How we curate our charities

How we curate our charities

Our mission is to inspire more people to give effectively and end world poverty. Our extensive Best Charities recommendations. overseen by our Panel of Experts, are based on rigorous research by organizations which evaluate charities for high levels of effectiveness in doing the most good for the world’s poorest people.

Panel of Experts

Peter Singer

Peter Singer

Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University; Founder, The Life You Can Save

Caroline Fiennes

Caroline Fiennes

Director, Giving Evidence; Author, It Ain’t What You Give, It’s The Way That
You Give It

Eric Friedman

Eric Friedman

FSA, EA, CFA Actuary & Investment Consultant; Author, Reinventing Philanthropy: A Framework for More Effective Giving

Dean Karlan

Dean Karlan

Professor of Economics, Northwestern University; Co-Founder, ImpactMatters

The three E’s of effective charities

We believe that a highly effective charity will have robust evidence on the efficiency of its programs and its ability to execute good outcomes. Important questions to ask are:

  • Evidence: What is the size, quality, and relevance of evidence of a charity’s outcomes?
  • Efficiency: Are an organization’s programs cost-effective, offering the most bang for the buck?
  • Execution: Can the charity translate marginal donations into crucial, positive outcomes at scale? 

Our recommendations

Many of our recommendations are from leading charity evaluator GiveWell, who we continue to consult for selective additions to our Best Charities list. Some of our recommendations were originally based on assessments made by  ImpactMatters (which now follows a different evaluation model).

Research from additional charity evaluators can be designated by a three-quarters majority of our Panel of Experts. Read more about our curation rationale.

Adding charities to our list

If an organization is added to GiveWell’s selective list, it’s automatically nominated for ours. Our Panel of Experts then scrutinizes the research and votes on whether to include it as a The Life You Can Save recommendation. At least three-quarters of the panel must vote in favor for an organization to be added to our list of best charities.

If multiple nominated organizations are doing very similar work to each other or to organizations already on our list, the panel may choose none or only some to reduce diluting the effectiveness of donations. We want to offer outstanding charities across a broad variety of causes, rather than numerous recommendations within a narrow set of causes.

At any time before or after an organization is added to our Best Charities list, panel members may raise concerns and request further research, which the panel will investigate collectively and use to assess whether the charity should remain on our list.


Beyond world poverty

The Life You Can Save is focused on eradicating poverty, but there are other effective charities supporting important causes.

Climate Change

We recommend consulting the Founders Pledge Report, which recommends the Clean Air Task Force and the Coalition for Rainforest Nations. Also, learn how many of our recommended charities bring a range of environmental benefits along with their primary interventions.

Animal Welfare

We recommend reviewing research from Animal Charity Evaluators.