[Linkpost] GiveWell money moved in 2020 - up by 60%!

Linking a post from the GiveWell blog on the amount of money they moved in 2020.

Some notable stats:

  • GiveWell donors contributed over $240 million to our recommended charities in 2020, a 60% increase from the approximately $150 million directed in 2019.

  • GiveWell raised $43.6 million in unrestricted funding in 2020, compared to $19 million in 2019. GiveWell’s total operating expenses in 2020 were $8.5 million.

    • Seems like GiveWell is having no trouble fundraising! In the full metrics report they write: In July 2021, GiveWell’s Board of Directors voted to reallocate $25.8 million in unrestricted funds to making grants at GiveWell’s discretion.

    • I wonder how much they’re considering expanding or scaling up their research/​team in light of this funding. They have two open posts for senior researchers but I wonder how many of each they’ll be planning to hire.

Some related thoughts:

  • Ben Todd recently saying that GiveWell top charities (besides GiveDirectly) don’t have too much room for more finding. If this is true when GiveWell were moving $160m/​year, seems like it’ll only be exacerbated if GiveWell is moving $240m/​year.

  • The funding gap for GiveWell top charities excluding GiveDirectly was $73.2m as of July 2021 and $455.5m for GiveDirectly. Seems like GiveWell might have substantially filled the funding gap for their top charities excluding GiveDirectly so I wonder what the implications of this are going forward.

  • Does this mean we should spend a lot more trying to find near-termist interventions of similar effectiveness to AMF e.g. scale up GiveWell, Rethink Priorities (Global Health & Development team), etc. as fast as we can? Although it seems like Rethink Priorities is expanding fairly fast and I can imagine the same for GiveWell so there could be a management/​recruitment bottleneck.

  • If the above organisation’s expansion is limited by their ability to recruit or manage new staff, could this be incentive for new organisations to start who do near-termist charity/​intervention/​cause research? There could be an argument that new organisations would bring a different approach or set of assumptions to the work that encourages healthy competition. Plus it does seem like people think more prioritisation research could be useful. The downside is possible duplication of work but I think this is outweighed by the potential benefits of finding new AMF-like opportunities.

  • To what degree do we lower the funding bar and try to fill the funding gap for GiveDirectly or wait until research discovers opportunities on par/​close to AMF’s cost-effectiveness? I get the impression that people most concerned about global health and development don’t want to invest or put aside money to help people later on so lowering the bar seems possible. In practice, I assume it’ll be a bit of both but I’m curious how the allocation of funds would look like e.g. 50% of surplus funding after GiveWell top charities are fully funded goes towards GiveDirectly and the other 50% is invested.

  • Is there a case for funding the standout charities that GiveWell no longer recommends?