FAQ

Why do you recommend charities?

Not all charities are made the same. One of the best ways to help people give effectively is to provide suggestions of charities that have been rigorously demonstrated to be impactful, cost-effective, and transparent. When you donate to one of our recommended charities, you can be sure that your donation will go to the people who need it most. We also provide succinct overviews of these charities and links to additional resources donors can use to make informed giving decisions.

How does Providentia make its charity selections?

Our charity selection process rests on two pillars. The first is a "Panel of Experts" we've formed, comprised of members who are value-aligned with our mission and offer a variety of informed perspectives on the charity selection problem. The second is the excellent charity evaluation work already being done by other organizations, most notably GiveWell and ImpactMatters. By aggregating research from multiple evaluators, and having our Panel provide an extra layer of scrutiny, we aim to offer donors outstanding opportunities across a variety of causes. You can learn more about our charity selection methodology here.

Is Providentia a credible resource?

Leading philanthropists and thinkers have endorsed Providentia as a valuable resource for highly conscious donors. The Providentia’s founder is also widely recognized as a key figure in the quickly growing effective altruism movement, which encourages individuals to give a portion of their income to effective charity.

Are donations to your recommended charities tax deductible?

U.S.-based donors can make tax-deductible donations to all our recommended charities with the exception of the Fred Hollows Foundation. Eligible UK donors can claim Gift Aid by donating to D-Rev, Fistula Foundation, Innovations for Poverty Action, Seva and Village Enterprise through The Life You Can Save UK.

Many of our recommended charities are tax-deductible in other countries as well. For more information, check out our comprehensive tax-deductible list. You can also filter our list to see organizations that are tax-deductible where you live by clicking the "Help Me Choose" button on our charity recommendations page.

Do all the charities on your list actually save lives?

Many of our recommended charities have programs that avert fatalities that would otherwise happen. For instance, numerous studies show that malaria interventions, such as those run by Against Malaria Foundation and Population Services International, reduce child mortality.

However, we don't believe that averting fatalities is the only important measure of our charities’ success, and we are confident that all of our recommended charities have a profound positive impact in the lives of their beneficiaries. Restoring vision to a blind person through a cataract surgery or eradicating parasitic worms from a village are just two examples of the type of life-transforming work our charities do.

Should overhead (a charity’s administrative costs) affect where I donate?

We believe that "overhead ratio" is a highly problematic measure of a charity’s effectiveness. In his 2013 TedTalk, activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta argues that equating frugality with morality is a limiting way of measuring non-profit effectiveness. The biggest problem with this metric is that it completely ignores how much good a charity's programs accomplish, and even whether they accomplish any good at all.

We encourage donors to think about the cost-effectiveness of their gifts: how many people can be helped and how much those lives will be improved from a donation of a particular size. To read more about the overhead myth, read GuideStar’s open letter to donors here and Rickard Vickstrom's blog for us on this topic here.

Doesn't the government already give plenty of foreign aid?

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals encourage all developed nations to allocate 0.7% of their gross national income to overseas development assistance — that's 70 cents in every $100. For comparison, this is less than the credit card fee many consumers barely notice when paying for overseas purchases. Few countries have reached that target.

How can I afford to donate to charities when my family and I have so many needs to pay for?

Even very small amounts of money can make a big difference in the lives of people living in extreme poverty. It costs less than a dollar per year to protect a child from parasitic worms or to give a young mother access to clean drinking water for her family. Our Impact Calculator will let you see for yourself how even small gifts can make a significant difference in people's lives.

Many people who live in affluent countries don't realize how their incomes compare to the rest of the world. In 2013, the average U.S. household income was $51,939. A family of four with that annual income would be still be in the richest 9.8 percent of the world’s population with an income more than 12 times the global average.

I’ve donated. How else can I help?

A particularly easy way to let your friends and family know about the causes you care about is to ask for donations to your favorite charity in lieu of birthday or holiday gifts. We've got all the resources you need to turn your next birthday or holiday season into a fundraiser.

Another great way to have these conversations is to organize a Giving Game for your friends. This approach will help you raise questions about effective giving for your friends without coming across like you know all the answers.

This website uses cookies to help us give you the best experience when you visit our website. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies. OK