Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Charity Endorsed by Givewell

Givewell, a charity evaluation and ranking organization, has recommended a new charity: GiveDirectly.

GiveDirectly transfers money directly from you, the donor, to poor people in Kenya to spend as they choose.

I'm excited to see Givewell add a third charity to their recommended list - one of my big objections to Givewell is that they are too small to evaluate a suitable number of charities. I find it fascinating that they have endorsed a very young charity. GiveDirectly is less than two years old. After listening to one of their conference calls, I've learned that Givewell believes direct cash transfer requires a lower burden of proof for effectiveness than other interventions (like vaccines, or clean water programs).

Still, endorsing a charity with less than two years of data feels like a big departure from Givewell's work in the past. Essentially, the leadership at Givewell believes in the theory of change behind GiveDirectly and is impressed by the GiveDirectly leadership. This is the same way that most donors and foundations decide on their giving. On a certain level, I don't object to Givewell doing the same. But Givewell has purposely set themselves apart from the wider philanthropic world by claiming a superior evaluation model and process that almost assures their recommended charities do more good with your money than other charities.

It will be interested to follow the response to Givewell's endorsement of GiveDirectly, and I am eager to learn more about the impact of direct money transfers.

-Selfish Blogger

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