The 4 best charities in the world -- and how much you should give to each

If your altruistic side is compelling you to donate to charity, but you can’t decide which one is most deserving, GiveWell can help.

The nonprofit charity evaluator performs exhaustive amounts of research to determine which charities deserve people’s money the most. Each year, GiveWell ranks the top charities in the world based on a few criteria: how effective the given solution is, how well the charity implements that solution, and whether it needs the money in the first place.

Most charities are fairly well-funded, GiveWell tells Tech Insider. Only a handful end up meeting all three criteria. And since low-income areas deal with the greatest threats to residents’ livelihoods, many of the charities GiveWell ranks the highest do work in those regions.

This year, GiveWell’s rankings selected four charities that rose above the rest in meeting the criteria.

For convenience’s sake, let’s assume you have $US1,000 you’d like to donate. Here’s how much GiveWell says you should give to each of the top charities:

4. Deworm the World Initiative – $US70

The Deworm the World Initiative assists government-run programs in schools to strengthen deworming efforts. Most often that relies on pills, which kill the intestinal parasite that enters kids’ bodies through unsanity conditions in soil or water.

DtWI’s main goal is advocating and supporting the programs that deliver kids those pills. GiveWell estimates children can be dewormed for about $US0.30 per child all in with DtWI’s help, or $US0.09 per child if the cost excludes “the value of teachers’ and principals’ time spent on the program.”

“Even for small amounts of money you’re still giving pills to children,” says Sean Conley, a research analyst at GiveWell, “which seem to be making a very big difference in their lives later on.”

3. Schistosomiasis Control Initiative – $US130

Roughly 240 million people live with parasitic worm infections, and 90% of those cases occur in just 20 countries.

Thankfully, GiveWell finds that approximately $US1.23 can rid a child of these worms.

“This cost is based on several difficult-to-estimate inputs including (a) how to account for donated drugs and (b) the portion of costs paid for by the governments with which SCI works,” GiveWell states. The cost is several times greater than DtWI’s cost because SCI deals primarily in regions where the deadliest worms are more prevalent, typically in sub-Saharan Africa.

Few countries are wealthy enough to create the infrastructure on their own. SCI is so valuable because the ceiling for support is so high.

2. GiveDirectly – $US130

GiveDirectly makes good on its name, becauase its entire mission is giving cash to people who need it in Kenya and Uganda.

“We believe that this approach faces an unusually low burden of proof,” GiveWell states, “and that the available evidence supports the idea that unconditional cash transfers significantly help people.”

Essentially, GiveDirectly takes the model of giving a beggar on the street your money and reassures donors their money is being used for basic needs, not booze or drugs. Money most often goes toward durable goods like furniture and clothes, healthcare, education, and food.

Though there were no observable changes to people’s stress levels, research showed their psychological well-beings rose substantially after receiving the donations.

More good news for donors: GiveDirectly absorbs little for overhead. Approximately 87% of donations go directly to a family in poverty.

1. Against Malaria Foundation – $US670

Easily the most threatening disease to kids in low-income countries is malaria. Approximately 600,000 people die every year as a result of malaria infection, and the only vaccine that’s been approved won’t reach patients until 2017.

AMF avoids the curative route and instead opts for treatment. To do that, they use insecticide-treated bed nets — mesh tarps that drape over kids’ beds and kill mosquitoes as they attempt to enter.

GiveWell finds through its research that, based on malaria’s prevalence and the low cost of distributing bed nets, AMF is far and away the charity most deserving of people’s dollars.

For roughly $US1.50, one bed net can extend a person’s life by one year. If you’re feeling especially generous, however, GiveWell recommends a donation of $US3,340. It might seem like a lot, but you’d be saving an entire life.

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