Information for GiveWell

Table of contents

Basic information

Item Value

Staff count by year

Hover over a name to see the position and date range. This table only includes positions where at least the start date is known. The positions count can count the same person multiple times if they held different positions. For each year, a person is included if they were at the organization for any part of the year; this means the actual staff count at any point during the year can be lower.

Year Positions count Researchers General staff Associates Board members Advisors

Number of full-time staff at the beginning each year

The following table lists some dates and people who were at the organization on the given date (namely, the start of the year). The table may not list every person who worked for the organization (e.g. they could have joined and left in the middle of a single year). This table excludes associates, interns, advisors, and board members.

Date Staff count Staff

Full history of additions and subtractions

This table shows the full change history of positions. Each row corresponds to at least one addition or removal of a position. Additions are in green and subtractions are in red. If a position name changed, it is listed simultaneously as an addition (of the new name) and removal (of the old name) and colored yellow. Additionally there are faded variants of each color for visited links.

Date Number of positions Number of positions added Number of positions removed Positions added Positions removed

List of people (0 positions)

Person Title Start date End date AI safety relation Subject Employment type Source Notes

Products (0 products)

Name Creation date Description

Organization documents (19 documents)

Title Publication date Author Publisher Affected organizations Affected people Document scope Cause area Notes
Elie Hassenfeld, Co-Founder and Executive Director of GiveWell, Joins Denver Frederick 2019-05-04 Denver Frederick The Business of Giving GiveWell Elie Hassenfeld Job experience Charity evaluator Elie Hassenfeld, co-founder and Executive Director (ED) of GiveWell, discusses GiveWell's work with Denver Frederick. While most of the discussion is around GiveWell's work as a charity evaluator, there is some discussion of company culture. Hassenfeld says that GiveWell values openness, but also places importance on kindness toward one another. He mentions the existence of a Slack channel for people to post their mistakes. There is also discussion of GiveWell putting board meeting audio online.
The Optimizer’s Curse & Wrong-Way Reductions 2019-04-03 Christian Smith GiveWell Christian Smith Job experience Charity evaluator Christian Smith draws on his experience working at GiveWell for two and a half years, much of the time spent as the point person on GiveWell's cost-effectiveness analyses. Using this experience, he points out serious problems with modeling and picking the best causes or interventions in the face of huge uncertainty.
Why did three GiveWell board members resign in April 2019? 2019-04-03 Milan Griffes Effective Altruism Forum GiveWell Rob Reich, Brigid Slipka, Tom Rutledge, Elie Hassenfeld Board member departure Charity evaluator Milan Griffes asks people what they know about the reasons for the departure of three board members from GiveWell announced at [1] The comments and answers discuss the resignation letters posted by Rob Reich and Brigid Slipka at [2] and [3] respectively, and also the response of GiveWell Executive Director (ED) Elie Hassenfeld at [4] Griffes also links to and pastes questions by him and answers from Catherine Hollander of GiveWell in the GiveWell open thread [5]
Elie Hassenfeld Board Letter 2019-04-01 Elie Hassenfeld GiveWell GiveWell Rob Reich, Brigid Slipka, Elie Hassenfeld Board member departure Charity evaluator Elie Hassenfeld, GiveWell Executive Director (ED) responds to concerns raised by resigning board members Rob Reich and Brigid Slipka that they express in their respective resignation letters [2] and [3] Hassenfeld says "I understand their concerns and agree with them that it is crucial that GiveWell has a board that plays a serious role in its governance." However, he says that a smaller, focused, and engaged board is the way the board could best participate actively in governance, and that he came to this decision after discussion with staff, board members, and leaders at similar nonprofits. He also expresses gratitude to resigning board members Rob, Brigid, and Tom Rutledge for their support of and service to GiveWell both as board members and outside of that.
What is it like to work at GiveWell? 2019-03-07 James Snowden GiveWell GiveWell James Snowden Job experience Charity evaluator James Snowden, a research consultant at GiveWell, explains why he started working with GiveWell, describes why he thinks it is a great place to work at, and adds notes on GiveWell's job application process. His reasons for GiveWell being a great place to work at are: the work helps people a lot, the work is intellectually stimulating, the work was something he was suited for (though this may not apply to others), the co-workers were excellent (both competent and thoughtful), and he was able to manage working remotely. The post was solicited by GiveWell in an effort to help GiveWell with its team expansion efforts.
Brigid Slipka Board Resignation Letter 2019-03-05 Brigid Slipka GiveWell GiveWell Brigid Slipka, Elie Hassenfeld Board member departure Charity evaluator Brigid Slipka resigns from the GiveWell board. In the letter, she explains her reasons and giving some parting advice to GiveWell. She resigns in response to Elie Hassenfeld writing to her about a desire to reduce the Board to five people, which he does after Rob Reich offers his resignation at [2] and reduces the board size from 8 to 7. Slipka begins by sharing her understanding of the stages of nonprofits and the relationship between the board and the Executive Director (ED) at each stage. The stages she lists are start-up, adolescent, mature, and stagnant. With this backdrop, she praises GiveWell for moving toward maturity and sustainability, and highlights: expanding the number of recommended charities, adding a Director of Operations and a Director of Outreach, diversifying stakeholders by restricting operating support of any one donor to 20%, and splitting off the Open Philanthropy Project so as not to dilute its core mission. However, she says she is "unsettled by the decision to reduce the Board down to a hand-picked group of five, two of whom are the co-founders and another of whom is the primary funder (in addition to also funding Holden at Open Philanthropy)." She considers this a regressive change. She offers three suggestions to GiveWell to improve matters: (1) create a Nominating Committee chaired by a non-Board member, (2) increase the board to to include experts and representatives of beneficiaries, (3) adjust staff's relationship with the board. Elie Hassenfeld responds briefly at [4] and all the letters are listed at [1]
Rob Reich Board Resignation Letter 2019-02-04 Rob Reich GiveWell GiveWell Rob Reich, Elie Hassenfeld Board member departure Charity evaluator Rob Reich resigns from the GiveWell board, citing three reasons: (1) He is taking on a new set of professional responsibilities and needs to free up time for those, (2) He believes that service on a nonprofit board should not be ongoing, and his five-year stint has been long enough. (3) He has continuing concerns that GiveWell leadership does not take the board's role seriously, and that board meetings are held mainly to meet legal obligations. Although he has communicated this to GiveWell leadership and they have taken some steps to address his concerns, he thinks the steps are not adequate in achieving his goal of a professionalized board. Reich concludes by requesting that his letter be included on the GiveWell site and linked from [6] -- this is granted, with [1] as an intermediate page. Reich's resignation would be followed by the resignation of Brigid Slipka and Tom Rutledge after GiveWell leadership decides to contract the board. Slipka explains her resignation at [3]
Finding the best charity requires estimating the unknowable. Here’s how GiveWell tries to do that, according to researcher James Snowden. 2018-07-16 James Snowden 80,000 Hours GiveWell James Snowden Job experience Charity evaluator James Snowden, a research consultant at GiveWell, is interviewed for the 80,000 Hours podcast by Robert Wiblin. A summary and full transcript are available at the link. The podcast is primarily focused on the way GiveWell does research and makes decisions. However, the part starting from "If someone was listening and they were considering working at GiveWell, what are the most satisfying things about working at GiveWell and what are some things that you wish you could change if you could?" discusses the experience of working at GiveWell. Snowden mentions a focused and quiet office culture but a vibrant Slack culture, much less formal intra-company communication than public-facing communication, but a lot of seriousness in the work environment. Snowden encourages people with skillsets matching any of GiveWell's job postings to apply to GiveWell.
GiveWell is hiring! 2018-01-25 Elie Hassenfeld GiveWell GiveWell Hiring-related notice Charity evaluator Elie Hassenfeld announces that GiveWell is hiring for a number of positions. Positions listed include Director of Operations, Head of Growth, Research Analyst, Senior Research Analyst, and Summer Research Analyst.
Should you work at GiveWell? Reflections from a recent employee. 2016-08-15 Milan Griffes 80,000 Hours GiveWell Milan Griffes Job experience Charity evaluator Milan Griffes, who worked at GiveWell from August 2014 to May 2016, describes his experience working for the organization. He lists the following positives: worldview building, professional skills, networking within the effective altruism community, and humanitarian impact. He lists the following as things GiveWell does well as an employer: flexible working schedule, access to co-founders and senior staff, receptiveness to staff input, clear communication about performance and trajectory, and hard-working culture. He lists the following areas to improve upon: top-down decision making, time tracking, performance evaluation, team building, and lack of explicit emphasis on self-care. The original post is on the author's personal blog [7]
We’re hiring a Director of Operations 2016-05-24 Elie Hassenfeld GiveWell GiveWell Hiring-related notice Charity evaluator Elie Hassenfeld, GiveWell's Executive Director (ED) announces that GiveWell is looking to hire a Director of Operations to head the Operations team that "is responsible for all finance, accounting, HR, legal and tech functions at GiveWell and the Open Philanthropy Project." He also links to the job posting page [8] The role would eventually be filled by Sarah Ward starting July 2016 (at the time of Hassenfeld's blog post, Ward is already at GiveWell as a Research Analyst). After Ward's departure in February 2018, GiveWell hires Whitney Shinkle as Director of Operations starting April 2018.
How to find a job like a privileged person with lots of options 2015-06-01 Ben Hoffman GiveWell Job application experience Charity evaluator In this blog post, Ben Hoffman describes "things I've seen work well from both sides of the hiring process, and from talking with a bunch of people about career choice." He advises talking extensively to people in the field that one wants to apply to, and cautions against thoughtlessly going to school for training for a job. He also includes the cover letter of his job application to GiveWell.
GiveWell is hiring 2015-02-05 Sean Conley GiveWell GiveWell Hiring-related notice Charity evaluator Sean Conley announces that GiveWell is resuming its hiring operations. He announces open positions with titles Research Analyst, Summer Research Analyst, Outreach Associate, and Conversation Notes Writer.
A Summer on the Bay: Reflections on Working at GiveWell, Animal Rights, and the EA Community 2014-08-18 Jacy Reese GiveWell Jacy Reese Job experience Charity evaluator On his personal blog, Jacy Reese describes his experience working at GiveWell in the summer of 2014. He says he thoroughly enjoyed his time, and felt the employees epitomize effective altruist virtues of altruism and critical thinking, as applied not just to charities and causes but also topics like contemporary political issues and nutrition. He describes GiveWell's investigative process as a "unique combination of qualitative and quantitative reasoning" and says that, after joining GiveWell, he shifted to viewing GiveWell as a pilot study of strategic philanthropy. He says: "By first investigating a cause with relatively large amounts of academic and rigorous data available, GiveWell could invest in procedural information before venturing into less easily quantified causes. This new understanding partially eased my concerns, but I still fear GiveWell’s investigative process overemphasizes measurability — even in GiveWell Labs — but I am optimistic about the future of their investigations, particularly in the causes of global catastrophic risks and animal agriculture."
GiveWell is hiring 2014-03-12 Elie Hassenfeld GiveWell GiveWell Hiring-related notice Charity evaluator Elie Hassenfeld announces that GiveWell is hiring because they believe they are capacity-constrained. He announces open positions for Research Analyst, Summer Research Analyst, Administrative Assistant, and Conversation Notes Writer.
What I learned from working at GiveWell 2014-02-01 Ben Kuhn GiveWell Ben Kuhn Job experience Charity evaluator Ben Kuhn describes his experience working at GiveWell for four weeks. He describes his main takeaways as: be more skeptical, public health is really hard, GiveWell takes a broader view than he previously thought, things depends ridiculously on the details, and research is harder than he thought.
Thoughts on my experience working at GiveWell 2013-11-04 Nick Beckstead 80,000 Hours GiveWell Nick Beckstead Job experience Charity evaluator Nick Beckstead describes his experience working at GiveWell for two months for a trial work period. He describes his work as involving literature searches, literature evaluation, and cost-effectiveness models. He describes GiveWell as having a direct feedback culture and less autonomy than academia, though he says that the latter was not a problem for him because he and his manager were in synch. He also notes that GiveWell is strong in terms of personal development and the impact of the work, and he personally also found the job satisfying. Ultimately, Beckstead chose to work at the Future of Humanity Institute instead, but recommends to people interested to try a trial work period at GiveWell.
We can’t (simply) buy capacity 2013-08-29 Holden Karnofsky GiveWell GiveWell Organizational growth introspection Charity evaluator Holden Karnofsky explains why, even though GiveWell is capacity-constrained, and needs to hire more people, they cannot easily and quicky scale capacity up. Some of his points: (1) employees need to be trained, evaluated and managed, (2) Predicting employee fit is difficult, (3) Hiring involves long-term decisions, and poor predictions can be costly, (4) GiveWell's experience has moved them toward a view of hiring that involves training people to have the same understanding of the work as the existing GiveWell staff do, rather than hiring to have people to do assigned work.
GiveWell is hiring 2013-02-20 Elie Hassenfeld GiveWell GiveWell Hiring-related notice Charity evaluator Elie Hassenfeld announces that GiveWell is looking for outstanding people to join its team, specifically the Resaerch Analyst and Research Associate positions. He says that GiveWell is hiring for both full-time positions and paid summer internships.

Documents (0 documents)

Title Publication date Author Publisher Affected organizations Affected people Affected agendas Notes