[LINKS] New GiveWell Top Charities

by jefftk1 min read29th Nov 201115 comments

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GiveWell
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As of today, GiveWell has two new top charities:

1. Against Malaria Foundation

2. Schistosomiastis Control Initiative

Their previous top charity, Village Reach, no longer has much room for more funding.  Which is a good thing: partly through givewell's influence they now have as much money as they can put to good use.

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Their previous top charity, Village Reach, no longer has much room for more funding. Which is a good thing

And implies honesty as well - hard to imagine a charity saying, 'no, we're actually pretty good for funding right now'.

Which means that if they do request funding in the future, there's more of a reason to give it to them.

Not necessarily. They were unable to convince givewell they could make comparably effective use of additional money. They make have come out and explicitly said "we're fine for the next year", but I don't see givewell saying they did.

It sounds like they did:

Note that last year’s top-rated charity, VillageReach, does not have projected short-term funding needs (it expects to be able to meet these needs with funds not driven by GiveWell), as discussed previously.

It expects, not GiveWell expects. But hey, why argue about it? I've just asked.

There's now one of those donation-matching pledges: http://new.thebiggive.org.uk/projects/view/13157

Can someone less lazy than me check to see how often they get the full amount? If they do, it doesn't do anything for the marginal donation, so it stops mattering.

I don't understand your question; are you wondering whether you should give through the donation-matching pledge or about whether you should give to AMF or SCI at all?

No, I'm wondering exactly how much more valuable the donation-matching pledge is than giving directly. If you'd rather do something else with the money than donate it directly (such as hold on to it to see if you can find something better), but you don't think that would be twice as good as giving directly, it would be important to know exactly how useful the donation match is.

It seems very unlikely to me that the expected value of donating to SCI is precisely between 1/2 and 1 times as high as the best alternative.

If you know that you can donate to SCI later, the expected utility of waiting would have to be at least that of donating to it now. Certain things can cause it to decrease a little. If there's a small probability of finding something better, it would increase it slightly beyond this. If it's slight enough, it's less than twice as good.

If you know that you can donate to SCI later, the expected utility of waiting would have to be at least that of donating to it now.

Why? Because you can invest the money and use the investment to donate more later? But donating more now increases the recipients' functionality so that they're able to contribute more to their respective societies in the than they would otherwise be able to in the time between now and later.

If you can donate it to SCI later, the value of that donation gives a lower bound. You also might be able to donate to something else you find.

I misread your earlier comment, sorry for the useless response. I understand where you're coming from now. Holden has written about the possibility of efficient opportunities for donors drying up as the philanthropic sector improves, suggesting that it might be best to help now because the poor people who can be easily helped are around today and will not be in the future. See this mailing list post.

I personally think that even if this is true probably true, the expected value of waiting to give later is higher than the expected value of donating to AMF or SCI now. But I might give to AMF or SCI in the near future to maintain the sense of being an active donor.

I misread your earlier comment, sorry for the useless response.

The response wasn't useless. If you misread it, you're probably not alone. Now that I replied to your comment, it's easier to understand.

You're probably best off giving now once you understand everything, but you obviously can't just give to the first charity you can find. You have to do enough research that the expected decrease in utility from donating later exactly balances the expected increase from better research.

Givewell doesn't think you should let donation matching affect your giving.

I seem to remember estimates of $500 per life saved for Village Reach, and AMF estimates about $2,000 per life saved. Was Village Reach abnormally cheap, or what changed? (Did I misremember the Village Reach numbers?)