the last ten years to work directly with each of our top charities. In early 2020, it looked like this year would be very different from past years. At the start of the pandemic, it seemed inevitable that the programs our top charities support would be significantly disrupted, if not fully cancelled, for an indefinite amount of time. But these predictions did not play out, with most programs going forward close to their original schedules with modifications to keep health workers and program participants safe. This is in no small part because of the flexibility and dedication shown by the staff of our top charities and their partners in government health and education ministries, who redesigned programs, handled new logistical challenges, stepped up coordination in a time of remote work, and added new processes to already full workloads. I am very glad to be among their supporters.

Neil Buddy Shah (Managing Director)

The overall goal of my partner’s and my giving is to improve the well-being of living beings as much as possible. Therefore, we plan to split our giving this year roughly evenly between:

  • GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund, because it has incredibly cost-effective, direct impacts on saving and improving lives, better than anything I have been able to find elsewhere.
  • IDinsight, because of its work to ensure that large-scale poverty alleviation programs are informed by rigorous evidence on what is most effective. I also used to be CEO and co-founder of IDinsight and believe in its long-term potential to create large-scale improvements in people’s lives, especially through its partnerships with governments across Africa and Asia and with large, evidence-oriented funders and nonprofits like GiveWell.
  • Animal welfare causes, supporting a collection of opportunities to reduce animal suffering.

Nicole Zok (Content Editing Lead)

For the past few years I’ve been donating 10% of my income, which is what I intend to do ~indefinitely. I believe that most of my impact comes through my work, but also find it incredibly motivating that as an individual donor I can save multiple lives per year with my donations.

I feel like someone says this every year, but I think GiveWell’s research team is in the strongest position it’s ever been in, and I believe even more strongly than in previous years that our recommendations are some of the best opportunities I could give to. Since I want my donation to go where it’s most needed, I’m giving to the Maximum Impact Fund. When I’ve donated to this option in past years (what we previously called “grants to recommended charities at GiveWell’s discretion”), knowing that some of my own money was on the line made me feel a lot more invested when it came time to think about where to direct this funding. I think that’s a helpful motivator, though not a crux for why I chose this option.

This year in particular, lots of causes have tugged at my heartstrings. Humanity has come an incredibly long way in the past 100,000 years (I’d much rather be alive now than at any other time in the past), but it’s clear that there’s still a lot that could be better for the people on this blue dot. All of the reminders this year of the many ways in which people are suffering have really solidified for me that there will always be tons of causes in need of support, which makes me feel even more committed to spending my scarce resources in a way that I believe will do the most good (according to my values). I believe that my donation to the Maximum Impact Fund will save a couple of children’s lives, and I don’t know of anything I’d rather support.

Olivia Larsen (Philanthropy Advisor)

I’m very excited that I gave the vast majority of my annual donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund! I continue to be thrilled at the prospect of being able to donate to charities that can save a human life for just a few thousand dollars, and I’m very lucky to be in a financial position to donate.

With most of my annual charitable giving, I want to have as much of an impact as I can. But I also come across opportunities during the year to support causes I care about, and it feels important to me to contribute toward those (most notably, a few different bail funds in the United States) as ways to take tangible action toward values I hold, rather than spending on myself.

Steph Stojanovic (Director of Development)

My family committed to giving 10% of our income several years ago. We will likely split our giving between GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund and unrestricted support of One for the World. We think it’s important to support groups that introduce new audiences to effective giving. My husband is a former board member of One for the World, and we give to it because we think it is doing a good job of spreading the concept of effective giving to college and graduate students. If I didn’t work at GiveWell, we would donate to GiveWell in an unrestricted manner to support operations and outreach expenses, but it feels a little weird to pay some of my own salary in a roundabout way, so we chose the Maximum Impact Fund instead! It is the best way to maximally leverage GiveWell’s research expertise.

Teryn Mattox (Program Officer)

I am extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to make the world a better place through both my day-to-day work and my monthly giving. I am so proud of and excited by the work we do at GiveWell to find giving opportunities that improve the lives of the global poor, and I think the Maximum Impact Fund is one of the best ways donors can improve human welfare with their money.

I also strongly weigh the welfare of animals in the moral calculus that drives my giving. In 2020, my family decided to transition nearly all of our giving to organizations promoting animal welfare. I feel comfortable making this switch given the amount of time and energy I devote to furthering GiveWell’s work improving the lives of the global poor. We felt particularly compelled to do this based on the intensity of the suffering inflicted upon animals, the staggering numbers of factory-farmed animals being brutally tortured each year, the potential impact of our donations in reducing this suffering, and our beliefs about the importance of animal suffering. We give to a variety of organizations promoting farmed animal welfare, most of which are recommended by Animal Charity Evaluators. We also give to the Effective Altruism Animal Welfare Fund and give additional money to several of the charities endorsed by the fund.

Whitney Shinkle (Director of Operations)

I am a relative outlier among GiveWell staff. I believe strongly in GiveWell’s work and the need for effectiveness to be a critical consideration in deciding where public and private “development” dollars are spent. However, I also feel a particularly strong obligation to support people who are suffering harm caused by other people. There are a lot of nuances that could be drawn, but generally I am most concerned by war, criminal and political violence, and related social injustices. Not least among the reasons that I find them particularly galling is the degree to which these problems disrupt and prevent access to simple, well-known, cost-effective life improvements like basic health care, particularly for vulnerable people.

This year I am giving ~10% of my donation to GiveWell’s Maximum Impact Fund. I think all the programs GiveWell recommends do excellent work, and I trust the research team to identify where these funds can do the most good at any given time.

The remaining ~90% went to a number of organizations that work in areas less amenable to GiveWell’s particular analyses (though I hold out hope that future years might see more work in these arenas). I mostly donate to organizations with which I and/or respected colleagues have personal professional experience and that I believe to be making good efforts to demonstrate effectiveness.

Of this amount, the majority went to organizations that work on:

  • International conflict mitigation: supporting refugees and internally displaced persons, positive peace-building efforts, and economic redevelopment.
  • Domestic social justice: racial and restorative justice, immigration, anti-human trafficking, and anti-domestic violence.

A small minority was directed to organizations that address my concerns less directly. These organizations work on:

  • Specific political campaigns and democracy-building
  • Environmental conservation and climate change
  • Nonprofit news

My volunteer time this year went mostly toward U.S. political campaigns, as well as some advocacy on behalf of U.S.-based racial equity organizations.

Notes[+]

↑1 See our staff giving posts from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013. function footnote_expand_reference_container_13135() { jQuery('#footnote_references_container_13135').show(); jQuery('#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button_13135').text('−'); } function footnote_collapse_reference_container_13135() { jQuery('#footnote_references_container_13135').hide(); jQuery('#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button_13135').text('+'); } function footnote_expand_collapse_reference_container_13135() { if (jQuery('#footnote_references_container_13135').is(':hidden')) { footnote_expand_reference_container_13135(); } else { footnote_collapse_reference_container_13135(); } } function footnote_moveToAnchor_13135(p_str_TargetID) { footnote_expand_reference_container_13135(); var l_obj_Target = jQuery('#' + p_str_TargetID); if (l_obj_Target.length) { jQuery('html, body').animate({ scrollTop: l_obj_Target.offset().top - window.innerHeight * 0.20 }, 380);/*duration*/ } }

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