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Introduction to GiveWell

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Giving 101: The basics – Here we share key principles to keep in mind when deciding where to donate.

GiveWell values – What are the core values that guide GiveWell's work?

Why is it so expensive to save lives? – Here we explain why the estimated cost to save a life is so much more than the cost to purchase an insecticide-treated net or provide medication to a child.

For those who want to dig deeper

We’ve made a list of articles, books, podcasts, and videos for you to share with your friends, family, and coworkers. GiveWell doesn’t endorse everything in these materials, but we think they are helpful entry points to effective giving. We’ve found that sharing an interesting link and a quick note about how the resource was important to you is a great way to open a conversation about giving.


The greatest good – The Atlantic. Writer Derek Thompson learns about effective giving through a friend, and takes readers along with him as he rethinks his relationship with charity.

Famine, affluence, and morality – Peter Singer. Philosopher Peter Singer makes an argument for the moral importance of giving to charity.

Extreme altruism: Should you care for strangers at the expense of your family? – Larissa MacFarquhar. Writer Larissa MacFarquhar profiles “do-gooders,” people who set out to live as ethically as possible.

Want to donate to charity? Here are 10 guidelines for giving effectively – Future Perfect. Dylan Matthews and Sigal Samuel discuss how to do more good with the money you give.

GiveWell: A medium-depth overview – GiveWell. We share more detail on what we do, how we do it, and our strategy for having an impact.


The Life You Can Save – Peter Singer. Philosopher Peter Singer talks about the moral importance of charity and the astounding amount of good that donors can do. GiveWell staff and donors have found it compelling and inspiring.

Doing Good Better – William MacAskill. Doing Good Better offers an overview of the effective giving approach to charity, and uses clear, interesting examples to emphasize the importance of really understanding what donations will accomplish.


Two big picture critiques of GiveWell’s approach, and six lessons from their recent work – 80,000 Hours Podcast. GiveWell’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Elie Hassenfeld, discusses new areas of GiveWell's grantmaking, how GiveWell could be wrong, and why growing the organization is one of our primary goals.

Elie Hassenfeld (GiveWell’s Co-Founder and Executive Director) – Business of Giving. GiveWell’s Co-Founder and Executive Director explains why our approach to charity is so different from most (and why we think it's so important).

How GiveWell picks top charities – 80,000 Hours Podcast. GiveWell researcher James Snowden gives a more in-depth window into GiveWell’s process of choosing charities. It might be too in-the-weeds for some listeners, but others will love the insight into GiveWell’s intensive approach to charity research.

A conversation with GiveWell's Elie Hassenfeld – Slow Boring Podcast. This podcast episode gives an overview of GiveWell’s past, present, and future, how our Co-Founder and Executive Director thinks about tough questions in global health and development, and how we anticipate the funding landscape shifting in the next year.

Neil Buddy Shah: A deep dive into GiveWell’s work – Giving What We Can Podcast. GiveWell's former Managing Director provides an in-depth look at our work, including our approaches and focus areas.

ABRACADABRA! Go away malaria! – This Podcast Will Kill You. This epidemiology podcast gives an overview of malaria and may deepen listeners' understanding of how terrible the disease is.


The why and how of effective altruism – Peter Singer’s TED Talk. Famous philosopher Peter Singer delivers an overview of his ideas on giving effectively and the obligation to give. The ideas are similar to what you’ll find in his book and article mentioned above.

What are the most important moral problems of our time? – William MacAskill’s TED Talk. William MacAskill shares a framework for prioritizing approaches to philanthropy. This is a very accessible overview to effective giving, though it doesn’t spend much time on global poverty.

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