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Details on Recommended Allocation to Good Ventures - November 2018

This page contains details of how we decided on our November 2018 recommended allocation for Good Ventures. For the context behind this page, see this blog post.

Published: November 2018

Background

Note that Good Ventures has not finalized its plans for the year and may give differently from what we’ve recommended. We think it’s unlikely that any differences would have major implications for our bottom-line recommendations for other donors.

For context on the high level principles we use when advising Good Ventures on how much of its giving to allocate across each of our top charities, see this blog post.

In line with the principles discussed in the post linked above, we used the following process to arrive at our recommended allocation for Good Ventures:

  1. We recommended that Good Ventures provide each charity with an incentive grant ($2.5 million per top charity and $100,000 per standout charity).
  2. We identified the most cost-effective gap we were unable to entirely fill with the $64.0 million we recommended to Good Ventures (noting again that Good Ventures has not finalized its plans for the year and may give differently from what we’ve recommended): Malaria Consortium’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention program in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Chad. Our cost-effectiveness analysis suggests this gap is about 8.8x as cost-effective as cash transfers, and that Malaria Consortium could absorb about $70 million in additional funding to support this work. We have a high opinion of Malaria Consortium as an organization, and this qualitative assessment supports our consideration of this gap as highly cost-effective to fill.

    Our best guess is there are limited diminishing marginal returns over the interval of this funding gap.

  3. Remaining funding gaps were compared to the Malaria Consortium funding gap in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Chad based on (i) their estimated cost-effectiveness, (ii) our subjective assessment of the organization's quality, and (iii) particular arguments relevant to that funding gap but not captured elsewhere in our analysis (e.g., whether our decision to not fund a particular gap would be disproportionately disruptive to an organization's activities).

The details for comparisons between each of the charities are below, along with how much of charities' funding gaps we recommended filling.

This spreadsheet lists all of our top charities' funding needs; rows 70-79 on Sheet "Consolidated funding gaps" show total funding needs gaps by charity.1

Note that this spreadsheet and the analysis below also lists cost-effectiveness estimates for each charity's funding gap by country, but we are especially uncertain about these estimates.2

Note: the cost-effectiveness estimates we present on this page differ from those in our published cost-effectiveness analysis for a number of reasons.3

Summary of allocation

Charity Modeled cost-effectiveness (compared to cash transfers)4 Organizational factors we don't model explicitly5 Recommended allocation
Malaria Consortium (SMC program) 8.8 Very strong $26.6 million
Evidence Action (Deworm the World Initiative) 14.6 Very strong $10.4 million
Sightsavers (deworming program) 12.0 Moderate $9.7 million
Helen Keller International (VAS program) 7.0 Strong $6.5 million
Against Malaria Foundation 7.3 Moderate $2.5 million
Schistosomiasis Control Initiative 8.3 Relatively weak, compared to other top charities $2.5 million
The END Fund (deworming program) 5.4 Moderate $2.5 million
GiveDirectly 1 Very strong $2.5 million
Standout charities $800,000 (combined)
Sum $64.0 million

Malaria Consortium's seasonal malaria chemoprevention program

Gap Recommended allocation Cost-effectiveness (relative to cash) Notes
Nigeria (50%); Burkina Faso (20%); Chad (30%) $26.6 million 8.8 High cost-effectiveness estimate. We use this gap as the baseline to compare other gaps with.
  • Grant recommended: $26.6m
  • Marginal funding gap filled (if recommended allocation is followed): Implementing seasonal malaria chemoprevention in the Sahel. Our best guess of how this funding will be used is: 50% in Nigeria, 30% in Burkina Faso, 20% in Chad (8.8x; $70m).
  • Marginal funding gap unfilled (if recommended allocation is followed): Further expansion of the same program, largely focused in Nigeria. (Nigeria has a funding gap of roughly $35m while Malaria Consortium's SMC program has an overall funding gap of roughly $44m.)6
  • Organizational factors we don't explicitly model: Very strong.

We expect that Malaria Consortium will use this funding to maintain and expand their current programs in Burkina Faso, Chad and Nigeria. Our best guess is there will be limited diminishing marginal returns over the course of this funding gap.7

In our remaining allocation decisions, we used Malaria Consortium’s funding gap as a baseline against which to compare other funding gaps.

Evidence Action's Deworm the World Initiative

Gap Recommended allocation Cost-effectiveness (relative to cash) Notes
India: technical assistance in GiveWell-supported states $2.9 million >20 Fully funded because of high cost-effectiveness estimate
Kenya $1 million 19.3 Fully funded because of high cost-effectiveness estimate
India: monitoring and evaluation capacity $0.3 million >20 Partially funded because wary of backstopping other funders.
Global team support $1.6 million 17.8 Partially funded because we are uncertain about the level of need in 2021.
Pakistan $1.7 million 6.2 Partially funded because toward lower end of cost-effectiveness among all marginal gaps.
Nigeria $2.9 million 4.7-7.0 (depending on State) Partially funded because toward lower end of cost-effectiveness among all marginal gaps.
  • Grant recommended: $10.4m
  • Marginal funding gap filled (if recommended allocation is followed): Extending the funding runway of deworming programs in Nigeria (4.7-7.0x; $2.9m) and Pakistan (6.2x; $1.7m) to 2020.
  • Marginal funding gap unfilled (if recommended allocation is followed): Extending the funding runway of deworming programs in Nigeria and Pakistan to 2021.8
  • Organizational factors we don't explicitly model: Very strong.

The estimated cost-effectiveness of Deworm the World’s work in Nigeria and Pakistan is sufficiently close to Malaria Consortium’s funding gap that qualitative factors played a major role in our decision about how much funding to direct to each.

While a substantial proportion of Malaria Consortium’s funding gap is to expand their program to new areas, Deworm the World’s programs in Nigeria and Pakistan are ongoing. Our best guess was that it was worthwhile to provide some funding to these Deworm the World programs instead of further filling Malaria Consortium's gap because the transactional and strategic costs of shutting down a program would be large (which outweighed the fact that we estimate Malaria Consortium's gap as being slightly more cost-effective). As these Deworm the World programs are both on the lower end of cost-effectiveness among our top charities, we decided to recommend funding for them for two years rather than three (in line with principle 5 here).

We also recommended funding a continuation of Deworm the World’s program in GiveWell-supported states in India, including monitoring and evaluation capacity (>20x9; $3.2m) and Kenya (19.3x; $1m) to 2021 (which we estimate as very cost-effective), and Global Team support to 2020 (17.8x; $1.6m).

We did not recommend funding expansion of programs in India (>20x; $3.9m) or Nigeria (7.1x; $2.5m) because Deworm the World told us those gaps are low on its list of funding priorities. We also did not recommend supporting Indian states that were previously filled by other funders (>20x; $4.8m), because we are wary that this might incentivize other funders to stop funding valuable programs if we are regularly willing to act as a backstop. We did not fund additional reserves (N/A; $12.2m) because we have not yet thoroughly considered how valuable additional reserves would be at the current margin and do not yet have strong reason to believe they are especially valuable. We did not fund Global Team support to 2021 (17.8x; $1.3m) because we are uncertain if we will provide funding for Nigeria and Pakistan in 2021 and expect that less Global Team support will be required if we do not.

Deworm the World has told us that it prioritizes increasing its reserves over extending its funding runway in Kenya to 2021. We do not plan to restrict the funding we direct to Deworm the World Initiative (in line with principle 4 here). It is therefore possible that funds that we have provided will not be used as described above.

Sightsavers' deworming program

Gap Recommended allocation Cost-effectiveness (relative to cash) Notes
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) $0.4 million >20 Fully funded because of high cost-effectiveness estimate
Cameroon: high and medium priority gaps $3.7 million 9.2 to 19.5 Fully funded because of high cost-effectiveness estimate
Guinea $1.6 million 12.5 Fully funded because of high cost-effectiveness estimate
Nigeria $3.4 million 8.0 Fully funded because Sightsavers prioritizes highly (even though toward lower end of cost-effectiveness among all marginal gaps)
Guinea-Bissau $0.7 million 2.4 Fully funded because Sightsavers prioritizes highly (though relatively less cost-effective).
  • Grant recommended: $9.7m
  • Marginal funding gap filled (if recommended allocation is followed): Guinea – 2nd round of deworming each year in four health districts (12.5x; $0.7m); Cameroon – North and Far North regions (9.2x; $1.5m).
  • Marginal funding gap unfilled (if recommended allocation is followed): Cameroon – Adamaoua, East and Littoral regions (15.4x; $1.8m)10
  • Organizational factors we don't explicitly model: Medium.

Sightsavers gave us a list of their priority funding gaps separated into three groups. We chose to fund their high priority gaps (12.1x; $7.6m) and medium priority gaps (10.5x; $2.1 million), but not their low priority gap (15.4x; $1.8m).

Assessing Sightsavers' room for more funding this year was challenging, because Sightsavers’ prioritization was very different from what was implied by our cost-effectiveness analysis. Despite the large differences in cost-effectiveness between our prioritization and theirs, we chose to use Sightsavers’ prioritization (in line with principle 4) because (i) our assessment of the value of deworming depends on our worm burden intensity adjustments, which is one of the most uncertain inputs in our cost-effectiveness analysis,11 and (ii) we expect that some of Sightsavers' opportunities may be more cost-effective for reasons that are not explicitly captured in our analysis.12

High priority gaps we recommended filling include deworming programs in parts of Cameroon, DRC, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Nigeria.

Medium priority gaps include a second round of annual deworming in four districts in Guinea that Sightsavers has told us are particularly high prevalence (12.5x; $0.7m), and work in Cameroon’s North and Far North regions (9.2x; $1.5m). The work in the north of Cameroon appears to be a cost-effective opportunity (although as noted above we place fairly low weight in our program-specific cost-effectiveness analyses for deworming), and Sightsavers has told us it is feasible to work there.

We decided not to fund an expansion of Sightsavers’ program in Cameroon’s Adeamaoua, East and Littoral regions despite its apparent cost-effectiveness because (i) Sightsavers sees this program as a lower priority than its other work in Cameroon, and (ii) Sightsavers does not currently work in that area.

Helen Keller International's vitamin A supplementation program

Gap Recommended allocation Cost-effectiveness (relative to cash) Notes
Mali $1 million 9.9 Fully funded because of high cost-effectiveness estimate
Niger $2.9 million 9.9 Fully funded because of high cost-effectiveness estimate
Burkina Faso $1 million 9.0 Fully funded because of high cost-effectiveness estimate
Guinea $0.3 million 7.0 Partially funded because toward lower end of cost-effectiveness among all marginal gaps, and maintaining current program
Côte d'Ivoire $1.4 million 6.6 Partially funded because toward lower end of cost-effectiveness among all marginal gaps, and maintaining current program
  • Grant recommended: $6.5m
  • Marginal funding gaps filled (if recommended allocation is followed): Guinea to 2020 (7.0x; $0.3m); Côte d'Ivoire to 2020 (6.6x; $1.4m)
  • Marginal funding gaps unfilled (if recommended allocation is followed): Guinea to 2021 (7.0x; $0.6m); Côte d'Ivoire to 2021 (6.6x; $0.7m)13
  • Organizational factors we don't explicitly model: Strong.

We recommended funding Helen Keller International’s work in Mali (9.9x; $1m), Niger (9.9x; $2.9m), and Burkina Faso (9.0x; $1m) through 2021, as our cost-effectiveness estimates suggest work in those countries is likely to be more cost-effective than funding directed to Malaria Consortium (albeit by a small margin), and our subjective assessment of the two organizations is sufficiently close that we don’t believe that factor should outweigh our cost-effectiveness estimates.

Guinea (7.0x; $1.2m) and Côte d'Ivoire (6.6x; $2.1m) are sufficiently close in cost-effectiveness that we believed the transactional and strategic costs of potentially shutting down those programs by not funding them outweighed the difference in estimated cost-effectiveness between those gaps and Malaria Consortium's. As these programs are both on the lower end of cost-effectiveness among our top charities, we decided to recommend funding them for two years rather than three (in line with principle 5).

We did not fund HKI’s work in DRC (7.4x; $9m) because HKI does not currently operate that program, and our best guess is that work is marginally less cost-effective than Malaria Consortium. Similarly, we did not fund HKI expansion in Cameroon (6.6x; $4.2m), Mozambique (5.8x; $4.5m), or Kenya (2.9x; $1.9m), which we estimate to be less cost-effective than Malaria Consortium.

Against Malaria Foundation

Gap Recommended allocation Cost-effectiveness (relative to cash) Notes
General funding (40% [country name confidential]; 60% weighted according to past distributions) $2.5 million 7.3 Toward lower end of cost-effectiveness among all marginal gaps; Malaria Consortium seems stronger on unmodeled factors. Incentive grant.
  • Grant recommended: $2.5 million
  • Marginal funding gaps filled (if recommended allocation is followed): We do not have sufficient information to confidently assess which countries AMF would work in on the margin. We therefore did not separate AMF’s room for more funding gap into different discrete gaps, but made our best guess of the probability of AMF working in different countries with additional funding. We are not confident in our assessment of how much money AMF could productively spend, but expect it is substantially more than it is likely to receive. (7.3x; >$75m)14
  • Organizational factors we don't explicitly model: Moderate

We decided not to recommend filling AMF’s room for more funding over the $2.5m incentive grant because our best guess is it is less cost-effective than Malaria Consortium, and our subjective assessment is that factors outside of our cost-effectiveness analysis that affect overall impact favored Malaria Consortium.15

Schistosomiasis Control Initiative

Gap Recommended allocation Cost-effectiveness (relative to cash) Notes
General funding (weighted according to past distributions) $2.5 million 8.3 Toward lower end of cost-effectiveness among all marginal gaps; Malaria Consortium seems stronger on unmodeled factors. Incentive grant.
  • Grant recommended: $2.5 million
  • Marginal funding gaps filled (if recommended allocation is followed): We do not have sufficient information to confidently assess which countries SCI would fund on the margin. We therefore did not separate SCI’s room for more funding gap into different discrete gaps, but made our best guess of the countries SCI would continue work in with additional funding based off its past expenditure. (8.3x; $19.4m)16
  • Organizational factors we don't explicitly model: Relatively weak.

We decided not to recommend filling SCI’s room for more funding over the $2.5m incentive grant. SCI’s estimated cost-effectiveness is sufficiently close to Malaria Consortium’s that cost-effectiveness estimates did not play a large differentiating factor. However, our subjective assessment is that factors outside of our cost-effectiveness analysis that affect overall impact favored Malaria Consortium.

The END Fund's deworming program

Gap Recommended allocation Cost-effectiveness (relative to cash) Notes
General funding (weighted according to funding opportunities) $2.5 million 5.4 Low cost-effectiveness estimate. Incentive grant
  • Grant recommended: $2.5 million
  • Marginal funding gaps filled (if recommended allocation is followed): We do not have sufficient information to confidently assess which programs END Fund would fund on the margin. We therefore did not separate END Fund’s room for more funding gap into different discrete gaps, but made our best guess of the programs END Fund would contribute funds to based on past expenditure (5.4x; $48.3m).17
  • Organizational factors we don't explicitly model: Medium

We decided not to recommend filling The END Fund’s room for more funding over the $2.5m incentive grant. The END Fund’s estimated cost-effectiveness is lower than our other deworming organizations, and we are less familiar with their programs than our other top charities' programs.

GiveDirectly

Gap Recommended allocation Cost-effectiveness (relative to cash) Notes
General funding $2.5 million 1 Low cost-effectiveness estimate. Incentive grant.
  • Grant recommended: $2.5 million
  • Marginal funding gaps filled (if recommended allocation is followed): Due to the scalability of GiveDirectly’s program, we estimate that it has more room for more funding than we could plausibly fill. We have not separated this room for more funding into different buckets. (1x; $459m)18
  • Organizational factors we don't explicitly model: Very strong.

We decided not to recommend filling GiveDirectly’s room for more funding over the $2.5m incentive grant. Our cost-effectiveness estimates suggest our other top charities are substantially more cost-effective.

  • 1. For charities' remaining funding gaps split out by country, see Sheet "Remaining gaps by country".
  • 2.

    For more on factors not captured in our cost-effectiveness model, see discussion of how these can affect cost-effectiveness under Principle 2 here.

  • 3. See this sheet for more details.
  • 4. ”We typically won’t move forward with a charity in our process if it appears that it won’t meet the threshold of at least 2-3x as cost-effective as cash transfers. We think cash transfers are a reasonable baseline to use due to the intuitive argument that if you’re going to help someone with Program X, Program X should be more cost-effective than just giving someone cash to buy that which they need most." June 1, 2017, GiveWell blog, How GiveWell uses cost-effectiveness analyses.

    The cost-effectiveness estimates presented in this table refer to the weighted average of the total estimated funding gap for each top charity. More granular cost-effectiveness estimates for each of a charity’s programs are presented throughout this page.

  • 5. We take into account an organization's strength of communication with us and the comprehensiveness of its program monitoring. We factor this into our broad assessment of the organization's cost-effectiveness. Read more: November 26, 2018, GiveWell blog, Our updated top charities for giving season 2018.
  • 6.
    • This spreadsheet lists all of our top charities' funding needs; rows 70-79 on Sheet "Consolidated funding gaps" show total funding needs gaps by charity.
    • For charities' remaining funding gaps split out by country, see Sheet "Remaining gaps by country".
  • 7.

    We have not yet developed a model we feel confident in for estimating diminishing marginal returns within a funding gap. As we are recommending filling less than half of Malaria Consortium’s room for more funding, and our cost-effectiveness estimates are intended to reflect the average cost-effectiveness of the gap, we do not think diminishing marginal returns is a good reason to prioritize other gaps over this one.

  • 8.
    • This spreadsheet lists all of our top charities' funding needs; rows 70-79 on Sheet "Consolidated funding gaps" show total funding needs gaps by charity.
    • For charities' remaining funding gaps split out by country, see Sheet "Remaining gaps by country".
  • 9.

    Our cost-effectiveness estimates for Deworm the World’s work in India range between 16x and 75x as cost-effective as cash transfers. We expect that this overstates the true cost-effectiveness of this work, because our model currently treats the India program as a direct implementation program, where it is probably more accurately modelled as technical assistance to the government to increase coverage (which would lead us to apply a stronger discount to account for less direct causal impact). Nevertheless, we expect Deworm the World’s work in India is cost-effective, if not to the extent our models currently suggest.

  • 10.
    • This spreadsheet lists all of our top charities' funding needs; rows 70-79 on Sheet "Consolidated funding gaps" show total funding needs gaps by charity.
    • For charities' remaining funding gaps split out by country, see Sheet "Remaining gaps by country".
  • 11.

    We plan to write about this in more detail at a later date.

  • 12.

    For more on factors not captured in our cost-effectiveness model, see discussion of how these can affect cost-effectiveness under Principle 2 here.

  • 13.
    • This spreadsheet lists all of our top charities' funding needs; rows 70-79 on Sheet "Consolidated funding gaps" show total funding needs gaps by charity.
    • For charities' remaining funding gaps split out by country, see Sheet "Remaining gaps by country".
  • 14.
    • This spreadsheet lists all of our top charities' funding needs; rows 70-79 on Sheet "Consolidated funding gaps" show total funding needs gaps by charity.
    • For charities' remaining funding gaps split out by country, see Sheet "Remaining gaps by country".
  • 15.

    For more on factors not captured in our cost-effectiveness model, see discussion of how these can affect cost-effectiveness under Principle 2 here.

  • 16.
    • This spreadsheet lists all of our top charities' funding needs; rows 70-79 on Sheet "Consolidated funding gaps" show total funding needs gaps by charity.
    • For charities' remaining funding gaps split out by country, see Sheet "Remaining gaps by country".
  • 17.
    • This spreadsheet lists all of our top charities' funding needs; rows 70-79 on Sheet "Consolidated funding gaps" show total funding needs gaps by charity.
    • For charities' remaining funding gaps split out by country, see Sheet "Remaining gaps by country".
  • 18.
    • This spreadsheet lists all of our top charities' funding needs; rows 70-79 on Sheet "Consolidated funding gaps" show total funding needs gaps by charity.
    • For charities' remaining funding gaps split out by country, see Sheet "Remaining gaps by country".