Giving is Great

This is a major initiative by the EQ Foundation to transform the way in which individual donors make decions. Its prime objectives are:

  • To enable donors to make positive choices about which charities to support based largely on evidence of their impact, rather than on a reactive basis in response to requests for funding.
  • To reduce the cost of raising funds for organisations that can demonstrate they are achieving above average impact.


We aim to achieve this by providing donors with objective data to help them assess the underlying effectiveness of the charities they support.

Top tips for choosing effective charities

Engage your brain, as well as your heart

If your heart is not touched by a cause you are very unlikely to give away hard earned savings. But you should also carry out some rational analysis to back up the arguments. This should lead to more successful and rewarding decisions.

Don’t worry about overheads

It’s perfectly understandable to be worried about efficiency but analysing overheads is often a misleading way of evaluating this. Charities can save money by cutting corners but in the longer run that will reduce effectiveness. Focus on the ability of the management team, then trust them to spend wisely.

Look at who else is supporting

In the UK we are fortunate to have many highly professional grant making charities. They are inundated with requests for funding, so they are able to pick and choose the best. If you are tempted to support a charity that has failed to attract any funding from these organisations, ask why?

Early intervention pays dividends

In the long run it’s much cheaper to build a fence at the top of a cliff than provide an ambulance when people fall over. Re-election priorities often discourage politicians from funding programmes that do not produce results before the next poll but that provides an opportunity for charities to intervene early at the first sign of trouble ahead.

Look for Matched Giving opportunities

Matched giving happens when someone else promises to top up your donation. It’s valuable for two reasons: it means that the value of your donation is increased and that someone else is sufficiently confident in the programme to provide the matching. A great example is the Big Give Christmas Challenge.

Donations go further in the developing world

For example in Africa:

  • Less than 50p can provide a deworming treatment that will massively improve a child’s quality of life
  • Less than £50 restores sight to a blind person
  • Less than £4,000 saves a life by providing mosquito nets, as well as improving life prospects for many others.
High profile disaster appeals rarely offer the best value

Tragic though these are, in the overall scale of human deprivation disasters are relatively minor. Every day, on average, more than 15,000 children aged under 5 die and most of these deaths are preventable. If you are tempted to support these appeals then check out first to see which are most in need of funding.

Finding the best charities

One way to fasttrack the search process is to look at charities that have passed the selection criteria set by top grant makers like the Big Lottery, Comic Relief and Esmee Fairbairn.

We’ve gathered data from the UK Charities Commission covering all registered charities and 360 Giving for details of major donations (usually £10,000 or more) to allow you to see who is being supported and by whom. You can tailor your search based on the number of different donors they have attracted and by their size

“Best thing I’ve ever seen in this field, without a doubt” Andy Cook, chief executive, Centre for Social Justice, founder of Twenty Twenty

Start searching

Download our guide to better giving

Finding good charities is really difficult. This free guide sets out some of the pitfalls, with handy tips on what to look out for.

Giving is Great

About us

EQ Foundation is a registered charitable institution that receives funding from the EQ Investors Group and other related parties. We can provide support in the following ways:

Advice to individual donors

We can help you to formulate your giving strategy and develop a personalised Impact Report to help you understand what you are achieving.

Impact investing

We are willing to invest in social enterprises that are seeking to generate both financial and social returns.

Grant making

We make a small number of multi-year grants to institutions, see examples here