GiveDirectly makes unconditional cash transfers to people living in extreme poverty.

What is GiveDirectly's mission?

GiveDirectly's mission is to help people living in extreme poverty by sending unconditional cash transfers. They believe that "people living in poverty deserve the dignity to choose for themselves how best to improve their lives --- cash enables that choice."

What does GiveDirectly do?

  • GiveDirectly makes cash transfers to recipients using mobile-phone-based payment systems.
  • Recipients can collect their funding from local mobile money agents.
  • People can spend the money on whatever they wish. After all, presumably those best placed to know what people living in extreme poverty need are the people themselves.
  • GiveDirectly is testing a basic income program for which they're distributing cash to recipients for up to 12 years. They are collecting data on the impact of this program compared to controls.
  • After a successful pilot study, GiveDirectly is testing the impact of giving large cash payments to refugees in Uganda.
  • In 2020, GiveDirectly began sending cash relief to those affected by the pandemic in the U.S. and Africa.

Why do we recommend GiveDirectly?

  • GiveDirectly's program is evidence-based. They provide an overview of extant research on cash transfers and have conducted their own research.
  • GiveWell --- an independent charity evaluator --- recommends GiveDirectly as a top charity. According to their review, GiveDirectly has a strong track record and ensures that its cash transfers reach people in need. They say that GiveDirectly has a "standout" level of transparency.
  • Open Philanthropy offered GiveDirectly a $2.5 million grant for general support. We consider this a vote of confidence from an organisation we trust.
  • GiveWell estimates that GiveDirectly could use about $350 million more than it's expected to raise over the next several years.

To learn more about GiveDirectly, we recommend reading GiveWell’s detailed review.

Fast Facts

  • GiveDirectly makes unconditional cash transfers to people in extreme need.
  • According to GiveDirectly’s research, their recipients spend the money on essentials like medicine, farmed animals, school fees, clean water, solar lights, tin roofs, irrigation, and more.
  • GiveDirectly is funded by individual donors, foundations, businesses, and institutions.
  • Since 2019, they’ve delivered more than $300 million to more than 500,000 families in extreme poverty.