GiveWell UK - Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

Will my donation to GiveWell UK be tax-deductible?

GiveWell UK is a UK Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) with registered charity number #1196392. Eligible UK taxpayers are able to take tax deductions for donations to GiveWell UK to the extent permitted by UK tax laws. Please note that donations to GiveWell UK are irrevocable and donor requests to grant donations to our recommended charities are subject to our approval (more details on GiveWell UK's approval process here).

How can I make changes to my GiveWell UK donation?

If you have made a one-time donation via credit card, PayPal, or wire transfer, or set up a recurring donation via direct debit, please email UKdonations@givewell.org to make any changes.

If you donated via your personal CAF Account, please contact CAF directly.

What if I want to give stocks or securities?

Unfortunately, at this time GiveWell UK cannot accept donations of stocks or securities.

You are welcome to donate stocks or securities to GiveWell (based in the United States), but unfortunately these donations will not be tax-deductible for UK donors.

What should I do if I’m a recurring GiveWell donor that wants to switch their donations to GiveWell UK?

GiveWell UK is a UK Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) with registered charity number #1196392 and the official UK partner of GiveWell. Because GiveWell and GiveWell UK are separate entities, we cannot automatically transfer recurring GiveWell donations to GiveWell UK. In order to become a recurring GiveWell UK donor please:

  1. Email donations@givewell.org and let us know that you’ll be switching your recurring donation to GiveWell UK. We will cancel your recurring donation to GiveWell.
  2. Set up a recurring donation to GiveWell UK via credit card by filling out the CAF donation page for your desired designation and choosing “I’d like to give regularly” in response to “How often would you like to donate?” You can see the CAF links for all designation options here.

How do I include GiveWell UK as a beneficiary of my estate planning?

We welcome legacy gifts from donors in the UK. Information for estate planning purposes, including suggested language, can be found on this page.

What is Gift Aid?

Gift Aid is a UK government program that allows GiveWell UK to claim an extra 25% on top of your donation directly from the government at no extra cost to you. That means your donation of £10 could be worth an additional £2.50. Gift Aid comes out of taxes that you would otherwise pay to the government, which the government will redirect to us at your request.

Does my donation qualify for Gift Aid?

Tick a box if your donation qualifies. GiveWell will do the rest.

By ticking the Gift Aid box when making your donation, you are declaring that you are a UK taxpayer and you have paid (or are going to pay) the government more tax throughout this year than we are claiming back. If you have donated £10, for example, and have indicated that you would like us to claim the tax back, we can claim £2.50. You must, therefore, be sure that you have paid (or will pay) more than £2.50 in income or capital gains tax to the government for that tax year.

Therefore, your donation qualifies for Gift Aid if you:

  • Pay at least as much tax as we will reclaim on your donation in the tax year in which you made it. The tax year runs from April 6th in one year to April 5th in the next.
  • Have made a declaration to us that you want your donation to be treated as a Gift Aid donation and provided us with your name and address.

Please contact UKdonations@givewell.org if you have any additional questions. For more information on how Gift Aid works, contact your local tax office or visit Gov.uk.

What if I am a higher rate taxpayer?

GiveWell UK reclaims the tax on your donation only at the basic rate, even if you are a higher rate taxpayer. Higher and additional rate taxpayers can reclaim additional tax relief via their Self Assessment returns.

No, GiveWell UK collects no fees from your donations. Once we have reviewed and approved your requested designation, 100% of your donation (after financial transaction fees) will be used to support the charity or charities of your choice.

How is GiveWell UK supported?

GiveWell UK has minimal operating expenses and those are supported by GiveWell. GiveWell also supports GiveWell UK through the in-kind provision of staff resources.

GiveWell is supported by donors who explicitly choose to direct unrestricted funding to GiveWell to support its operations.

GiveWell generally uses unrestricted funding for operating expenses (which include staff salaries, travel expenses, website maintenance, and other routine operational costs). GiveWell also provides funds for the operating expenses of GiveWell UK, such as bookkeeping and legal advising. GiveWell also has an "excess assets" policy, which provides that once a certain level of unrestricted assets is surpassed, the Board of Directors redesignates excess amounts for granting rather than GiveWell continuing to hold it. You can read more about GiveWell’s excess assets policy here.

When does GiveWell UK grant funds it has collected?

We currently aim to make grants on a quarterly basis. This means that funds will actually be distributed approximately 6 weeks after the end of each calendar quarter (for example, donations received January 1st through March 31st would be granted out in the middle of May. We may alter this schedule in the future if circumstances require (e.g., if a grantee tells us that having the funds sooner will improve its operations or if we encounter logistical problems that cause us to grant less frequently).

If I designate my donation for a specific grantee, will all of my donation be granted according to my designation?

Donors to GiveWell UK can request that their donations be designated for the Maximum Impact Fund, All Grants Fund, unrestricted support of GiveWell’s operations, or one or more of GiveWell’s top charities. Donors communicate designation preferences to us in several different ways, depending on the donation method they choose; for example, to donate via credit card, donors select the donation page that corresponds to their desired designation. You can see links for all designation options and payment methods here.

GiveWell UK’s trustees will review and approve grants to ensure they support an approved charitable purpose. The trustees generally approve grants in accordance with donors’ designation preferences by granting all funds (less applicable financial transaction fees) to the organizations that donors have told us they want to support, and we have historically made grants in accordance with donors' designation preferences in all cases. However, in accordance with our legal governance responsibilities, we retain the right to exercise final discretion over how funds from all donations are allocated.

GiveWell UK retains final discretion over how funds from donations are allocated to ensure that donations from UK donors are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law, including when GiveWell UK grants funds to international charities formed outside the UK. Generally speaking, UK donors cannot take a charitable contribution deduction for a donation to international charities that are not formed in the UK. Many of the organizations we recommend (and that might be recommended in the future) are formed outside the UK and do not have tax-exempt UK-based organizations. Each of these organizations has been extensively reviewed and confirmed to advance legitimate charitable purposes and otherwise meet applicable UK legal requirements. GiveWell UK, as a CIO, is able to grant funds to them. However, in order for a UK donor to take a charitable contribution deduction for a donation that the donor recommends we grant to an international charity, GiveWell UK has to exercise legal discretion and control over the donated funds, which means that we have the right to allocate the funds to a different charitable purpose than to a grant to that international charity.

What happens if I don't indicate how I'd like my donation to be used?

We sometimes receive donations without guidance on how the donor wants them to be used, such as a wire transfer with no accompanying donation form. We may choose to allocate these donations to either the All Grants Fund or GiveWell’s operating expenses. You’ll receive a receipt that shows this designation; if you would like to direct your designation differently, please contact us at UKdonations@givewell.org within 30 days of the date of your donation and we may be able to accommodate the change.

How do GiveWell and GiveWell UK interact?

GiveWell UK and GiveWell are two legally separate entities with the same underlying objective—to help donors identify the charitable interventions that save and improve lives the most and support donors to direct the greatest amount of funding possible to the organizations that implement them. Currently, GiveWell does the operational heavy lifting—conducting research, publishing recommendations, and administering a majority of grants. GiveWell UK reviews GiveWell’s recommendations to affirm they meet UK charitable purposes and provides a mechanism for UK donors who wish to make tax-deductible donations to GiveWell and its recommended organizations, particularly those that are not registered in the UK. To minimize administrative burdens on the grant recipients, on GiveWell UK, and on GiveWell, GiveWell UK grants primarily to GiveWell for onward granting to the recommended recipients.

What's the difference between EA Funds' Global Health and Development Fund and giving to GiveWell UK?

The Global Health and Development (GH&D) Fund is part of EA Funds. GiveWell acts as the manager of the Fund and directs EA Funds on where to grant it. Giving to the GH&D Fund is analogous to giving to GiveWell's All Grants Fund in that we may allocate the Fund to less certain but still high-expected-value opportunities outside of our top charities. You might choose to give to the GH&D Fund instead of our All Grants Fund via GiveWell UK if you would also like to support other cause areas through EA Funds (such as its Animal Welfare Fund, Long-Term Future Fund, or EA Infrastructure Fund).