Our Evaluation Framework
The research team is hard at work developing an adaptive charity evaluation framework that will be used to identify effective charities working in different cause areas, geographies, and with different approaches to creating impact. This framework will form the basis for The Life You Can Save’s ongoing due diligence for our recommended charities. Moreover, it will be used to identify a wider range of great charities that are addressing the urgent needs of those living in extreme poverty. This will give current donors more choice and more ability to give how they want, while remaining confident that they are supporting some of the best organizations out there. And by expanding the set of choices we offer, we hope to bring in new donors who are passionate about particular causes so we can guide them to give better in those cause areas.
The core features of the framework are intuitive: we will focus on problems that are important, tractable, and neglected in the space of global poverty and wellbeing, and draw on scientific evidence and research by other charity evaluators such as GiveWell, Founders Pledge, Giving Green, Happier Lives Institute, Charity Navigator and others to identify cost-effective nonprofits working on impactful interventions to solve these problems. In this effort, we will track a range of metrics including:
- The core outcomes the nonprofit aims to change, such as improving health and wellbeing, improving livelihood and economic opportunity, reducing preventable deaths, tackling climate change;
- The target populations the nonprofit aims to serve, such as children, women and girls, people with disabilities, the general public;
- The strength of scientific evidence behind the impact potential of a proposed intervention, as judged by meta-analyses and research by other evaluators;
- The main approaches the nonprofit takes to achieve these changes — from directly providing services, to helping the public and private sector scale effective interventions, to pushing for large-scale systems change through advocacy — and each approach’s risk and potential scale of impact;
- Estimates of the nonprofit’s impact on core outcomes, based on the most rigorous evidence applicable to its intervention, ranging from randomized controlled trials to quasi-experimental approaches to case studies, peer reviews, and assessments by sector experts;
- Cost-effectiveness analyses of the nonprofit, using the most rigorous approaches and impact metrics applicable to the intervention;
- The nonprofit’s commitment to integrity, transparency, learning, and innovation, based on its track record, peer reviews and sector experts.
To do this effectively, the framework will need to work across a wide range of outcomes and impact metrics, and incorporate approaches with different levels of uncertainty, scale and standards of evidence. We hope that it will complement the work of other evaluators in the space and be a public resource for others.