Information About Donating

This page includes information about options for donating to our recommended charities, as well as answers to frequently asked questions about donations.

Table of Contents



Last Updated: June 2024; Published: September 2015

Donate to GiveWell in Support of Our Recommended Charities

We recommend that donors use our online donation form because this method requires the least administrative work for us. More details on donation methods can be found below. Please note that if you do not indicate how you would like your donation to be designated when you give to GiveWell (e.g., to our recommended charities), your donation will be treated as unrestricted funding, which we may choose to either use for operating expenses or grant to recommended charities.

If you’ve set up a recurring donation, you can manage your giving on our donor portal. To log into your account for the first time, please request a new password by entering the email address you used to set up your donation.

Giving from the UK? Donors in the UK can make tax-deductible and Gift Aid-eligible donations to GiveWell UK.

  • Online credit card donations: Use this form. Transactions are processed by a third party (www.stripe.com). As with all credit card transactions, GiveWell is charged a percentage fee on every transaction.

    For credit card donations, GiveWell is charged 2.60% (3.60% for AMEX) + $0.40 on each transaction. The fee is taken out by the credit card processor: if you donate $100, we receive $97.00 (or $96.00 if using AMEX).

    If you have a recurring credit card donation, you can manage your giving on our donor portal.

  • Online through PayPal: Use our online payment form and choose Paypal as the payment method at checkout. More information about donating via PayPal can be found here. PayPal charges 2.2% + $0.30 on each transaction: if you donate $100, we receive $97.50. There is no additional administrative work for us to process PayPal donations.
  • ACH (Automated Clearing House): Donors with US bank accounts can make secure one-time or recurring ACH payments via our main donation form. Choose "bank account" as the payment method, and provide the appropriate banking information when prompted. If you have a recurring ACH donation, you can manage your giving on our donor portal.

    GiveWell is charged 0.8% + $1.00 account validation fee on each initial ACH transaction, but the overall fees on an ACH donation are capped at $5.60. (For recurring monthly or quarterly donations, GiveWell is charged 0.8% + $1.00 on the initial transaction and 0.8% + $0.40 per transaction on each subsequent transaction, up to $5.60.)

    Because the costs to GiveWell are capped, this is the most cost effective way to make large donations. If you donate $100, Givewell will receive $98.20. If you donate $1,000, GiveWell will receive $994.40. There is no additional administrative work for GiveWell to process ACH transactions.

  • Donate by check: Due to an increase in mail fraud and potential mail delays, we encourage you to consider instead making a donation via our online form (accepts credit card, PayPal, or bank transfer) or using one of our other donation methods.

    Checks have no processing fees, but require more administrative work for us than other donation types. Reporting your check donation in advance online helps us cut down on administrative costs. Please report your donation using this form and then follow the instructions for mailing your check. If you would prefer to print and mail our check donation form, you can use this donation form (Microsoft Word version here).

  • Donate by wire transfer: Due to the administrative cost associated with processing wire transfers, we ask that donors use wire transfers only for donations of $1,000 or more. For smaller donations, GiveWell generally recommends donating via ACH instead when possible.

    If you are interested in making a donation to GiveWell via wire transfer, please follow the instructions here. Donations made by wire transfer may have fees for the donor. It is our impression that some banks charge a fee for transfers and some do not. If you're interested in donating by wire transfer, we suggest you check with your bank about the fees involved. GiveWell is not charged fees on wire transfers.

  • Donate stocks. Due to the administrative cost associated with processing donations of stock, we ask that donors donate stock only if the value of the stock at the time of transfer is estimated at approximately $1,000 or more. Donations of stock are processed by E*Trade. E*Trade charges a $4.95 commission on each sale. If you are interested in making a donation to GiveWell via stocks or securities, please follow the instructions here. Alternatively, donors giving $5,000 or more can give to GiveWell's Vanguard donor-advised fund, which may be able to accept certain types of securities that E*Trade cannot, including Vanguard mutual funds.
  • Donate via a Qualified Charitable Distribution: We are happy to accept donations via Qualified Charitable Distributions from individuals’ accounts. For more information, see this page.
  • ​​Cryptocurrencies. Due to the administrative cost associated with processing donations of cryptocurrencies, we ask that donors donate cryptocurrency only if the value of the currency at the time of transfer is estimated at approximately $1,000 or more.

    Donations of cryptocurrency are processed by Coinbase. Coinbase charges a 15 basis point minimum fee on all transactions; please review other details about Coinbase's fees here.

    Please note that our wallet addresses changed in September 2023. Our updated addresses and instructions for making a donation of cryptocurrency to GiveWell are here. We are able to accept donations of all cryptocurrencies that are listed under Coinbase Prime here. If you would like to donate a cryptocurrency that is not supported on Prime, or a supported cryptocurrency that is not listed on our website, please email us at donations@givewell.org.

The same methods and recommendations apply for donations made to GiveWell in support of our own operations.

You can find information on 2023 end-of-year tax deadlines here.

It is important to us to track donations made due to our research. If you choose to give directly to one or more of our recommended charities (rather than through our site), please let us know through our donation report form and, if the charity's donation form provides a place to do so, please tell the charity that your gift was a result of our research. Follow the links below to donate directly:

You can find information on 2023 end-of-year tax deadlines here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Donations

Why does GiveWell collect donations on behalf of the organizations it recommends?

By collecting donations on behalf of the organizations we recommend, we can (1)track our own impact on donations, (2) ask you if you'd like to receive updates on GiveWell's research, and (3) designate the funds to the organization as we believe is best based on our research process.

Please note that if you submit a donation to GiveWell with no designation (for example, mailing a check but not filling out the check donation form), we will treat it as unrestricted funding, which we may choose to either use for operating expenses or grant to recommended organizations.

Does GiveWell keep a portion of donations to its recommendations?

No, we collect no fees from donations to support our Top Charities. If you donate to the Top Charities Fund, All Grants Fund, or individual Top Charities, 100% of your donation (after credit card fees, subject to GiveWell’s grant approval process ) will be granted out to the organizations—GiveWell does not take any portion of these donations.

How is GiveWell supported?

GiveWell is supported by donors who explicitly choose to direct funding to our operations. Some donors choose to add 10% of their donation amount to support GiveWell's operations, and others choose to give their full donation amount to the unrestricted fund to support our operations.

We generally use unrestricted funding for operating expenses (which includes staff salaries, travel expenses, website maintenance, and other routine operational costs). However, we have an "excess assets" policy, which provides that once we surpass a certain level of unrestricted assets, we earmark the excess for granting rather than continue to hold it ourselves. You can read more about our excess assets policy here.

To avoid overly relying on a single source of support, we cap the amount of funding any individual or entity may provide to our operations at 20 percent.

For details on our revenues and expenses, see our financial statements.

Will my donation be tax-deductible?

Information about how to make tax-deductible donations in various countries can be found here.

Does GiveWell have tips for giving efficiently?

A list of tips for giving efficiently can be found here.

When does GiveWell grant funds it has collected?

We grant from our Top Charities Fund to one or more of our top charities on a quarterly basis. We may alter this schedule in the future (e.g., if an organization tells us that having the funds sooner will impact its operations or if we face capacity limitations). We make grants to fill the highest-priority funding needs at the time of our decision.

We make grants on a rolling basis from our All Grants Fund.

Donors to GiveWell can request that we use their donations for the support of a particular recommended organization or organizations, for the Top Charities Fund, or for our All Grants Fund. Donors communicate allocation preferences to us in several different ways, depending on the donation method they choose. For example, they can specify how they want their donation to be used on our credit card donation form or check donation form, or by emailing us.

GiveWell's Board of Directors provides oversight for our grantmaking process. We generally approve grants in accordance with donors’ allocation preferences by granting all funds (less applicable financial transaction fees) to the organizations that donors have told us they want to support, and have historically made grants in accordance with donors' allocation preferences in all cases. However, we retain the right to exercise final discretion over how funds from all donations are allocated.

GiveWell retains final discretion over how funds from donations are allocated to ensure that donations from US donors are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law, including when GiveWell grants funds to international nongovernmental organizations formed outside the US. Generally speaking, US donors cannot take a charitable contribution deduction for a donation to international organizations that are not formed in the US. Some of GiveWell’s recommended organizations (and organizations we might recommend in the future) are formed outside the US and do not have tax-exempt US-based organizations. GiveWell has reviewed each of these organizations and confirmed that they advance charitable purposes and otherwise meet applicable US legal requirements, so we, as a US 501(c)(3) organization, are able to grant funds to them. However, in order for a US donor to take a charitable contribution deduction for a donation that the donor recommends we grant to such an international organization, GiveWell 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 a grant to that international organization.

Which of GiveWell's funds is right for me?

GiveWell offers several giving funds for donors with different preferences, and we strongly believe each of these options is a very impactful way to give.

If you want to give to the programs we have the highest confidence in, we recommend giving to the Top Charities Fund. The Top Charities Fund is allocated to the highest-priority funding gaps among our Top Charities only. Because it’s more restricted, the Top Charities Fund may go to opportunities with lower expected value than the All Grants Fund.

Our All Grants Fund is our top recommendation for donors who have a high level of trust in GiveWell and are open to programs that might be riskier than top charities. It allows donors to contribute to the most impactful grant opportunities we’ve identified, regardless of program or location. When you give to the All Grants Fund, your donation might go to support research or scoping opportunities rather than straightforward delivery of programs. For more information about the types of grants the fund supports, see here.

If you’re open to supporting both GiveWell’s operating expenses and our recommended programs, we recommend our Unrestricted Fund. If we raise more unrestricted funding than we need for our operating costs, we will grant out the excess. This is a great fit for donors who are excited about GiveWell’s work and trust us to prioritize between our operations and our recommended programs.

For more information about our funds, see this page.

How are donations to the Top Charities Fund allocated?

GiveWell will apply its judgment to allocate these donations among our Top Charities. We take into account each organization's funding needs and donations they have received from other sources when deciding where to distribute funding from the Top Charities Fund. We then make these grants to the highest-value funding opportunities we see among our top charities. This page lists distributions we have made from the Top Charities Fund since 2014.

How are donations to the All Grants Fund allocated?

GiveWell will apply its judgment to allocate donations to the All Grants Fund, which are intended to go to the highest-impact giving opportunities we identify, some of which may not be represented by organizations on our top charities list. This page describes the goals of the fund and provides examples of the kinds of grants the fund supports.

How do I modify or cancel a recurring donation? How do I update the credit card number for a recurring donation?

Donors can manage their recurring donations through our donor portal. From the “My Recurring Donations” tab in your account, you can change your donation date, amount, and payment information, or cancel at any time. If you haven't logged into your account before, please click “Request new password” and provide the email address you used to make your donation. You'll then receive an email with a link to set your password and log in.

You can also send us an email at donations@givewell.org with any questions or requests regarding your donation.

Can you help me change or cancel a donation I made directly to one of your Top Charities?

We can only assist with donations made through GiveWell. In order to change or cancel a donation made directly to a GiveWell-recommended organization, you will need to reach out to the organization directly.

I want to give stocks or other securities, or I want to donate by bank wire transfer.

If you are interested in making a donation to GiveWell via stocks or securities, please follow the instructions here.

If you are interested in making a donation to GiveWell via bank wire transfer, please follow the instructions here.

Can I donate to a donor-advised fund?

GiveWell has a donor-advised fund (DAF) through Vanguard Charitable for this purpose. More information and instructions for donating are available here.

I want to donate in honor of someone. How can I do so?

If you are giving by credit card, our online donation form provides an option to dedicate your donation to someone. If you check this box and and tell us the person's email address, we'll send them an email letting them know about your gift. Alternatively, you can download and use our acknowledgment letter templates.

I tried entering my credit card number and got an error. What do I do?

We’re sorry about the trouble. We know that some donors occasionally experience problems with our donation pages. Using a different browser has worked for some donors in the past.

If that fails, we can accept donations via PayPal or ACH on our donation page, or by check made out to GiveWell and sent to 1714 Franklin Street #100335, Oakland, CA 94612. Other donation options are listed above.

We appreciate you letting us know if you continue to have website issues so that we can troubleshoot. Please email donations@givewell.org with a description of the problem.

How do I include GiveWell as a beneficiary of my will or trust?

Please visit ​​​​​​this page for more information.

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 the gift to be used, such as a check made out to GiveWell with no accompanying check donation form or donations made through certain online platforms or donor-advised funds. We will treat these donations as unrestricted funding, which we may choose to either use for operating expenses or grant to recommended charities. This designation will be communicated via the receipt you receive from GiveWell, and we're happy to change it if you let us know.

How does GiveWell structure matching campaigns?

When we offer donation matching, we do our best to ensure that the matching funds offered are additive and wouldn't have otherwise been given to GiveWell or our recommended organizations. We refer to this as a "true" match. We don't believe in identifying gifts that would have been made anyway as "matches."

We solicit matching funds from donors who have expressed interest in increasing our reach. We review their giving history and likelihood of future giving to see if matching funds appear additive to what they would have otherwise given. If they do, we accept their gift and add it to a pool of funding we may use for future matching campaigns.

When we believe the use of matching funds would be helpful for us—for example, running a matching campaign to get better data on the effectiveness of a marketing effort—we draw from this pool of available matching funds. We generally limit the time frame of each campaign we run. Any funds that are not matched during the campaign will remain in the matching pool for future use.

This structure gives us the flexibility to run matching campaigns as opportunities arise. We may structure matches differently in the future. If you have any questions about how a matching campaign we're running has been structured, please don't hesitate to be in touch.

I have an opportunity to have my gift "matched" if I give to another organization. Does this mean that donation would have double the impact? Could this be a better choice than giving to a GiveWell recommendation without a match?

We recommend against letting "donation matching" affect where you donate. This blog post provides more information.

Will I find out what happens with the money I give?

We publish regular updates on funding directed from our Top Charities Fund and All Grants Fund. We also send occasional emails to donors to TCF and AGF with updates on how those funds are being allocated. More details on how donations have been allocated can be found here. We publish a web page for every grant we recommend for funding, including grants funded through our giving funds; a list of pages we've published on grants since 2014 is available here.

Should I give now, or save my money and give later?

We don't believe there is a clear answer, and do believe that it makes sense to give relatively regularly—for example, setting aside a set percentage of annual income. This blog post provides more information.

Does GiveWell take money from any source?

We expect that GiveWell donations are coming from legally acquired funds. We do not accept gifts if we learn that the funds were gained improperly.

Other questions?

Feel free to contact us, read our general FAQ page, or visit our transparency page, which lists and links to most of the different kinds of information we provide.


Source URL: https://www.givewell.org/donate/more-information