Making your giving go further
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If you’d like to achieve more by basing your giving decisions on sound evidence, please get in touch.
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Effective giving is based on evidence
What we do
Giving Evidence is a consultancy and campaign promoting giving based on sound evidence. Founded by Caroline Fiennes, we advise donors - large and small - to improve their giving. We also do research and recommend ways to improve the giving system as a whole; and we speak and write in the press.

How evidence can help you achieve more
Some charities achieve 25 times more than others do. Some ways of giving create twice as much work as other ways. Wouldn’t it be great if we consistently found those high-performing options?
This is Giving Evidence’s work: enabling donors to achieve more by making decisions on sound evidence.
Typhoon Haiyan: how to respond intelligently
Donors: Cheat! Quicker than analysing charities yourself is to piggyback on analysis already done by somebody reliable. The Skoll Foundation is recommending Gawad Kalinga for reasons given here.
Charities: Tell! It’s hard to make data-driven decisions if data are missing, so please publish what you’re doing and planning so work doesn’t get duplicated. With others, Giving Evidence talked about this in The Economist and the Financial Times.
Medical practitioners: High-quality evidence for you is here, provided by Evidence Aid, part of The Cochrane Collaboration focused on medical care after disasters and emergencies.
Good charities have high admin costs!
As a smart donor, you’ve probably rumbled that low admin costs don’t indicate that a charity is good. Giving Evidence has produced the first ever data on this hot topic. They show that strong charities spend more on admin (also called overheads or core costs) than weaker ones do, contrary to popular opinion.
Learning from medicine, the probable leaders in using evidence
Medicine deals with evidence more seriously and more systematically than most disciplines (even collecting evidence on whether teaching it changes anything). So let’s learn from it. Giving Evidence has a major project to understand medicine’s ‘evidence system’: how evidence is produced, disseminated, used, and what aids and hinders each stage. We’re currently looking at how those lessons translate to education in less developed countries. The work’s summarised here: please contact
Don’t settle for low-quality evidence
Organisations produce low-quality evidence if they can get away with it. The Paul Hamlyn Foundation found that just 30% of the research it receives from grantees is ‘good quality’. (Discussed in this talk.)
Similarly, evidence from the first social impact bond – in Peterborough prison – will be too unreliable to show anything, according to Cambridge University’s Professor Sheila Bird. We shared her analysis.
Giving Evidence works with foundations to help them gather (only) evidence which is safe. We have various projects to improve the evidence available to donors.
Christmas giving tip!
Fewer is more: choose a few charities because more of your donation will get there, and you'll probably make a better choice. Caroline Fiennes and Phil Buchanan of the US Center for Effective Philanthropy, wrote about this in Freakonomics.
Subliminal Christmas gift suggestion!

What do you give the person who has everything? A guide to giving some of it away!

It Ain’t What You Give, It’s The Way That You Give It by Caroline Fiennes shows how any donor can be effective, drawing on insights and tales from Oprah, Einstein, major donors, The Onion, and some Jedi knights. On Amazon, Kindle, Directory of Social Change:
“The Freakonomics of the charity world”, CEO, Depaul UK
Dragons’ Den’s James Caan: inspiring, entertaining and much-needed’
Society of Biology: “great advice… user friendly…inspired me”
Giving What We Can: “a wealth of great advice
Hats off to fellow evidence-istas:

* Charity Navigator, the world’s largest charity ratings agency, on increasing its focus on evidence of results
Feedback Labs, improving governments’ and donors’ responsiveness to views of beneficiaries
* The UK’s Nudge Unit for some lovely randomised control trial (RCT) evidence about increasing giving
* Jacob Harold at Guidestar who’s campaigning to dissuade people judging charities on their admin costs
* Evidence Aid on winning the Unorthodox Prize, won last year by Give Directly
* And happy 10th birthday to J-PAL, which generates evidence from RCTs about programmes in international development which work and which don’t.
Feedback please
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