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How We Work

You'll find information here on how GiveWell works. The pages linked below describe how GiveWell identifies and vets our recommended charities, as well as commonly asked questions about our research process. They also discuss our commitment to transparency in our work and the internal evaluations of GiveWell that have been conducted.

Not sure where to start? Check out our Quick Start Guide.

Our Process

GiveWell's mission is to find outstanding charities and to publish the full details of our analysis to help donors decide where to give. Our focus is on finding the most outstanding charities possible rather than completing an in-depth investigation for each organization we consider. In addition, we're interested in identifying and supporting the study or growth of potential future top charities and programs. More.

Our Criteria

GiveWell evaluates potential top charities along four main criteria: (1) Effectiveness, as supported by evidence the program the charity is implementing saves or improves lives; (2) cost-effectiveness, or how much ‘bang for the buck’ the charity offers in terms of lives saved or improved per donation; (3) room for more funding, or the charity’s ability to put additional donations to use; and (4) transparency.


We do not believe that charity analysis can be reduced to facts and formulas; any good giving decision involves intuition and judgment calls. Rather than trying to avoid such judgment calls, we try to put all our reasoning out in the open where others can assess it and critique it. This page discusses what our audience can expect from us in terms of (a) transparency about our research and reasoning; (b) mechanisms for viewing, and submitting, feedback on our research and reasoning; (c) transparency about our organization in general (above and beyond our research). More.

Core Competencies

This page discusses the things we focus on doing well: thoroughly and critically reviewing evidence and top charities; considering what additional funding will enable a charity to accomplish, and not just what past funds have accomplished; and finding top charities that meet our criteria, rather than reviewing all charities. More.


In order to assess our own impact, we conduct annual self-evaluations on our progress. We take into account how much money is directed to our top charities as a result of GiveWell's recommendation, as well as our annual web traffic and a number of qualitative metrics. More.

Who We Are

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.

Unlike charity evaluators that focus solely on financials, assessing administrative or fundraising costs, we conduct in-depth research aiming to determine how much good a given program accomplishes (in terms of lives saved, lives improved, etc.) per dollar spent. Rather than try to rate as many charities as possible, we focus on the few charities that stand out most (by our criteria) in order to find and confidently recommend the best giving opportunities possible (our list of top charities). More.