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Quick Start Guide

About GiveWell

GiveWell is a nonprofit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of our analysis to help donors decide where to give. Our goal is to help donors have the greatest impact for every dollar donated.

GiveWell grew out of a group of donors who wanted to figure out where to donate their own money to do the most good. Answering that question turned out to be a full-time project: Two of the group's members, Elie Hassenfeld and Holden Karnofsky, left their jobs to found GiveWell in 2007.

Unlike charity evaluators that focus solely on financials, such as a charity’s overhead, we conduct in-depth research aiming to determine how much good a given charity accomplishes in terms of lives saved or improved with each donation. Rather than try to rate as many charities as possible, we focus on recommending the few charities that represent the best giving opportunities we can find. In 2015, we tracked over $110 million in donations to the charities we recommend as a result of our research. More


How We Find Charities

We spend each year looking for new top charities that are characterized by a strong evidence base, high cost-effectiveness, room for more funding, and transparency. Charities can apply directly for a GiveWell recommendation; we also solicit applications from charities implementing GiveWell's priority programs. We publish a list annually of charities we feel represent the best giving opportunities we’re aware of. We also identify and support potential future top charities through GiveWell Incubation Grants.

Follow Our Recommendations

You can donate to any of our recommended charities through our website—we don’t collect any fees, and all of our research is available for free. You can also give directly to charities we recommend and let us know it was due to our research. This helps us measure our own impact and demonstrate the demand for evidence-backed, cost-effective charities. We publish a recommended allocation among our top charities for donors who prefer to directly follow our advice.


Stay Up to Date on Our Work

We publish frequent updates on our progress, plans, research, and lessons learned. Our goal is to share as much information as possible about our research and thinking so that donors can use it to inform their giving decisions.

We offer anyone the option to contact us for a call or to email info@givewell.org with questions about our research or donation recommendations. Answers to frequently asked questions are available below.