What makes a charity effective?
We consider research from independent charity evaluators and academia to identify the very best projects to support. We use the work of GiveWell, The Open Philanthropy Project and The Life You Can Save. We further review whether the work of each highly recommended charities is in line with our purpose, and ensure our partnership would be beneficial within the landscape of Australian charitable giving.
In order to identify the most highly effective charities, we use the following four criteria:
Estimated intervention effectiveness
The effectiveness of an intervention depends on the certainty with which it can be linked to positive outcomes. To ensure that all charities we support are reliably creating positive social outcomes, we focus on those that have been studied rigorously and have an experimentally demonstrated track record.
Estimated impact per dollar
The impact of each dollar donated depends on the goods and services which can be purchased for those in need. Given that commodities and services can often be provided more cheaply overseas, this generally leads us to partner with charities working outside of Australia. Even among organisations working in developing countries however, there is a vast difference between the most cost-effective and the least.
Charities must provide access to their data and internal operations in order to be thoroughly evaluated on their effectiveness. To provide confidence in our evaluations, we only work with those charities that are willing to maintain high levels of transparency and undergo thorough vetting of their programs.
Room for more funding
Even an extremely effective charity may not be a good candidate for additional donations, depending on its capacity for growth. We ask the question: Is a charity able to absorb more donations and scale up its operations, or is it near its capacity limit, meaning additional donations wouldn’t help much in the short term?
While we apply these criteria specifically to improving the lives of humans in the near-term (by reducing poverty, improving global health and economic development), the broader effective altruism movement is concerned with lived experiences of all living creatures (including animals) both now and into the far future.
For a cause-diverse view of effective giving we highly recommend Giving What We Can’s list of the best charities and donation recommendations across multiple causes and guide on how to evaluate charities across different causes.