Published: November 28, 2011
This page discusses organizations that we considered in our 2011 report on international charities and initially flagged as promising based on reviewing its website. Because of time constraints, we weren't able to contact all flagged organizations.
If you have additional information about an organization in this category that you think indicates it as a strong contender to be listed among our top charities, please contact us.
In most cases, charities that were flagged but not contacted fell into one of the following categories:
- As we scanned hundreds of charities' websites we thought we might want to prioritize a particular cause (e.g., orphanages); later we decided to lower the priority of the cause relative to other investigations. Below, we refer to these as "did not prioritize cause."
- We perceived investigating a cause as "experimental" and contacted several organizations for our own learning. In these cases, we made a case-by-case subjective judgment about which organizations to contact. This judgment was driven by many factors, including factors such as ones that we felt (based on a review of their websites and any other background information we had) would be most likely to spend time talking to us. Below, we refer to these as "'learning' causes."
De-prioritized and "learning" causes
We flagged organizations working in the following promising causes:
- Invention-focused ("learning" cause): organizations creating new products to serve beneficiaries in the developing world. We flagged 8 organizations in this way and contacted 7, of which 3 either declined or didn't respond to our request to speak and 4 are pending as of November 28, 2011 (the date of this report's publication).
- Local healthcare (did not prioritize cause): organizations running health clinics. After further consideration, we felt that other organizations were more likely to succeed in our process, and we did not ultimately contact any of nine organizations we flagged in this way in 2011, though we did contact Nyaya Health, an organization we also flagged for its unusual transparency.
- Low insulation (did not prioritize cause): organizations that provide a wide variety of services to in-need beneficiaries; particular to these organizations is that staff have close contact with beneficiaries and may understand their needs well such that the organization can provide the services that are most needed. After further consideration, we did not feel that we had developed a good process for reviewing these organizations and therefore did not contact any of the 17 organizations we flagged in this way in 2011.
- Microfinance (did not prioritize): organizations providing financial services to poor individuals in the developing world. Based on our previous research on microfinance, we did not prioritize this cause again in 2011.
- Nutrition: we flagged 11 organizations in this way. We contacted 7 of which 6 are pending and 1 did not respond to our emails. We explicitly considered and deprioritized the World Food Program and Akshaya Patra as unlikely to ultimately receive a recommendation based on our criteria.
- Orphans and vulnerable children (did not prioritize cause): organizations running orphanages or program for groups such as street children. After further consideration, we did not feel that we had developed a credible process for reviewing these organizations and therefore did not contact any of the 16 organizations we flagged in this way in 2011.
- Research ("learning" cause): organizations conducting research as opposed to directly implementing programs. This flag includes organizations conducting academic research to determine which aid programs are most effective as well as organizations conducting medical research. We viewed this cause as "experimental" in 2011 and contacted organizations largely as a means of developing a framework for analyzing this cause. We flagged 17 organizations in this way and contacted 9, of which we have completed a review of 1; 3 either declined or did not respond to our requests to speak; and 5 are pending as of November 28, 2011 (the date of this report's publication).
- Water ("learning" cause): organizations focused on the cause of "clean water" with activities such as digging wells, constructing latrines or other sanitation facilities, installing water purification systems, providing purification tablets. We developed heuristics specific to water organizations and visited the websites of the 53 organizations we flagged in this way. Out of these 53, we prioritized and contacted 5. Of these, 2 declined and as of November 28, 2011 (the date of this report's publication), 3 are pending. Details at our page specific to water charities.
Other reasons we did not contact flagged charities
- We viewed the flag of potential high upside for possibly becoming self-sustaining as experimental. We flagged 18 organizations in this way. We contacted 7 of them of which 1 declined and 6 are pending as of November 28, 2011 (the date of this report's publication).
- We flagged organizations as "other" if, while reviewing their websites, we thought they might potentially be a charity we might recommend even though they didn't, strictly speaking, meet one of our criteria. We flagged three organizations in this way but did not contact any of them.
- We flagged organizations for possible monitoring and evaluation if, while reviewing their websites, we thought that they might potentially have rigorous reports of their impact. We later did not contact 7 because we deprioritized the cause as a whole. In particular, this applied to 5 of organizations working in the case of education and an organization working in the cause of microfinance, both areas we have considered carefully in the past leading us to believe that it is unlikely these organizations' monitoring and evaluation would likely lead to a recommendation.
- We flagged organizations for an "unusual and commendable level of transparency." We flagged 2 organizations in this way. We contacted and fully reviewed Nyaya Health. We did not contact Peace Dividend Trust because its focus areas seemed less likely to be a fit for our recommendations in 2011, though this may change in the future.