Top Charities - November 2016 Version
We have published a more recent version of this page. See our most recent list of top charities.
Our top charities are evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, underfunded organizations.
We recommend charities according to how much good additional donations can do. We examine charities' overall quality and cost-effectiveness, as well as what more funding would enable them to do. We regularly publish discussions of our top charities' strengths and weaknesses.
Preventing deaths from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.
Malaria is one of the leading killers of children in Africa. Insecticide-treated nets prevent deaths and many other non-fatal cases of malaria and are relatively inexpensive — about $5 per net. (For more details, see our full report on nets.) We believe that AMF effectively expands access to nets. Read More
Donors in many countries are able to make tax-deductible donations to AMF. Details here.
Treating people for parasite infections in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
The charities listed below support programs that treat people for parasitic worm infections that can cause short-term symptoms and may impact children's long-term development and earnings in adulthood. These worms are extremely inexpensive to treat. (For more, see our full report on deworming.)
Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI)
The Schistosomiasis Control Initiative advocates for, funds, provides technical assistance to, and monitors government-run deworming programs. SCI has a strong track record of starting and scaling up deworming programs. It has a fairly strong track record of demonstrating that its programs are effective. Read More
Deworm the World Initiative, led by Evidence Action
The Deworm the World Initiative advocates for, funds, provides technical assistance to, and monitors government-run school-based deworming programs. We believe that Deworm the World, of the deworming charities we have evaluated, has the strongest track record of demonstrating that its programs are effective. Read More
END Fund (deworming program only)
The END Fund manages grants, provides technical assistance, and raises funding for controlling and eliminating neglected tropical diseases, including deworming. We recommend the END Fund's work on deworming programs because we believe the END Fund is in a strong position to identify opportunities to start and scale-up deworming programs. Our recommendation is only for the END Fund's work on deworming programs. Read More
Sightsavers (deworming program only)
Sightsavers advocates for, funds, provides technical assistance to, and monitors deworming programs as part of its work to prevent and treat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Deworming programs are similar to Sightsavers' other NTD programs and Sightsavers has a fairly strong track record with respect to its NTD programs, although its track record on deworming programs, specifically, is more limited. Our recommendation is only for Sightsavers' deworming program. Read More
Donors in many countries are able to make tax-deductible donations to the Deworm the World Initiative, END Fund, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, and Sightsavers. Details here.
Preventing deaths from malaria in Africa.
Malaria is one of the leading killers of children in Africa. Strong evidence suggests that seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) programs—preventative treatment for young children during the peak malaria season—substantially reduce cases of malaria. (For more details, see our interim report on SMC.) We believe that Malaria Consortium effectively reaches a large proportion of children targeted by its SMC programs. Our recommendation is only for Malaria Consortium's SMC program. Read More
Donors in some countries are able to make tax-deductible donations to Malaria Consortium. Details here.
Distributing cash to very poor individuals in Kenya and Uganda.
Directly transferring money to poor individuals allows them to purchase that which they believe will help them most. Strong evidence indicates that cash transfers lead recipients to spend more on their basic needs (such as food) and may allow recipients to make investments with high returns, with no evidence of large increases in spending on items like alcohol or tobacco. (For more, see our full report on cash transfers.) We believe that GiveDirectly effectively distributes cash to extremely low-income individuals. Read More
Donors in many countries are able to make tax-deductible donations to GiveDirectly. Details here.
The organizations listed below support programs that may be extremely cost-effective and are evidence-backed. We do not feel as confident in the impact of these organizations as we do in our top charities. However, we have reviewed their work and feel these groups stand out from the vast majority of organizations we have considered in terms of the evidence base for the program they support, their transparency, and their potential cost-effectiveness. We have published reviews of all of these organizations.
- Development Media International produces mass media to promote improved health behaviors in developing countries.
- Food Fortification Initiative works to reduce micronutrient deficiencies through advocacy and assistance to countries implementing food fortification programs.
- The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)'s Universal Salt Iodization program aids salt iodization programs in developing countries.
- Helen Keller International (HKI)'s Vitamin A Supplementation (VAS) program supports VAS programs for preschool-aged children. We do not currently accept donations on behalf of HKI.
- Iodine Global Network (IGN) aids salt iodization programs in developing countries.
- Living Goods supports a network of community health promoters in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Project Healthy Children works to reduce micronutrient deficiencies by assisting small countries with their food fortification programs.
Other Charities Running Cost-Effective Evidence-Backed Programs
We've identified a number of other charities running cost-effective, evidence-backed programs. Details here.
Pros and Cons of Giving to Our Recommended Charities
We think the principal advantages of our current top charities are that:
- They represent the best opportunities we're aware of to help low-income people with relatively high confidence and relatively short time horizons. If you're looking to give this year and you don't know where to start, we'd strongly recommend supporting our top charities.
- Due to the emphasis on thorough vetting, transparency, and following up, our top charities represent excellent learning opportunities, and we feel that one of the most desirable outcomes of giving is learning more that will inform later giving. Supporting our top charities helps GiveWell demonstrate impact and improves our ability to learn, and we are dedicated to sharing what we learn publicly.
- We have strict criteria about the sorts of charities we recommend. These criteria are partly about achieving maximum impact, but partly about having recommendations that others can fairly easily be confident in.
- Seeking strong evidence and a straightforward, documented case for impact can be in tension with maximizing impact, as argued at this post by the Open Philanthropy Project. (The Open Philanthropy Project was incubated at GiveWell and looks for giving opportunities that can be longer term, harder to assess, and harder to explain. It does not have official recommendations for individual donors.)
- Thus, we think there may be many giving opportunities that are better than our top charities but don't meet our criteria and/or are not known to us.
- Even though we believe our top charities are backed by strong evidence, none of our recommendations are a 'sure thing' and a few carry a significant risk of failing to do much good.
Many, but not all, staff support GiveWell's top charities with their personal giving.