How do we identify charities for review?

GiveWell's model is designed to find the best charities, not just the well-intentioned or "reputable" ones.

Our process is as follows:

  1. Choose a "cause" to focus on. Causes are broad areas such as reducing poverty in the developing world or improving education in the United States. Thus far, we have covered several causes focused on both the developing world and United States.
  2. Identify charities within the cause. We aim to include as many charities as possible in our review. We therefore review:
    • All charities in a cause that have been recommended to us directly (either personally or submitted by website visitors on our charity submission form)
    • Charities that have received awards for their work in this cause
    • Charities that appear to focus on our target area based on their categorization by other sources of information about charities such as Charity Navigator or the National Center for Charitable Statistics.
  3. Maintain reviews and ratings over time. We review new charities (in causes we have already covered) as they are submitted through our website, and we revisit completed reviews to ensure that our ratings our up to date.

For an example of how we found charities in practice, see how we identified charities focused on international aid.