Impact-Driven Philanthropy

Over the next 50 years, donors will contribute nearly $20 trillion to nonprofit organizations. This presents an enormous opportunity to make progress on society’s most pressing challenges. But if donors aren’t making informed, intentional investments, they squander opportunities to have a transformative impact. While most donors indicate they want to make donations that are impactful, many lack access to high-quality resources or advice to guide their giving.

That’s why we created the Impact-Driven Philanthropy Initiative. Our aim is to help more donors strategically using their time, talents, and resources to give in ways that advance equity, effectiveness, and systems change. By giving in this way, philanthropy can help dismantle the root causes of society’s most challenging problems and begin to build a more just and equitable future for everyone.

Our Strategy 

 

We believe the path to more impactful individual giving requires three things:

  • A diverse, healthy, and coordinated ecosystem of donor support;
  • Making that ecosystem more visible and accessible to donors;
  • Investments in donor support organizations that have been leading from the front on social justice, in new mechanisms that make it easier for donors to give in ways that advance equity, effectiveness, and systems change, and in research and advocacy related to philanthropy.

Building a diverse, healthy, and coordinated ecosystem of donor support 

Currently, most of the resources available on high-impact giving are directed toward foundations, rather than the source of the majority of giving—individual donors. We envision a field that reaches individual donors, meets them where they are, feeds and reveals new possibilities, and accelerates their path to giving with impact. 
 

To help build this field, we convene the Impact-Driven Philanthropy Collaborative, a group of key stakeholders who support individual donors including other foundations, donor education providers, donor organizers, nonprofit leaders, researchers and academics who study donor behavior, philanthropy advisors, wealth advisors, and others. 

 

Increasing the visibility and accessibility of the donor support ecosystem  

The resources and know-how to achieve impactful giving exist, but many donors are unaware or unable to access the rich knowledge of the social sector. We launched Giving Compass in 2017 to serve as a one-stop shop for donors to learn about issues, connect with learning opportunities in the ecosystem, and find giving opportunities. Giving Compass was inspired by Jeff and Tricia Raikes’ own giving journey. Early in their philanthropy, Jeff And Tricia met other donors who faced the same challenge as they did: finding resources to guide an impactful giving strategy. Giving Compass’ resources focus on equity, effectiveness, transparency, and systems change, providing donors with the tools they need to give in ways more likely to make a difference. 

 

Investing in innovations and model programs, as well as research and advocacy related to philanthropy. We focus our resources on organizations and leaders that have historically had less access to funding.

Our grantmaking dollars focus on a few key priorities:

  • Elevating promising new models of donor support that influence donors and dollars toward equity, effectiveness, and systems change;
  • Funding research that fills gaps in our understanding of the landscape of donors, donor support, donor behavior, and advances more just outcomes from giving;
  • Boosting innovations that support donors to meet community priorities in new ways.

As we consider proposals we assess:

  • Will this influence individual donors, rather than foundations or staffed philanthropy?
  • Will this influence donors and dollars toward equity, effectiveness, and systems change?
  • Has this organization historically been proximate to resources, funding, and power? 

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Impact-Driven Philanthropy Collaborative

 

Philanthropy is a powerful force for social change, and individual donors direct the overwhelming majority of dollars given away each year in our country. Yet for all donors, there is always an opportunity to refine, learn, and transform how to give in order to support even greater results. Knowing this, the Impact-Driven Philanthropy Collaborative (IDPC) promotes thoughtful and intentional giving practices by convening representatives from the donor support ecosystem to strengthen the overall field. The Collaborative’s efforts focus on influencing donors in the top 5 percent of wealth holders, where giving has become increasingly concentrated. Though participation in giving is strong in this segment, the ways people are giving are not yet resulting in meaningful change on issues and in communities.

Supported by Raikes Foundation staff and others, this collaborative brings together key stakeholders in the ecosystem of donor support to think together about how we might influence more giving towards more impact. We believe transformative and inclusive impact comes when donors focus on equity, systems change, and effectiveness. Members come together to share, learn, collaborate, and identify opportunities for collective action that would support the full ecosystem.

Stakeholders in the collaborative include funders, donor education providers, donor organizers, researchers/academics who study donor behavior, consultants/advisors, philanthropy staff in private banks, public charities and intermediaries, and others. The Collaborative convenes as a full group bi-annually for one to two days, with some work happening between meetings.

Origin Story

Emerging from a vision launched by Jeff and Tricia Raikes in 2015, the IDPC started as a small group of funders held together by the shared belief that, while there is no one-size-fits-all model for social change, there are broad-reaching, guiding principles than can lead to more impactful giving. As the Collaborative expanded to include more stakeholders and diverse voices, the values of the collaborative took shape in the form of a dynamic set of Principles and Practices that reflect how we hope more donors will give and ground us as a group.

Field Building

This multi-stakeholder collaborative shares ambitions to influence donors to give more, give smarter, and address systemic inequities. Through a joint visioning process, members identified five potential levers to influence change:

  • Market segmentation: Working together to access and build better data on donors, where they are, and how to reach them.
  • On Ramp: Collective action to better prepare wealth advisors, family office staff, attorneys, accountants, and others to make more efficient and effective matches for their clients with the donor support ecosystem.
  • Drawbridge: Working to build infrastructure and connective tissue across the donor support ecosystem.
  • Peer Influencer: A collective campaign to build and leverage a diverse cohort of donors who represent varying faces, archetypes, and stages in the donor journey as peer influencers and role models who can draw others into the donor support ecosystem.
  • Infrastructure Reset: Influencing other, existing infrastructure organizations that currently serve philanthropy to increase their awareness of, and attention to, the unique needs of individual donors (vs. philanthropy staff).

Influencing donor behavior is an ambitious goal. Joining forces with others allows us to achieve greater impact than we could on our own—forming crucial partnerships to strengthen the donor support ecosystem, making it more visible, stronger, and more accessible to donors, with the goal of influencing more donors to give in ways more likely to make a difference.

Current IDPC Member Organizations:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Candid

Donors of Color Network

Fidelity Charitable

Ford Foundation

Headwaters Foundation

Leap Ambassadors

National Center for Family Philanthropy

Raikes Foundation

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Social Venture Partners International

Stanford PACS Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative

Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Synergos Institute

Templeton Foundation

The Philanthropy Workshop

W.K. Kellogg Foundation 

 

Collaborative Work Products 

Principles and Practices of Impact-Driven Philanthropy 

Impact-driven philanthropy is the practice of thoughtfully and intentionally using our time, talents, and resources to give in ways that advance equity, effectiveness, and systems change. These principles and practices are being developed, tested, and continually updated by the Impact-Driven Philanthropy Collaborative. 

Donor Education and Organizing: A 2020 Snapshot

In the United States, nearly 80 percent of giving to nonprofits is directed by individuals. In recent decades, an ecosystem of organizations has made it their part of their missions to educate individual high-net-worth (HNW) donors on how to give their time, talents, and resources thoughtfully and intentionally to advance meaningful change on issues and in communities. In 2003, New Visions Philanthropic Research and Development conducted a landscape of donor education organizations that mapped the emergence of formal programs offered by organizations to help support donors along their philanthropic journeys and identified issues and trends in the field. In 2020, the IDPC launched an effort to update the field’s understanding of the donor support landscape. This resulting snapshot, based on data captured just before the COVID-19 pandemic, highlights what has changed since 2003 and how the donor support ecosystem is evolving.

The Landscape, Characteristics and Philanthropic Intent of the Wealthy in the US and the Top 30 Cities

The Collaborative funded market research, in partnership with WealthX, to help ground our work and to provide useful information to the many organizations seeking to find and engage high-capacity individuals in philanthropy. This research answers some key questions about the people with $30M+ net worth in the United States and shares key demographic and other information that can inform all of our work.


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  • Partner spotlight

    Giving Compass

    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. 


    Read More

    Partner spotlight

    Giving Compass

    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. 


    Read More

To give away money is an easy matter and in any man's power. But to decide to whom to give it... is neither in every man's power nor an easy matter." — Aristotle

– Aristotle

Illustrative Grants

Social Venture Partners International

Social Venture Partners International is a philanthropic network that cultivates effective philanthropists, strengthens nonprofits, and invests in collaborative solutions in order to tackle pressing social challenges.

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Donors of Color Network

This grant supports Donors of Color Network’s efforts to deepen the philanthropic field’s understanding of high-net-worth donors of color, their needs, behaviors, and interests.

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Giving Project Learning Community

The Giving Project Learning Community is a donor organizing model focused on social justice philanthropy and disrupting the power dynamics in traditional philanthropy.

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JustFund

JustFund connects funders with innovative social justice organizations and front line campaigns, while facilitating greater transparency, trust, and learning.

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