2024 Inclusion criteria

How do we decide which charities to include on our platform?

7 min read
1 Mar 2024

Our mission at Giving What We Can is to create a culture of giving significantly and effectively. As part of this, we provide information and infrastructure for donors to find and fund the most impactful charities.

Giving What We Can retains full rights to add or remove organisations at any point from the platform or change their status, at the discretion of the Giving What We Can research team.

This page explains the different types of programs we list on our donation platform and our reasons for doing so.

For a more general overview of how we approach our charity recommendations, see our Research & Approach page.


  • Supported programs: All of the programs you can support via Giving What We Can's donation platform; this includes both our recommended charities/funds and other supported programs.
  • Recommended: Supported programs that we recommend to donors. We are confident these are highly cost-effective, vetted options within high-impact cause areas.
  • Other supported programs: These are programs that you can donate to via our donation platform, but which we don't currently include on our list of recommendations. These programs do work in a promising cause area and take a reasonably promising approach (based on publicly-available information).

We base our recommendations on the research of impact-focused evaluators our research team has vetted. You can see more about why and how we evaluate evaluators here.

We currently only recommend charities and funds that a vetted evaluator has also recommended. We expect to evaluate more evaluators soon, which will likely mean we'll be adding to our recommendations.

Our goal in making these recommendations is to provide donors with an overview of some of the highest-impact donation opportunities we know of across a range of worldviews. These are organisations that generally have publicly available evidence and/or reasoning supporting their cost-effectiveness.

Notably, this excludes charities that may well be extremely cost-effective but simply haven’t been investigated by an evaluator we've vetted.

We do not accept requests from organisations looking to be included on our list of recommendations.

We do not accept payments or charge fees to organisations that we include on our list of recommendations. We are here to help donors do the most good through their giving.

Other supported programs

We think some effective givers will have good reasons to want to donate to these options, but we are not yet confident enough in their cost-effectiveness to include them as recommendations. These programs align with our charitable purpose in that they are doing work in a high-impact cause area and taking a reasonably promising approach. We include them for a variety of reasons, including to support donors by providing many impactful donation options in one place, and to support the effective giving ecosystem as a whole — by allowing organisations to receive support from many donors across the world. While the research team maintains complete discretion to decide whether to support a program, we generally consider:

Value to the platform — Is there sufficient evidence that this organisation is a highly impactful donation option and/or does it contribute meaningfully to the Effective Giving ecosystem?

Value from the platform — Will this organisation receive enough support from donors such that the benefits outweigh the costs of hosting the program on the donation platform?

In most cases, this means that we prioritise programs that meet at least two of the following four criteria:

1. Sufficient level of support by impact-focused evaluators.

2. Adds an option that the research team believes could be the most cost-effective to a donor according to a plausible worldview.

3. Is an impact-focused evaluator or otherwise contributes to the effective giving ecosystem in an important way.

4. ~$50k USD + per year expected to be raised through the GWWC donation platform.

Note that a program could be supported based on a wide range of circumstances, and as such, we expect there to be significant impact variations among our "other supported programs." You can read more about each program on the program's dedicated page.

We do not accept payments or charge fees to organisations that we include on our platform. We are here to help donors do the most good through their giving.

All supported programs must:

  • Fit within Giving What We Can's charitable scope and have broad alignment with effective altruism principles (i.e. the charity works on a pressing problem and takes a reasonably promising approach). The research team is responsible for reviewing this, and may pay attention to:
    • The evidence supporting the program’s approach.
    • Whether the program has been supported by our evaluation partners, or other impact focused grantmaking organisations.
  • Follow best practices such that there is no major risk of accidental harm from supporting the organisation.
  • Expect to receive at least $25,000 USD in the next year through our platform (as we need to ensure the costs of retaining them on our platform don't outweigh the benefits).

We have temporarily stopped accepting applications from new programs, as we undergo some changes to our organisational structure.

Why do the programs included on the Giving What We Can donation platform sometimes change?

We may remove programs from our donation platform if they no longer meet our inclusion criteria, or in other extenuating circumstances, at the discretion of the research team. The program’s balance will be calculated and paid out in full, and Giving What We Can will work with the program for a smooth transition.

If a donor has set up a recurring donation to a program that will no longer be available, we will make every effort to find a similar program available on the platform to switch the donations to, reach out to the donor to inform them of our choice (which they are free to change!), and in some cases inform them of potential alternatives they may wish to consider.

Our general approach for how we choose which program we switch donations to:

  • If the program is housed in one of our high-impact cause areas, we switch donations to the relevant cause area fund. We do this because:
    • These funds are intended to be default giving options for donors who want to support that cause area.
    • The relevant cause area fund is therefore among our best guess for the best available option to a donor who has supported a program within that cause area.
    • An alternative approach would be to try to find the most structurally similar program, and simply pick that. We strongly considered this, but decided against it because:
      • It’s not clear that this would best reflect the donor’s preference. For example, perhaps they donated to program X because evaluator Y found it to be cost-effective, but since then, evaluator Y has discovered X is not as effective (or they found Z, which is even more effective).
      • It can be very difficult to arbitrate how similar is similar enough; additionally, there are often multiple structurally similar programs so choosing only one of these can be somewhat arbitrary. Meanwhile, the policy we chose above has less grey area, and therefore has less potential for arbitrariness.
    • We think it’s important to note that Giving What We Can does not benefit from donations made to our cause area funds – they are merely a collection of the charities and programs we already offer on the website. (For example, our Global Health & Development Fund currently grants directly to giving opportunities selected by GiveWell.)
  • If the program is outside of one of the core cause areas in which we actively maintain giving recommendations (and thus we don’t have a relevant cause area fund) we will make every effort to select another similar program.

This is our current approach, but, as with the rest of the inclusion criteria, this may change at any time.

Can you recommend or support my charity?

We do not accept requests from organisations looking to be recommended. We have also stopped accepting applications for new supported programs as we undergo some changes to our organisational structure (see above).

Giving What We Can does not take any fees from donors using our platform or from charities listed on our platform. We are independently funded to promote our mission of making giving effectively and significantly a cultural norm. Read more on our transparency page.