Leverage Factor

It is difficult to evaluate a growing organization such as GiveWell, because the fruits of work performed today may not be seen until the future, such as is GiveWell's current work on the Open Philanthropy Project. As a simplifying assumption we assume that the benefits from one year's expenses are born out by the fruits of the following year.

GiveWell publishes an annual money moved report:

Money moved 2014 Estimated leverage factor Economic value in Western terms Notes
Against Malaria Foundation $9.5m 2,500 - 20,000 $24b - $190b
GiveDirectly $9.1m 20 $180m Substantially less than money spent on healthcare; healthcare spending is about targeting those individuals where an intervention might save a life; cash grants spread wealth more broadly
Schistosomiasis Control Initiative $6.4m 1,100 $7.0b
Deworm the World $1.1m 1,100 $1.2b
Other $1.7m 20 - 20,000 $35m - $24b Guess somewhere in the range of other interventions above
Total $28m - $32b - $230b

This allows us to produce the following estimate.

Project Cost Real world outcome Outcome estimates Economic value in Western terms
GiveWell $870k $28m moved to recommended charities Expenses from 2013 990; assume money moved would otherwise have gone to charities with a much lower leverage factor, so no need to evaluate the counterfactual in detail $32b-230b
Leverage Factor

40,000 - 250,000