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?
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 “Impact Audits” conducted by ImpactMatters (which has subsequently been acquired by Charity Navigator and no longer uses the “Impact Audit” 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.