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Impact Rating

Living Goods

Top Health Nonprofit Impact Audited

Impact: $5,200 saves the life of a child.

Community Health Workers Program meets the benchmark for high cost-effectiveness. The nonprofit averts a disability-adjusted life year for less than the country's G.D.P. per capita.

Note: The impact of this program may not be representative of the entire operation of Living Goods.


Governance: Passes checks


Living Goods saves lives at scale by supporting digitally empowered community health workers who deliver care on call – making it easy for families in need to get the care they need. To achieve this, we leverage smart mobile technology and real-time data to optimize outcomes, performance, and accountability. We work closely with governments and partners to strengthen national community health systems. We ensure health workers are effectively compensated, supervised and equipped. We nimbly innovate to deliver the greatest health outcomes at the least cost. And we always aim for national scale, co-creating financing solutions to make universal health coverage a reality.



Rated Program

Community Health Workers Program

Program Geography



San Francisco, CA


Donations processed by the nonprofit.



Rated Program

Community Health Workers Program

Program Geography



San Francisco, CA


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Rated Program

Additional analysis available:  Download


Community Health Workers Program


Living Goods trains women from local communities in Uganda to diagnose and treat malnutrition, infection and many common and life-threatening illnesses.

Program Type

Community Health

Beneficiaries Served

People living in poverty
Children and youth
People with illnesses



Outcomes: Changes in people's lives. They can be caused by a nonprofit.

Costs: The money spent by nonprofits and their partners and beneficiaries.

Impact: The cost to achieve an outcome.

Cost-effectiveness: A judgment as to whether the cost was "worth" the outcome.


Outcome Metric

A child's life saved.

To calculate impact, we estimate how many outcomes the nonprofit caused.

Data Source

Outcome data collected through a randomized controlled trial conducted by third-party evaluators Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab and Innovations for Poverty Action on the Living Goods program in Uganda.

Time Period of Data

Jan. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2016

Ratings are based on data the nonprofit itself collects on its work. We use the most recent year with sufficient data. Typically, this data allows us to calculate direct changes in participants' lives, such as increased income.

Method for Attributing Outcomes

ImpactMatters used the randomized controlled trial's estimate of the counterfactual mortality rate in areas that were not exposed to Living Goods' intervention for the relevant period.

To determine causation, we take the outcomes we observe and subtract an estimate of the outcomes that would have happened even without the program.


Data Source

Cost data reported by Living Goods and data and assumptions about partner and beneficiary costs.

All monetary costs are counted, whether they are borne by a nonprofit service deliverer or by the nonprofit’s public and private partners.


Impact Statement

$5,200 saves the life of a child.

Confidence in Impact Calculation

ImpactMatters assigned a rating of 5/5 for the audit team's confidence in its impact estimate for the Community Health Workers program.

We calculate impact, defined as the change in outcomes attributable to a program divided by the cost to achieve those outcomes.


Benchmark for Rating

Impact ratings of community health programs are based on the cost of a disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted relative to the G.D.P. per capita of the country in which the program operates. Programs receive 5 stars if they avert a DALY for less than than the G.D.P. per capita, and 4 stars if they avert a DALY for less than three times G.D.P. per capita. If a nonprofit reports impact but doesn't meet the benchmark for cost-effectiveness, it earns 3 stars.


The nonprofit averts a disability-adjusted life year for less than the country's G.D.P. per capita.

Why We Could Be Wrong

We welcome your suggestions for improving our methodology. Our methodology section includes explanations of how we mitigate these issues.

  • The outcome could oversimplify total impact. "A child's life saved" does not take into account the reduction in ill health and disability that the program caused.
  • There could be multiple important outcomes not captured in our analysis.
  • Living Goods may be spending additional money in order to serve harder-to-reach and/or particularly valuable populations.
  • In the absence of better data, we assume uniform counterfactual rates for programs, at the risk of masking variation across nonprofits.
  • Our estimates rely on data made public by Living Goods on its website, annual reports, financial statements and Form 990s.
  • We only analyze programs that meet our criteria. As a result, this report may not fully reflect the impact of Living Goods.
  • We do not assess what explains the nonprofit's cost-effectiveness.

We assign a rating to the nonprofit using the rubric:

  • There are indications of governance or financial health issues at the nonprofit.

  • After being given an opportunity, the nonprofit chose not to publish impact information.

    We are not yet issuing this level of star rating.

  • The rated program does not meet our benchmark for cost-effectiveness.

  • The rated program is cost-effective.

  • The rated program is highly cost-effective.

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Nonprofit Comment

(Adapted from the Impact Audit.) Living Goods is enormously proud that the audit conducted by ImpactMatters reinforces our understanding of the positive role our organization is having on transforming community health programs in Uganda and beyond. As an organization dedicated to data driven performance management, adaptive learning, transparency, and strengthening community health efforts worldwide, we are delighted to have external audits such as this and the GiveWell assessment, which enable broad groups of stakeholders to understand and apply relevant insights based on our evidence and experiences.

— Living Goods

Before publishing, we ask every nonprofit we can to review our work, offer corrections and provide a comment.

Analysis Details

Analysis conducted by ImpactMatters and published on November 22, 2019.

This rating is based on an independent audit by ImpactMatters. Using data from the audit, ImpactMatters analysts calculated impact and assigned a rating.

We welcome corrections. If you are interested in exploring applications of ImpactMatters data, contact us at

Governance Check

Living Goods passes our governance check.

Conducted a financial audit

Overhead spending is reasonable (<35% of total spending)

Charity Navigator has not issued a fraud or mismanagement advisory

Living Goods itself has not reported any material diversions of assets

Living Goods itself has not reported any excess benefit transactions

Source: Living Goods Form 990 and Charity Navigator

How We Calculate Impact

This rating is based on ImpactMatters analysis of the impact of Community Health Workers Program relative to costs. Impact is the change in the social outcomes of people served by the program, net of the change that would have happened even without the program (the “counterfactual”); divided by cost. Learn more.

For Donors

A guide to our process for analyzing nonprofits and assigning ratings.

For Nonprofits

Learn about best practices for reporting impact for different program types.

For Researchers

Our collected guidelines on how we analyze impact of nonprofit programs.

Rating is a complex exercise and we urge you to read our frequently asked questions for details of how and why we issue these ratings.