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Our Top Charities - September 2020 Version

Donate to high-impact, cost-effective charities—backed by evidence and analysis.

Updated annually — Last updated: Nov 2019

Give Effectively

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Give where you can help the most

Our analysis shows that these charities save or improve lives the most per dollar. Supported by 20,000+ hours of research annually.(1)

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Donate based on evidence—not marketing

Even well-meaning charities can fail to have impact. We provide fact-based demonstrations of effectiveness.

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We grant from our Maximum Impact Fund to the charities where donations will help the most. Either way, we take zero fees.

Charity 1 of 8

Medicine to prevent malaria

Overview

Malaria kills over 400,000 people annually, mostly children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa.(2) Seasonal malaria chemoprevention is preventive medicine that saves children’s lives. It is given during the four months of the year when malaria infection rates are especially high.

COST-EFFECTIVENESS

About $7 to protect a child from malaria.(3) We estimate that $3,000 - $5,000 will save a life.(4)

Compare to most charities’ programs

EVIDENCE OF IMPACT

Exceptionally strong. Many high-quality studies of seasonal malaria chemoprevention have consistently found strong impact. The organization we recommend conducts high-quality ongoing monitoring.

Compare to most charities’ programs

TOP ORGANIZATION IN THIS AREA
African child being given medicineAfrican child being given medicine
Photo credit: Malaria Consortium/Sophie Garcia
Charity 2 of 8

Nets to prevent malaria

OVERVIEW

Malaria kills over 400,000 people annually, mostly children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa.(5) Nets save lives. Participants hang the nets and sleep under them so they are not bitten by malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

COST-EFFECTIVENESS

About $5 to provide one net.(6) We estimate that $3,000 - $5,000 will save a life.(7)

Compare to most charities’ programs

EVIDENCE OF IMPACT

Exceptionally strong. Many high-quality studies of nets have consistently found strong impact. The organization we recommend conducts high-quality ongoing monitoring.

Compare to most charities’ programs

TOP ORGANIZATION IN THIS AREA
Mosquito netMosquito net
Photo credit: Against Malaria Foundation
Charity 3 of 8

Supplements to prevent vitamin A deficiency

OVERVIEW

Vitamin A deficiency leaves children vulnerable to infections and can lead to death. We attribute over 200,000 children's deaths to vitamin A deficiency each year.(8) This program saves lives by providing vitamin A supplements to children under 5 years old.

COST-EFFECTIVENESS

About $2 to deliver a vitamin A supplement.(9) We estimate that $3,000-$5,000 will save the life of a child under 5.(10)

Compare to most charities’ programs

EVIDENCE OF IMPACT

Very strong. Many high-quality studies of vitamin A supplementation show strong impact. The organization we recommend conducts high-quality ongoing monitoring.

Compare to most charities’ programs

TOP ORGANIZATION IN THIS AREA
Baby being given vitamin ABaby being given vitamin A
Photo credit: Helen Keller International
Charities 4-7 of 8

Treatments for parasitic worm infections (deworming)

OVERVIEW

Hundreds of millions of people around the world are infected with parasitic worms.(11) This program provides children with medication that clears parasitic infections and may lead to a large increase in lifetime earnings. We recommend the program based on its small potential for a large impact on earnings.

COST-EFFECTIVENESS

Donating $100 will deworm about 120 children,(12) leading to a cumulative $600 in additional earnings over the course of the children's lives.(13) This program is implemented in areas where people on average live on $650 per year.(14) This is significantly more cost-effective than cash transfers.

Compare to most charities’ programs

EVIDENCE OF IMPACT

Strong. Many high-quality studies show that treating children clears worm infections. One trial and several follow-up studies show a large increase in participants’ lifetime earnings. The organizations we recommend conduct high-quality ongoing monitoring.

Compare to most charities’ programs

TOP ORGANIZATIONS IN THIS AREA
Group of children dressed in blueGroup of children dressed in blue
Photo credit: Evidence Action
Charity 8 of 8

Cash transfers for extreme poverty

OVERVIEW

The majority of people in the world live on less than $3,700 per year.(15) This program gives cash to very poor families, mostly in Africa, to spend as they like. Many participants make investments in business and agricultural assets, housing, and education.

COST-EFFECTIVENESS

Program participants receive $83 out of every $100 donated.(16)

Compare to most charities’ programs

EVIDENCE OF IMPACT

Exceptionally strong. Many high-quality studies show that recipients use money to buy goods that improve their lives. The organization we recommend conducts high-quality ongoing monitoring.

Compare to most charities’ programs

TOP ORGANIZATION IN THIS AREA
Woman operating wooden agricultural toolWoman operating wooden agricultural tool
Photo credit: GiveDirectly
Photo credit: Malaria Consortium/Sophie Garcia
Man feeding a child which a woman is holdingMan feeding a child which a woman is holding

GiveWell's Maximum Impact Fund

This is the best fit for donors who want to maximize their impact. We take zero fees and use our most up-to-date research to grant your gift where it will help the most.

We typically grant this pool of funds to one or more of our recommended charities each quarter. Once we grant your donation, we’ll email you to let you know which charity or charities we selected and what we expect your donation will accomplish.