Giving Compass
June 13, 2017
Introducing Impact Driven Philanthropy and the Giving Compass
By Stephanie Fuerstner Gillis
Senior Advisor, Impact-Driven Philanthropy Initiative

America has a long-standing tradition of generosity. As a nation, we contribute nearly $400 billion each year to issues and causes. Though we often think of large foundations when we think about philanthropy, more than 70 percent of giving in this country is directed by individuals writing checks or giving online. 

Among individuals, most (85 percent) say they care about the impact of their gifts, but only 32 percent conduct research online, and only 9 percent  compare organizations. At the same time, our nation is anticipating the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in our history, and expects up to $60 trillion will be passed along to heirs and some $20 trillion will be given to nonprofits over the next 50 years. 

This generosity presents an enormous opportunity to make progress on pressing social issues and solve some of our greatest challenges, but if donors aren’t making informed, intentional investments, we will squander this chance. We see an exciting opportunity to direct more of these donations to make faster and deeper progress on issues and in communities. 

Though most giving comes from individuals, most of the resources for learning and understanding social impact in this country are targeted to professional staff in large foundations. Most of these resources are not accessible or helpful to the average donor. We think the social sector can do more to help donors who want to give well.

How we help donors give well

The Raikes Foundation’s Impact-Driven Philanthropy Initiative was created to fill this gap. 

We are pursuing four primary strategies:

  • Involve: we are building partnerships with others who are working on the same challenges to create more and better supports for donors;
  • Invest: we will invest in research, donor education efforts, and building the field of donor support;
  • Inspire: we will identify, rally, and support a cadre of “leader” donors who can inspire others by sharing their stories about successes and failures in giving, and the joy and promise of giving done well;
  • Innovate: we seek to develop new products, resources, and tools that will meet donor needs that we identified through our user-centered design efforts.

The first new product we have invested in is called the Giving Compass, which aspires to organize and curate the world’s information to make it easier to give well.  The site is in quiet, testing mode this summer – come check it out and let us know what you think!