Thresholds for Charity Evaluators

The Life You Can Save’s Panel of Experts has designated two organizations as “Approved Evaluators”: GiveWell and ImpactMatters.

GiveWell conducts detailed analysis to identify the best giving opportunities for donors who want to help people suffering in extreme poverty. GiveWell’s evaluations are extremely thorough, and the organization applies a very high standard in its recommendations. As such, a “Top Charity” or “Standout Charity” recommendation from GiveWell constitutes a passing grade.

ImpactMatters provides recommendations based on in-depth “impact audits” of nonprofits, and reports ratings along multiple dimensions. The Panel has defined thresholds along each of these dimensions for accepting an ImpactMatters recommendation. These are detailed in the table below.

Minimum criteria for accepting IM recommendation:

  • Relevance to mission – Beneficiaries living in extreme poverty
  • Quality of Impact Evidence – 2 star (“validation” or “scaling” stage; 3 star (“design” stage)
  • Quality of monitoring systems – 2 star
  • Learning and iteration – 2 star
  • (Cost of) Impact – All recommendations must offer outstanding “bang for the buck” in the Panel’s estimation. The more similar a prospective recommendation is to other organizations on our list, the more it must offer comparable cost-effectiveness.