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Evidence Action — General Operating Support

Published: January 2018

Note: This page summarizes the rationale behind a GiveWell Incubation Grant to Evidence Action. Evidence Action staff reviewed this page prior to publication.

In December of 2017, Evidence Action received a GiveWell Incubation Grant of $800,000 for general operating support. Evidence Action intends to use this support to fund a deficit in its operating budget. We made this grant with two goals in mind: (a) to support the development of programs that could be future top charities (the goal of our Incubation Grants program), and (b) to support the Deworm the World Initiative and No Lean Season, programs run by Evidence Action that are GiveWell top charities.

Evidence Action has been investing in strengthening operations with support from an April 2017 GiveWell Incubation Grant. Evidence Action identified the deficit as part of a financial clean-up in 2017. It was caused by several grants exceeding their approved budgets. Evidence Action's CEO, Kanika Bahl, explained in more detail in an email to GiveWell on November 26, 2017:

Once the [financial] clean-up was complete, we had a clearer picture of the overall financial position at the program and grant level. We discovered that several grants had been overspent against approved budgets, leading to the identified deficits. We are unable to recover these from the original donors, many of which had closed. Our financial management is getting onto a firmer footing (regular internal reporting; a 2018 budget process is under way; reconciling grant reports with the General Ledger etc), so we do not anticipate we will experience a repeat of the above.

This new grant is intended to free up senior staff time at Evidence Action to focus on future priorities rather than fundraising to fill the deficit gap.