Footnotes for "Our recommendations for giving in 2022"

[1] The estimates in this section are extremely rough and shouldn't be taken to represent our literal expectations. We provide them to give an illustration of the approximate scale of the impact we think this funding will have in the world. Where possible, we've given conservative estimates.

[2] We roughly estimate that about $350 million of that $600 million total would go toward programs whose primary benefit is saving lives. We've calculated this estimate by summing up the expected value of very cost-effective life-saving grant opportunities (total amount in dollars represented by the grant, multiplied by the percent likelihood of recommending the grant) that we've identified this year, across both our top charities and other programs. These numbers aren't public yet because many of the grant investigations are still ongoing. The likelihood of our recommending a grant that we're still investigating, as well as the total amount of the grant in some cases, is often very uncertain.

We're using an extremely rough estimate of $5,000 to save a life on average. $5,000 is our rounded average cost per life saved for 2021 grants to top charities; see source spreadsheet calculations here. This average is calculated using the subset of grants to top charities that were funded by Top Charities Fund donations, Open Philanthropy, GiveWell unrestricted funding that our board approved for regranting, or other organizations that accept donations on our behalf (e.g., effective altruism groups outside the U.S.). It doesn't include donations made directly to our top charities based on our recommendation, or donations we accepted on behalf of and regranted to individual top charities. GiveWell also directed other grants to life-saving programs outside our top charities in 2021; the cost per life saved for these grants is not factored into the $5,000 estimate.

$350,000,000/$5,000 = 70,000.

[3] Estimated population on July 1, 2021: 68,313. US Census, "QuickFacts: Portland city, Maine"

[4] Three out of four of our top charities—Malaria Consortium's SMC program, New Incentives, and Helen Keller International's VAS program—directly target children under five. Against Malaria Foundation supports distribution of insecticide-treated nets to households to prevent malaria, without specifically targeting children; however, because malaria deaths are concentrated in children under five, the largest benefit we model from AMF's program is a reduction in under-five mortality.

Generally, because the moral weights that we use to help us evaluate the impact of a potential grant heavily favor averting the death of a child under five, grants recommended by GiveWell often support programs whose benefit lies primarily in reducing child mortality.

[5] See this chart from Our World in Data, "Child and Infant Mortality." Globally, in 2017, more than three times as many children died under the age of five than died in the next three age groups combined (5-9 years, 10-14 years, and 15-19 years).

[6] We estimate here that about 70% of the lives we expect to be saved by the funds we direct to our top charities will be those of children under five. We calculated this percentage by first finding the average under-five deaths as a percentage of all deaths we'd expect to avert with a hypothetical donation to each of our top charities. See the results here. As a conservative proxy for the average proportion of under-five deaths across all top charities, we chose the estimate for the top charity with the lowest proportion (New Incentives, 66%) and rounded it up to 70%. We then multiplied this number by 70,000. These calculations are extremely rough, as they do not take into account the proportion of our total funding that we expect to be directed to each top charity this year, among other factors.

[7] National Center for Education Statistics, National Teacher and Principal Survey, "Average class size in public schools, by class type and state: 2017–18", see column "Average class size for teachers in self-contained classes"

49,000/20.9 = 2,344.

[8] "Last year, we recommended $300 million of grants to GiveWell’s evidence-backed, cost-effective recommendations in global health and development, up from $100 million the year before. We recently decided that our total allocation for this year will be $350 million." Open Philanthropy, "Update on our planned allocation to GiveWell’s recommended charities in 2022," July 5, 2022

[9] "Our key accomplishment this year was identifying a significantly larger amount of cost-effective room for more funding than previously. We expect that we’ll increase our total room for more funding from $200 million in 2020 to $450 million in 2021." GiveWell blog, "Our recommendations for giving in 2021," November 2021. We ended up exceeding this forecast, and directed around $518 million to cost-effective programs in 2021 (see p. 6 of GiveWell Metrics Report — 2021 Annual Review).

[10] See the charts titled "Expanding our reach" and "Growth" on New Incentives' Impact page.

[11] In an unpublished financial forecasts document, New Incentives has shared that it raised enough in its last funding cycle to cover 3,181,800 infants by the end of 2022. It projects that the $30.2 million grant GiveWell has recommended would allow it to cover an additional 1,355,698 infants by mid-2023, for a total of 4,537,498 infants.

[12] "Kangaroo mother care (KMC) is intended as a low-cost alternative to conventional neonatal intensive care for low birth weight infants during their stay at a healthcare facility and primarily involves keeping infants warm through skin-to-skin contact with their mothers. KMC can also include exclusive breastfeeding and relaxing the criteria for discharge from the facility in order to reduce length of hospitalization, though these components of KMC are not implemented consistently in studies on KMC…. There is some evidence that KMC may lead to reductions in neonatal mortality and morbidity for LBW infants." GiveWell, "Kangaroo Mother Care," 2021.

[13] This estimate draws from our analysis of the cost-effectiveness of the grant to r.i.c.e., which isn't yet published.

[14] "Intermittent preventive treatment for infants (IPTi) is the provision of preventive antimalarial medicine to infants at routine vaccination visits." GiveWell, "Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Infants (IPTi) for Malaria," 2022.

"WHO has updated it recommendations for 3 key malaria prevention strategies: seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), perennial malaria chemoprevention (PMC – previously known as intermittent preventive treatment in infants, or IPTi) and intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp)." WHO, "Updated WHO recommendations for malaria chemoprevention among children and pregnant women," June 3, 2022

[15] "Our preliminary estimate suggested that IPTi may be around 18 times as cost-effective as cash transfers, which is above the range of cost-effectiveness of programs we would consider funding. However, this estimate is quite rough, given our uncertainties about program costs, feasibility of implementation at scale, and the counterfactual impact of funding we might direct to IPTi." GiveWell blog, "IPTi for malaria: a promising intervention with likely room to scale," January 31, 2022.

"However, our research has identified only one country, Sierra Leone, that has integrated IPTi into its routine national health care practice…. With only one country having adopted IPTi, there are currently no charities and no philanthropic funding that we know of supporting its implementation at significant scale." GiveWell blog, "IPTi for malaria: a promising intervention with likely room to scale," January 31, 2022.

[16] "Seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) involves giving children under the age of 5 full malaria treatment courses intermittently during the malaria season." GiveWell, "Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention," 2018.

[17] This figure relies on internal calculations using the expected funding gap for each program divided by our roughly estimated cost per life saved for each grant opportunity, to get a rough expected number of lives saved by each hypothetical grant.

[18] We have an excess assets policy as well as a "single donor cap," which specifies that we can't get more than 20% of our operating budget from a single donor, in order to avoid overreliance on one source of funding.

[19] See our calculations here. We estimate that GiveWell-directed donations to our current top charities (Against Malaria Foundation, Helen Keller International's vitamin A supplementation program, Malaria Consortium's seasonal malaria chemoprevention program, and New Incentives) between 2009 and 2021 can be expected to collectively save around 159,000 lives. We estimate lives saved via GiveWell-directed donations to these four programs in 2021 alone at around 57,000 lives. Naively assuming that we'll direct an equivalent or greater amount of donations to these programs in 2022, we believe that sometime this year we'll have influenced enough funding to eventually save 200,000 lives. (Our rough guess is that funding we direct in 2022, to both top charities and other programs, will actually result in more than 57,000 lives saved; see the "Why your support is so important" section of the blog post.)