We have published a more recent version of this page. See our most recent list of top charities.
Our top charities are evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, underfunded organizations. We recommend charities according to how much good additional donations can do. For more information, see this post on the GiveWell Blog.
Our recommendation to donors: We recommend that donors give to GiveWell for making grants to top charities at our discretion, so that we can put the funds toward the highest priority needs of our top charities. For donors who prefer giving directly to our top charities, we believe that all of our top charities are outstanding and will use additional funding effectively.
List of Top Charities
Vitamin A supplementation program only
Vitamin supplementation to prevent child mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Helen Keller International supports government-run vitamin A supplementation (VAS) programs. There is strong evidence that VAS programs reduce child mortality.
Distributing cash to very poor individuals in several countries in Africa.
Directly transferring money to poor individuals allows them 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.
seasonal malaria chemoprevention program only
Treatment to prevent malaria in children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Supporting deworming programs in low-income countries.
Vitamin A supplementation program only
Vitamin supplementation to prevent child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.
Insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.
Standout Charities are organizations that support programs that may be extremely cost-effective and are evidence-backed. We do not feel as confident in the impact of these organizations as we do in our top charities. However, we have reviewed their work and feel these groups stand out from the vast majority of organizations we have considered in terms of the evidence base for the program they support, their transparency, and their potential cost-effectiveness. We have published reviews of all of these organizations.
Other Charities Running Cost-Effective Evidence-Backed Programs
We've identified a number of other charities running cost-effective, evidence-backed programs. Details here.
Pros and Cons of Giving to Our Recommended Charities
We think the principal advantages of our current top charities are that:
- They represent the best opportunities we're aware of to help low-income people with relatively high confidence and relatively short time horizons. If you're looking to give this year and you don't know where to start, we'd strongly recommend supporting our top charities.
- Due to the emphasis on thorough vetting, transparency, and following up, our top charities represent excellent learning opportunities, and we feel that one of the most desirable outcomes of giving is learning more that will inform later giving. Supporting our top charities helps GiveWell demonstrate impact and improves our ability to learn, and we are dedicated to sharing what we learn publicly.
- We have strict criteria about the sorts of charities we recommend. These criteria are partly about achieving maximum impact, but partly about having recommendations that others can fairly easily be confident in.
- Seeking strong evidence and a straightforward, documented case for impact can be in tension with maximizing impact, as argued at this post by the Open Philanthropy Project. (The Open Philanthropy Project was incubated at GiveWell and looks for giving opportunities that can be longer term, harder to assess, and harder to explain. It does not have official recommendations for individual donors.)
- Thus, we think there may be many giving opportunities that are better than our top charities but don't meet our criteria and/or are not known to us.
- Even though we believe our top charities are backed by strong evidence, none of our recommendations are a 'sure thing' and a few carry a significant risk of failing to do much good.
Many, but not all, staff support GiveWell's top charities with their personal giving.
Archives of our past charity recommendations: