How we choose high-impact charities to support
Effective Altruism Australia exists to help your resources go further in helping others. As part of this, we provide information and infrastructure for donors to find and fund the most impactful charities.
Here’s how we decide which charities we recommend and support on our website.
Criteria for being a supported charity, nonprofit, or fund
Effective Altruism Australia has three categories of supported charities, nonprofit organisations, and charitable funds:
- Recommended — These options are promoted on our giving recommendations page, and are an excellent starting place for donors looking to give effectively. We are confident they are cost effective within their cause, because they have been investigated by trusted evaluation partners and held to a high standard of cost effectiveness within their cause area.
- Listed — We think these are promising options, and will be of interest to people looking to give effectively. Being listed does not necessarily mean we think these options are less cost effective, just that they don’t meet our criteria (see below) to be on our giving recommendations page.
- Unlisted — We think some effective givers will have good reasons to want to support these charities, but we are not yet confident enough in their cost effectiveness to publicly list them on our site. These options are made available by following a direct link from the organisation itself or by searching for them by name; they won’t otherwise appear on our website.
Below is more detail about each of these categories, the purpose they serve, and their inclusion criteria. Note that, to be a partner charity of EAA in any capacity, the charity must pass EAA’s internal due diligence and compliance processes. These due diligence processes focus on compliance with relevant laws in both Australia and the jurisdictions in which they operate – such as anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing and modern slavery obligations.
Criteria for being recommended
You can find our current list of recommended charities, nonprofits, and funds on our giving recommendations page.
We generally recommend donors to give to funds, because they are managed by experts who work closely with charities to ensure they receive funding in proportion to their need and cost effectiveness.
Our recommendations are chosen because they meet three requirements:
- They are working in one of our high-impact cause areas; and
- They have been investigated by us and one of our trusted charity evaluators, and this investigation showed they met a very high standard of cost effectiveness within their cause area; and
- They pass our other due diligence criteria.
Our goal in making these recommendations is to provide donors with a strong starting place in their effective giving journey. These are charities that we are highly confident are cost effective, transparent and well managed, and have shared publicly available information supporting this. Notably, this excludes charities that may well be extremely cost effective but simply haven’t been investigated by one of our trusted charity evaluators. This means donors who are interested in doing their own research may be able to find even more effective charities.
Criteria for being listed
As well as providing recommendations, we list other very promising charities, nonprofits, and funds. We think that, according to some worldviews, some of these may turn out to be even more effective than our recommendations — so it’s worthwhile to list them publicly so that donors can more easily consider them.
Generally speaking, the following three criteria are sufficient to be listed:
- Has recently been supported by a trusted evaluator or grantmaker — Organisations that have received a grant from one of our trusted evaluators or grantmakers within the last two years; and
- Is actively supported by effective givers — The Effective Altruism Australia community gives this organisation more than $50,000 AUD per year. (Or alternatively, we think that it is likely it will receive more than $50,000 AUD in its first year of being listed.); and
- They pass our other due diligence criteria.
Some charities may not meet the above criteria, but we still think they are worth being given listed status. In such cases, there are several indicators the Effective Altruism Australia team uses to decide whether a charity should be listed, such as:
- Supported by our own research — In some cases, our team will conduct our own in-depth evaluation, or commission or collaborate with trusted partners on research into a charity. If we think the charity meets a sufficiently high standard, will include them as a listed charity (or for exceptional charities, as a recommendation); or
- The charity previously met our recommended criteria — these options may no longer be recommended, but we think that some donors may still have good reasons to support their work.
Criteria for being unlisted
In addition to providing advice on how to give effectively, Effective Altruism Australia also supports the effective giving community more broadly. Our donation platform supports donors by providing many impactful donation options in one place, and it helps organisations receive donations from many donors in Australia. In some cases, there are organisations that don’t yet meet the criteria to be listed prominently on our website, but meet our criteria to be supported by our donation platform. These organisations can be found using direct links (i.e., from the organisations’ own website), but do not otherwise appear on our website.
Generally speaking, meeting all of the following would be sufficient to be added as an unlisted option:
- The charity is within the charitable scope of Effective Altruism Australia and has broad alignment with effective altruism principles (i.e., the charity works on a pressing problem and takes a reasonably promising approach),
- There is no major risk of accidental harm, and
- Effective Altruism Australia expects the charity to receive at least $50,000 AUD in the first year through our platform.
We actively monitor whether charities should retain their unlisted status. The requirements to remain as an unlisted charity on our donation platform:
- All of the above criteria, except that the last criterion is instead: The charity received a total of at least $50,000 during the last two years through our platform.