Sources for Top Charities page

Published: November 2020; Updated November 2021

Table of Contents

Estimating the impact of your donations

For information about our general approach to estimating the impact of the charities and funding opportunities we recommend, see this page.

Research hours

GiveWell has 22 full-time research staff. The names and roles of research staff can be found here.

Each research staff member contributes about 2,000 hours per year (46 weeks at 40 hours per week). We assume that one-quarter of their time is spent on non-research work, such as staff meetings. We thus roughly estimate that they collectively conduct more than 30,000 hours of research per year (22 staff multiplied by 2,000 hours per year multiplied by 75% of time on research).

Impact of malaria

Estimates of annual malaria deaths vary from about 410,000 to 640,000.1 At least 90% of the malaria deaths reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) for 2019 were in sub-Saharan Africa, and children under five years old accounted for about two-thirds of malaria deaths globally.2

Presuming the proportion of children dying from malaria is approximately constant across countries, then about 60% of total malaria deaths were children under 5 years old in sub-Saharan Africa (90% of total malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa multiplied by 67% of total malaria deaths occurring in children under five).

Impact of vitamin A deficiency

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation's Global Burden of Disease project estimates that vitamin A deficiency increases the risk of diarrhea, measles, and lower respiratory tract infections.3 In 2017, an estimated 233,000 global deaths were linked to this increased risk.4

Impact of vaccine-preventable diseases

Worldwide, at least 15% infants did not receive all recommended childhood vaccines.5 In Nigeria, where New Incentives operates, 43% of infants did not receive all recommended vaccines.6

Impact of parasitic worms

Many types of parasitic worms infect human beings, causing illnesses including schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis. Hundreds of millions of people have these infections.7

Global incomes

According to Our World in Data’s analysis of the World Bank’s PovcalNet data, about 62% of the world’s population in 2017 had per capita consumption of $10 per day or less ($3,650 per year or less).8


Document Source
GBD 2017 Risk Factor Collaborators, 2018 Source (archive)
GiveWell's non-verbatim summary of a conversation with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, April 5, 2019 Source
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Global Burden of Disease, GBD Compare, Global malaria deaths Source (archive)
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Global Burden of Disease, GBD Results tool, Global parasitic worm infection prevalence Source (archive)
Our World in Data, Global vaccination coverage, Nigeria, 2019 Source (archive)
Our World in Data, Global vaccination coverage, World, 2019 Source (archive)
Rosen and Ortiz-Ospina, 2019 Source (archive)
UNICEF, "Immunization," 2020 Source (archive)
United Nations Development Programme, "About sub-Saharan Africa" Source (archive)
WHO, World Malaria Report 2020 Source (archive)