Top Charities - November 2012 Archived Version

We have published a more recent list of top charities. See our most recent list.

#1 Against Malaria Foundation (AMF)

Preventing deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa
Malaria is a major problem in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 1 million people -- mostly children -- die each year. Insecticide-treated bed nets prevent deaths and many other non-fatal cases of malaria and are relatively inexpensive -- about $5 per net. (For more details, see our full report on bed nets.) We believe that AMF effectively expands access to bed nets.

Tax deductibility: US, UK, CAN, and other countries



#2 GiveDirectly

Distributing cash to extremely poor individuals in Kenya
Directly transferring money to the very poor allows recipients to purchase that which they believe will help them most. Strong evidence indicates that cash transfers lead recipients to spend more on their basic needs (such as food) and may allow recipients to make investments with very high returns, with no evidence of large increases in spending on items like alcohol or tobacco. (For more, see our full report on cash transfers.) We believe that GiveDirectly effectively distributes cash to extremely low-income individuals.

Tax deductibility: US



#3 Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI)

Treating children for parasite infections in sub-Saharan Africa
In sub-Saharan Africa, a large proportion of people, often children, are infected with parasitic worms that cause short-term symptoms such as anemia, and may cause longer-term developmental problems. These worms are extremely inexpensive to treat -- about $5 to protect a child for 10 years. (For more, see our full report on deworming.) We believe that SCI effectively expands access to deworming treatment.

Tax deductibility: US , UK



Our charity evaluation process

For details, see our process for international charities and our process for U.S. charities. This page has all charities that we have considered.

GiveWell's process broadly consists of:

  • Examining hundreds of charities and relevant academic literature
  • Deeply investigating the most promising charities by our criteria
  • Publishing all the details of our charity recommendations and the full details of our reasoning on this website

Evaluation criteria

We primarily look for charities with strong documented track records, highly cost-effective activities, and concrete needs for more funds. Recommended charities must be highly transparent and accountable, i.e., willing to share enough in-depth information about their work that we can assess them on these criteria.

Identifying charities

We cast the net as wide as we can to consider as many charities as possible, reviewing hundreds of charities' websites and more deeply investigating the most promising ones. This page has all charities that we have considered.

We identify charities from sources, including:

In-depth charity reviews

We perform in-depth reviews of charities that make it through the early stages of our process. These involve conversations with representatives; examination of internal documentation including monitoring and evaluation reports, budgets, and plans for using additional funding; reviewing independent literature and evidence of effectiveness of the charities' programs. For the strongest contenders, we conduct visits to their programs in the field.

We post the names of every charity we consider on our website. This page has all charities that we have considered.

Past recommendations

Archives of our past charity recommendations: