GiveWell's Partnership with IDinsight

Published: April 2017; Updated: April 2018

GiveWell is a research organization that recommends charities to donors. GiveWell publishes a short list of recommended charities. In 2016, GiveWell's seven top charities received approximately $89 million as a direct result of its recommendation.

IDinsight ( is an international NGO that partners with clients to generate and use rigorous evidence to improve social impact. Depending on client needs, IDinsight helps diagnose social sector challenges, design and test potential solutions, and operationalize those solutions found to be most impactful. IDinsight’s vision is to improve millions of lives by transforming how the social sector innovates, learns, and improves.

GiveWell and IDinsight are partnering to support the development of future GiveWell top charities and provide additional monitoring and evaluation support to existing GiveWell top charities. This partnership is part of GiveWell's Incubation Grants program. Historically, Good Ventures, a foundation that GiveWell works closely with, has funded GiveWell Incubation Grants.

We hope that by working with IDinsight, organizations may develop the monitoring and evaluation tools and impact outcomes to be considered for a GiveWell recommendation. While we hope that engagement with IDinsight leads to a GiveWell recommendation, we expect that, in most cases, it won't.

Participation in this project does not guarantee a top charity recommendation: GiveWell's guess is that most of the groups that participate in this engagement will, ultimately, not become top charities.

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How much time will elapse between an organization beginning an engagement with GiveWell and IDinsight and it being considered for a top charity recommendation?

We would not be surprised if the process took two years or more. We expect that building monitoring and evaluation systems or implementing high-quality impact evaluations and reviewing the results from those projects will be time-consuming.

What sort of funding should organizations expect during the course of the engagement?

GiveWell plans to recommend funding (see below) to support IDinsight's work on this project as well as additional costs incurred by the organization during the engagement.

We know that this engagement may require a substantial amount of time from an organization's staff. We hope that this project is independently beneficial (beyond the benefit of potentially being considered for a GiveWell recommendation), but GiveWell is also open to recommending additional funding to compensate organizations for the time their staff (or their partner organizations' staff) spend on a project. We plan to discuss the details of this funding with each organization on a case-by-case basis.

Where does funding for this work come from? What is the relationship between GiveWell and Good Ventures?

GiveWell recommends funding opportunities to Good Ventures, a foundation with which we work closely. Before agreeing to commit funds to an organization or project, GiveWell follows a brief internal process that involves recommending that Good Ventures make a grant and receiving agreement from Good Ventures to make the grant. Although our role is to recommend funding, and we cannot in general make commitments about funding without approval from Good Ventures, we do not expect that this process will be an obstacle from the perspective of a third party.

Do organizations need to participate in this project to be considered for a GiveWell recommendation?

It depends. If you're unsure, please ask a GiveWell representative directly.

GiveWell emphasizes its transparency. What does transparency mean in the context of this project?

We aim to publish as much as we can about the work we do, but we will never publish private (i.e., non-public) information without your explicit approval.

We will ask organizations to allow us to publish materials from this project, and we may choose not to move forward if an organization does not expect to share the results this work generates.

If you have questions about transparency, please ask a GiveWell representative directly. Our transparency policy is also available here.

How should an organization engage with GiveWell and IDinsight? What should you do if you have additional questions?

We're happy to share as much information as would be helpful, including: (a) why we may want to partner with an organization, (b) what we see as the crucial obstacles to the organization becoming a top charity post-project and/or why we think this project is necessary to consider the organization for a top-charity recommendation.

Do you have feedback for GiveWell and/or IDinsight?

This engagement is new for us and we would greatly appreciate any feedback you have about how we could communicate our expectations more clearly or work more effectively with you. Please share your feedback with us.