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GiveWell (re-)recommendation

We’re thrilled that GiveWell has listed us as one of their top recommended charities once again this year. It’s not an easy mountain to climb: GiveWell reviews hundreds of organizations in unbelievable depth, and recommends very few – this year, only four. I’m grateful to my teammates here at GiveDirectly, as their strong performance is what earned us this recognition.

GiveWell has and will continue to be crucial for our growth and influence. Although what we do is firmly grounded in rigorous evidence, it also flies in the face of the memes and stereotypes that donors often hear (“teach a man to fish…”). Having an objective third-party evaluator like GiveWell around means that those donors have a trustworthy voice to turn to when they need to resolve that kind of cognitive dissonance. Indeed, we estimate that roughly 45% of our total revenue currently comes from donors whose choice was influenced by GiveWell. For retail donors for whom we have referral info, GiveWell has influenced approximately 65% of revenue. The Good Ventures foundation in particular has announced a $5M grant in recognition of the GiveWell rating – we gratefully acknowledge this and look forward to delivering the money to the poor.

We have work to do in 2015 to continue demonstrating our impact to GiveWell and others. In part this means even more evidence on the direct impact that cash transfers have on our recipients, which we’ll be doing through an ambitious slate of impact evaluations. But we also want our work to have ripple effects throughout the development world. Next year’s evaluations will generate evidence that could re-shape the way governments design their own transfer programs – hundreds of billions of dollars worth of annual spending. And we want to raise the bar for transparency in our sector by a big notch. We’re now publishing our own internal performance numbers on our landing page in real time, and making the raw data available for download. We’re looking to donors to vote with their dollars if they want to see more of this from NGOs.