Our Approach to Transparency

Last updated: January 2024

This page discusses (a) transparency about our grantmaking process, (b) transparency about our research and reasoning, (c) feedback on our research and reasoning, (d) and transparency about our organization in general (above and beyond our research).

Transparency about our grantmaking process

On this page, we describe our process for organizations that apply for a grant recommendation without receiving an invitation from GiveWell.

We also provide an overview of the full application and grantmaking process here.

We recommend that charities interested in GiveWell's review process visit our "Apply for Consideration" page or reach out to our team with questions related to transparency and confidentiality.

Transparency about our research and reasoning

We want readers to be able to understand our reasoning, evaluate the ways we might be wrong, and provide feedback that will improve our research. 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.

  • We describe our criteria for grantmaking and the process we use for identifying top charities here.
  • We expect to publish a page for every grant we recommend for funding. A list of all pages we've published on grants since 2014 is available here.
  • We want readers to be able to understand and critique our grant recommendations. As of 2023, we now include summaries on our research and grant pages that describe what the program or grant does, identify our key assumptions, and clearly explain the program or grant's cost-effectiveness and what our largest sources of uncertainty are. You can see examples of these features on this grant page.
  • After we review a program, we publish our analysis. For programs that do not seem likely to meet our criteria after an initial shallow review, we publish short notes describing why we are deprioritizing further research (example here). For programs that appear more promising, we conduct additional research and publish intervention reports describing what we found (example here). A list of programs we've reviewed is available here.
  • For each of our top charities, we publish an in-depth review that describes what we know about the charity's activities, track record, cost-effectiveness, funding needs, and overall strengths and weaknesses.
  • When we substantially revise a charity review or intervention report, we keep our old review publicly available. For example, see our page with all content on Malaria Consortium's seasonal malaria chemoprevention program.
  • We maintain a blog, which generally consists of content that we believe is interesting to a general audience and/or captures GiveWell's core opinions (and changes in core opinions).
  • We also have an email list for sharing newly published materials. The list is open to the public; subscribers receive notifications for all intervention reports, grant pages, and other web pages as they are published.
  • We occasionally host events, webinars, and conference calls at which we discuss the reasoning behind our charity recommendations and take questions. Recordings and transcripts from these events are available here.
  • We use links and footnotes to support statements of fact on our website. You can expect links and footnotes to provide empirical support for the claims we make. When you see a statement without an associated link or footnote, you can assume that there is no additional support for the statement being made, though you are welcome to contact us to verify this.

Feedback on our research and reasoning

We actively solicit and publicize feedback on our research and reasoning. In 2022 we held the Change Our Mind contest to solicit critiques of our cost-effectiveness analyses.

We also provide an opportunity for all grantees to review and respond to the reasoning that supported GiveWell's decision to recommend a grant to them.

Anyone is also welcome to submit comments on our blog with their thoughts, questions, and feedback on our work. We publish an open post each quarter specifically to solicit feedback.

Information about our organization

General information

We share information about our operations, including our audited financial records and official policies.

Records of all Board meetings

We share records of all Board meetings, including meeting agendas, minutes, and documents discussed at the meetings. We will share as much information as we reasonably can in these documents.

We will make redactions in order to maintain reasonable and expected confidentiality of information pertaining to individual GiveWell job candidates, new hires, staff, donors, Board members and advisors, and others who engage with our work. We may also make redactions based on our judgment about the appropriateness of publishing about a sensitive issue, a major announcement that hasn't yet been shared with staff or other organizations involved or that we wish to communicate about strategically, content with legal implications, and other topics for which there is significant cost to sharing and limited benefit. Finally, we may choose not to publish a document when the amount of staff time required to prepare it for external publication (i.e., by removing mentions of individuals for confidentiality purposes) is significant and the benefit of sharing that information is limited.

We will indicate if a document has been redacted or if we have chosen not to publish it.

Self-evaluation records

We regularly share updates on GiveWell's progress and priorities with our Board; these materials are publicly available here.

GiveWell's key metrics

We share GiveWell's key metrics, such as funds raised and funds directed to charities.

Major mistakes

We share major mistakes we've made as an organization.