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Will_Sawin comments on Efficient Charity: Do Unto Others... - Less Wrong

130 Post author: Yvain 24 December 2010 09:26PM

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Comment author: Will_Sawin 25 December 2010 05:15:48PM 4 points [-]

"we may use these funds for operating expenses or grants to charities, at our discretion" (source: http://www.givewell.org/about/donate ) This does not imply "we will treat the charities fairly" at all. It implies nothing about the numerical split.

My quick attempt to find charity navigator's favorite charities: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=topten.detail&listid=100 There are several universities drowning in money on this list. That does not sound very efficient. Looking for an explanation, they seem to care too much about % operating expenses and so on, and not enough about real impact.

Doing the same for GiveWell (looking at US to make it more comparable): http://www.givewell.org/united-states/top-charities We have two charities. Both are evaluated based on marginal impact and measured effectiveness. The second, KIPP, is an extremely "cool" program.

Conclusion: It appears as though GiveWell recommends more efficient charities with better criteria. GiveWell also seems to behave in a manner that sounds better to Internet geeks, for example with their mistake list. This is sufficient explanation for their Internet popularity.