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What characteristics do we look for?

  • Basic transparency: An unusual degree of transparency. Awarded to any group with:
    • An on-the-record conversation with GiveWell staff about the charity's programs.
    • Public disclosure of a failed program. (More in this blog post.)
    • A systematic commitment to publishing evaluations and making them freely available.
  • Full transparency: A complete picture of how money is spent (broken down by country, program area, and project) and detail on all monitoring and evaluation that has been completed.
  • Monitoring: Ongoing, systematic, public assessment of performance for at least 10% of an organization's activities. These may be internal reports and are likely not at the level of rigor of our "evaluation" criterion (see next).
  • Evaluation: Rigorous, public assessment of the organization's work itself. These must be high quality evaluations.
  • Success: The organization has been associated with a significant success in the past, either through (a) a formal evaluation (see directly above); (b) successful delivery of a "promising approach" program (see below for what we mean by "promising approach"); or (c) involvement in a major, macro-level success story (for example, those listed in Millions Saved).
  • Promising approach: Focused on one of (or some of) the best programs in the cause in terms of cost-effectiveness and "low burden of proof" (more).
  • Funding gap: The organization has a clear need for more funds and has publicly shared concrete information on how more funds would affect its activities. Note that an organization may be doing excellent work while not having an immediate need for additional funds. A defined funding need and plan for utilizing additional funds enables to donors to hold the organization accountable to its stated plans.