Impact of GiveWell's top charities – April 2016 version

We have published a more recent version of this page. See our most recent page about the impact of our top charities.

Note: this page is meant to provide a short summary of the humanitarian impacts we expect that a donation to each of our top charities would likely produce. We believe other considerations, such as organizational strength and the ability to use additional funding, are also relevant when deciding where to give.

For more information, including the risks of and our reservations about each of these giving opportunities and citations for the research discussed, follow the links below.

Published: April 2016

Against Malaria Foundation

The Against Malaria Foundation funds the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria in Africa.


What does your donation accomplish?

A donation of roughly $5 buys a bed net that aims to cover approximately 2 people for a little over 2 years. This includes all of the costs involved, including delivering the nets and monitoring their use. We estimate that roughly every $3,500 donated to the Against Malaria Foundation saves the life of someone who would have otherwise died of malaria.

Deworm the World Initiative, led by Evidence Action and the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative

The Deworm the World Initiative, led by Evidence Action and the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) fund the distribution of deworming pills for children to treat parasitic worm infections.


What does your donation accomplish?

It only costs around $1 (Deworm the World, SCI) to provide a child with drug treatments that help prevent worm infections for a year. The effects on future income could be significant: accounting for the uncertainty we have about the size of the impact due to the limited evidence base, our estimate is that, very roughly, a $100 donation to SCI or Deworm the World raises the future income of around 5 people by about 5% once they become adults.1


GiveDirectly distributes cash to very poor individuals in Africa.


What does your donation accomplish?

Around 85% of each donation is transferred directly to the very poor (GiveDirectly uses the other 15% of donations for expenses, including identifying recipients and delivering them the funds). Recipients are able to spend money on the things they most need, including food, education, or investments. For example, a common purchase is an iron roof, which costs around $500 and may give a substantial return on investment (our estimate is around 20%/year ROI) by replacing a thatched roof, which needs to be repaired or replaced regularly.

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    See this spreadsheet (calculations for this page are at the bottom of the "GW medians" sheet). Our median assumption is that this benefit lasts for 30 years, but there is enormous uncertainty around this assumption as the data is extremely limited. Note that our overall estimate for the benefits of deworming is subject to enormous variance and should only be considered a very rough guess; we try to avoid putting too much weight on such estimates, in part for reasons discussed here.