How Charities Use Data to Save Lives

Philanthropic organizations have been put under the microscope lately as people who actively donate want more transparency into where their donations are going. Direct giving is a practice that approaches philanthropy with that exact purpose and, naturally, more and more foundations are starting to participate.

The premise behind GiveWell and other like organizations is that they provide transparency to the donation process. GiveWell vets charities who may receive their grants through a strict application process. Not only has GiveWell created a library of worthy charities, it also helps donors decide where they’ll contribute based around GiveWell’s analysis.

Effective Altruism doesn’t only create a positive trend just for impoverished communities, it also does so for the entire business of philanthropy.

How GiveWell got started and established

GiveWell is arguably the most prominent nonprofit involved in the development of emerging markets and a notable proponent of effective altruism. GiveWell specializes in giving contributors the best opportunities and details so that they can donate where they see the best fit. Their organization has put a priority on conducting deep research into the impact of programs; measured by the lives they’ve saved and communities they’ve changed per dollar spent. But GiveWell only deals with the most notable charities so that donors give to the best of the best.

GiveWell’s intent is to analyze charities by quantifying their effectiveness so that donors have the most insight when giving. Started as a group of donors, this nonprofit began with giving founders who wanted their charitable efforts to be put towards good use.

The organization’s top charities influence some of the most effective initiatives – Against Malaria Foundation, GiveDirectly, and Deworm the World Initiative are just a few under GiveWell’s direction. These charities allow GiveWell donors to contribute towards different causes or through different methods of donation. Take GiveDirectly for example, their charity allows cash transfers to households in developing countries through a mobile phone payment service. But GiveDirectly is only one of the many effective programs under the umbrella.

Although GiveWell is one of the founding fathers of this type of nonprofit, it supports a much bigger cause in effective altruism.

Effective Altruism

The quickly growing social movement, effective altruism, is a household name in the nonprofit community. The ideology focuses on charitable giving guided by data. Effective Altruist organizations & projects have the goal of making a massive and efficient impact, something that GiveWell and other nonprofits perpetuate well.

The effect altruism approach has reached a handful of peaks that have amounted in bettered lives and improved communities worldwide. Over $10M in funds raised for direct cash transfers to individuals living in impoverished countries via GiveWell and GiveDirectly’s services. That accomplishment is matched by five others of that caliber that attend to funding for deworming of school kids, global poverty interventions and more honorable causes.

EA organizations fight to make charitable morality more effective and impactful. Bringing a data analysis approach to charities shows donors where their money is actually impacting the causes at hand. The philanthropic landscape is moving more towards this method as it presents a better use of funds in a more streamlined process.