GiveWell reviews a select number of organizations for our top charity recommendation each year. This page provides information about our process for organizations that apply for a recommendation without receiving an invitation from GiveWell.
A note about our constraints. While we appreciate all interest in our work, we only have capacity to conduct full, intensive reviews of organizations whose applications indicate they may achieve our top rating. Four of the 1,000+ organizations we’ve considered currently hold our highest rating. We plan to review and respond to all applications.
Published: February 2018; Last updated: August 2022 (October 2017 version)
Table of Contents
Steps to apply for consideration
- Check your eligibility. We only review applications for our top charity designation that meet our minimum criteria for consideration. Before deciding to apply, we encourage you to closely review our criteria to gauge your fit for GiveWell's recommendations. If you are interested in applying for a grant from GiveWell (without also applying for top charity status), please follow the steps here.
- Prepare your documents. Gather all required documents, any contextual information you can easily share, and an index listing the documents in your application. Don't worry about oversharing; we prefer more detail to less. But please don't create reports specifically for us. We'd rather you ask whether they're needed.
- Share your work. Submit your application by sharing it in a DropBox folder with email@example.com and indicating which documents we have permission to publish on our website. We appreciate your submission and will reach out with next steps within six weeks.
More information on the application process
- Program area. Applicant organizations must work on one of GiveWell's priority programs. If your organization runs a cost-effective, evidence-backed program that serves the global poor that is not listed as one of our priority programs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the independent randomized controlled trial(s) or the peer-reviewed meta-analysis evidence that supports your program's impact and ask whether you should apply.
- Scale. Due to the amount of funding charities typically receive as a result of GiveWell's recommendation, we prefer applications from programs with annual spending that is, and is expected to remain, at or above $1 million.
- Willingness to share information. GiveWell is dedicated to publishing the full details of our analysis to help donors decide where to give. Becoming a top charity means providing detailed information to GiveWell about your programs and being open to having most or all of the information published on our website to share with potential donors. We only publish materials with explicit permission.
How to support your application
|Description of projects implemented||Describe the projects you have implemented over the past three years or since your organization was founded (if less than three years ago).
Specify the total implementation outputs (e.g., bednets distributed, surgeries completed) for each location you’ve worked in to help us understand your impact.
|Monitoring and evaluation of past activities||Submit any technical evaluations of past projects and any raw data your organization collects to monitor implementation of your program. If you are submitting:
|Past spending||Submit a breakdown of your spending for the past three years or since your organization was founded (if less than three years ago). This information should enable us to understand how your organization has spent funding in total and how it has spent funding within the program for which you're seeking a GiveWell top-charity recommendation.
We prefer spending reports that present how and where funds were spent to implement your program to accounting reports.
|Narrative of plans for utilizing additional funding||Describe as specifically as possible how you would utilize additional funding. A helpful way to set out this information is to present scenario analyses for different levels of funds—how would you utilize an additional $500,000, $1 million, $5 million, etc.
Also describe your efforts to raise additional funds.
Other documents you may wish to include but which are not required
|Where you work||A narrative describing your usual process for selecting locations to work and how you applied this process in at least one location.|
|Approach||A narrative describing your organization's unique value added and whether/how it is different from other organizations working in the same space.|
|Organizational history||A narrative describing how your organization was founded and reached its current stage.|
|Staff||Organizational chart and a list of key program staff, their role supporting the program, and their qualifications.|
Next steps after applying
- Timeline for our review. For applicants under serious consideration as potential top charities, we estimate six to eight months of engagement before our review is complete. A review that reaches the final stages will include:
- Sharing documents with GiveWell, most of which are likely to already exist in some form.
- Email correspondence with GiveWell.
- 8 to 12 two-hour phone conversations with GiveWell.
- Your review and edits of summary notes from the above phone conversations for publication on our website.
- In most cases, a multi-day site visit with GiveWell staff.
- Ongoing engagement. Top charities should expect to:
- Review and comment on our review of their work before publication.
- Participate in ongoing updates (two to four times per year) that each include sharing updated documents, joining a phone call that normally lasts one to two hours, and, likely once per year, reviewing and commenting on our written update before publication.