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Update on status of reviewing charities for 2008-09 report

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  • Elie Hassenfeld
    This is an update on our status finding and reviewing potential recommended charities for our 2008-09 report. This email deals with charities which focus on
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 22, 2009
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      This is an update on our status finding and reviewing potential recommended charities for our 2008-09 report. This email deals with charities which focus on activities aside from economic empowerment.

      (Economic empowerment is a particularly thorny cause -- in terms of evidence of effectiveness for interventions and the information organizations in the cause make available on their website -- so we're treating it separately.)


      There are currently 44 non-economic empowerment charities we're considering recommending in the upcoming report.

      We've separated the remaining charities into three tiers:
      • Tier 1 (8 organizations): Charities focusing on a) priority interventions (see http://www.givewell.net/files/Analysis/top%20interventions%202009%2002%2003.xls) and b) provide monitoring of their activities on their website. We can more or less review these organizations based on publicly available information without contacting them for more information. 
        • Completed review: 3 organizations (PSI, Stop TB, and The Carter Center)
        • Currently reviewing: 1 organization (GAVI -- some notes on GAVI will follow this email)
        • Waiting to review: 4 organizations (African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), VillageReach, Aravind Eye Care, and Pratham)
      • Tier 2 (20 organizations): Charities focusing on all (or almost all) of their activities on priority interventions but don't provide enough data on their website to review them without further information. 
        • Completed review: 1 organization (Interplast)
        • Contacted already: 6 organizations (Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis, Measles Initiative, Fistula Foundation, Deworm the World, International Council for the Control of Iodine Disorders, and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition)
        • To contact as soon as possible: 1 organization (Tam Tam Africa -- their website is under construction and no contact information is available right now)
        • Waiting to contact: 12 organizations (see Excel file linked below)
      • Tier 3 (16 organizations): Charities that do provide relatively strong monitoring information on their website, but are not working on our priority interventions. We may review these, though we've prioritized organizations above, which work on the interventions we independently identified as most cost-effective. Names are in the Excel file linked below.
      The plan

      Our primary focus now is finalizing the list of charities that we might ultimately review in depth. To that end, we're focusing on contacting the Tier 2 organizations to see what type of information they may be able to share with us (thereby moving them into Tier 1). We've chosen to contact first the 6 organizations that a) we'd guess have the best chance of ultimately receiving a recommendation and b) work on different priority interventions (ideally we'd be able to recommend a charity for multiple priority programs).

      Time permitting, we'll continue to scan more charities to broaden our scope, but we think the process we've used so far is reasonable and we have covered most of our bases.

      Quick note on priority programs

      We've added a couple of interventions to the list in the file linked here (http://www.givewell.net/files/Analysis/top%20interventions%202009%2002%2003.xls) because we think they're (a) potentially more straightforward to monitor than some of the more "vertical" programs with fairly elaborate theories of change; (b) particularly appealing to certain donors.  This doesn't mean that we endorse these interventions at this point, but that we think charities working on them are worth investigating further.  Those new interventions are: a) charities that run homes/shelters for orphans/street children who would otherwise be homeless and b) charities that run local health clinics, an approach similar to Partners in Health.
      Excel file with my work

      Link: http://www.givewell.net/files/DWDA 2009/Analysis/Charity scan 2009 04 22.xls

      This file has details on the charities we're considering. The 'Top non-EE charities' has summary information for the organizations I'm discussing in this email. The 'All charities' tab has information on all charities we've scanned, that I mentioned in this email: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/givewell/message/73

      On the 'Top non-EE charities' tab, columns B:E are probably most useful to look at:
      • Column C is a 2-3 word description of what program the charities runs.
      • Column D provides the current status for that organization (e.g., reviewed, to review, to contact)
      • Column E provides my very rough guess at how likely the charities is to be recommended. (These are rough and are based on my gut instinct, not any formula. We hope to recommend 5-10 charities in this report, so this % is useful in checking whether we're on track to meet that goal.)
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