Here’s the dilemma: You only have $25 to give to charity. How do you do the most good with it? One non-profit tells you which charities stretch your dollars as far as they can go.
Charity evaluator GiveWell determines the cost-effectiveness of charities and recommends only a handful each year based on transparency, evidence of success and if they serve the global poor. It also considers whether a charity needs additional funding.
All of these factors work together to create a tool that recommends “where you can have the most impact with your donation,” says GiveWell outreach associate Catherine Hollander.
GiveWell doesn’t recommend charities that do work in the U.S. because money does more overseas, says Hollander. Problems in developing countries can often be solved with money, while issues in the U.S. are more complicated and expensive.
However, GiveWell doesn’t discourage giving to charities that aren’t on its list, but recommends due diligence and research before donating. “Be proactive in giving and not reactive,” Hollander says.
Below are the four charities that GiveWell believes your money could deliver the most impact, plus four standout charities that didn’t make the cut.
1. Against Malaria Foundation
Purpose: Provides long-lasting insecticidal nets to people at risk of malaria, primarily in developing countries in Africa.
Why it’s recommended: GiveWell says there’s strong evidence the nets reduce child mortality and malaria cases. The organization also needs more money and is transparent in how it spends donations.
What you get for $25: At approximately $5.31 per net, your donation will buy almost five nets. That includes the purchase, distribution and follow up.
2. Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI)
Purpose: Works with governments in sub-Saharan Africa to treat schistosomiasis, a commonly neglected tropical disease caused by parasitic worms, by deworming children.
Why it’s recommended: GiveWell says there’s strong evidence that massive deworming reduces infections. The organization has a positive track record for demonstrated success in starting and expanding national programs. It also needs additional funding to deliver more treatments, especially among adults.
What you get for $25: The cost of treating one child is $1.26, so your donation will deworm nearly 20 children.
3. Deworm the World Initiative led by Evidence Action
Purpose: Works with governments worldwide to develop school-led deworming programs.
Why it’s recommended: Deworming has been proven to be an effective treatment against infections. The organization has a strong process to monitor the success of its programs and has been highly transparent. The organization needs more funds to deliver more treatments.
What you get for $25: The cost of treating one child is 80 cents, so your donation will deworm 31 children. That includes the cost of donated drugs and the value of time spent by teachers and principals on the program.
Purpose: Makes direct cash transfers to people living in extreme poverty via a mobile phone-linked payment service.
Why it’s recommended: The charity has a strong process that ensures that donation go directly to recipients. There is also room for more funding and the organization is committed to self-evaluation.
What you get for $25: Recipients receive 85 percent of donations, so $21.25 will go directly to a recipient. The rest covers enrollment costs, transfer costs, follow-up costs, and core operations.
5. Other Standout Charities
Development Media International, Iodine Global Network, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and Living Goods all made GiveWell’s standout list. These organizations do substantial and impressive work, but GiveWell has unresolved issues with each—such as questionable program effectiveness—that prevent them from making the top four.