How to learn more about High-Impact Philanthropy?

As data are more available, and transparency is becoming a requirement to charitable donations. High-impact Philanthropy has become a hot trend in the charitable giving world. People and donors demand higher standards for nonprofits and charities that they donate to, and they demand high impact as well. Donors want to know their donations are used to advance the causes they support, instead of spending most of them on nonprofit administrative costs.

There are many donation best practices sites online, and a few do focus on high-impact giving, which demand High-Impact-Philanthropy. In this article, we will share a few sites that provide information on high-Impact giving.

Circle Acts High-Impact Philanthropy (Canada)

Circle Acts was started from a place of passion with an objective to help promote high efficient giving (High-Impact Philanthropy). Circle Acts is consists of two operations:

  1. Circle Acts High-Impact Philanthropy Guide — The best practice library, reports, and expert resources to educate impact-focused donors to give effectively. The objective of the site is to help all donors to become a high-impact philanthropist or a high-impact donor. The guide aims to help everyone in the world, not just Canadians.
  2. World’s first Circle Acts Donation Marketplace — a Charitable donation marketplace that is available to Canadians to donate to the best charities in Canada. Since Circle Acts is a registered charity in Canada and can only issue Canadian tax receipts, therefore the marketplace is currently only available for Canadian donors.

The overall objectives of Circle Acts are to help the best charities to get more support, and help donors to be better informed so overall the charitable sector will grow in a healthy way.

Center for High Impact Philanthropy (United States)

The Center for High Impact Philanthropy provides actionable and evidence-based guidance for individuals who want to ensure that their philanthropic funds make the greatest possible difference in the lives of others. The Center for High Impact Philanthropy (CHIP) is a trusted source of knowledge and education to help donors around the world do more good. Founded in 2006 as a collaboration between the School of Social Policy & Practice and alumni of the Wharton School, it is the premier university-based center focused on philanthropy for social impact.

The center defines High impact philanthropy as the practice of using philanthropic funds for social impact. The center provides guidance to impact-focused donors in a variety of ways: through public channels such as our blog, website, and social media that offer free access to much of US donors donor investment analysis; through donor intermediaries such as philanthropic advisors, wealth managers, and online platforms for giving; and directly through donor education programs and select consulting engagements.

Givewell Charity Review and Research (United States)

GiveWell is a nonprofit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of our analysis to help donors decide where to give. Unlike charity evaluators that focus solely on financials, assessing administrative or fundraising costs, Givewell conducts in-depth research aiming to determine how much good a given program accomplishes (in terms of lives saved, lives improved, etc.) per dollar spent. Rather than try to rate as many charities as possible, Givewell focuses on the few charities that stand out most in order to find and confidently recommend high-impact giving opportunities.

Givewell asks very good questions such as below:

  • What will the donation allow to happen that wouldn’t have happened otherwise?
  • Will this activity change people’s lives for the better, or will it run into unexpected challenges?
  • Will it accomplish a large amount of good, relative to other options?

Givewell pictures a world in which donors reward charities for effectiveness in saving and improving lives, and in which donors giving any amount can easily access information to help maximize the impact of their gifts.

Charity Clarity (United Kingdom)

Charity Clarity believes that Charities, while well-meaning, sometimes lack transparency and have poor corporate governance. They also don’t have access to the full range of services that could improve their delivery, and save cost. Therefore, there must be a way of improving the level of governance.

Charity Clarity was founded with two simple aims: For charities, we want to highlight your good work and help you succeed. For donors, we want to make sure you have the right information to help you make a difference. Charity Clarity provides support to a wide range of charities and social enterprises. Whether you work in the UK or internationally, we are committed to help you achieve your social goals.

Imagine Canada (Canada)

Other than Circle Acts, Imagine Canada is one of my favorite charity advisory and education organization in Canada. Imagine Canada’s mission is to strengthen Canadian charities and nonprofits so they can better serve individuals and communities both here and around the world.

Imagine Canada helps Charities to demonstrate their excellence in Demonstrate excellence and leadership in five key areas of operation:

  • Board governance
  • Financial accountability and transparency
  • Fundraising
  • Staff management
  • Volunteer involvement

Note, Imagine Canada is part of our highly recommended charities to promote high-impact philanthropy in Canada. Please support them.

ChangePath (Australia)

ChangePath is an independent, transparent service to help people who wish to choose a charity to donate to. To remain independent, ChangePath does not accept money from charities in any way that could be seen as a conflict of interest. Rankings and scores cannot be bought.

ChangePath looks at Financial responsibilty and transparency. The transparency score is simply a measure of what information about a charity is made available to the public. The more information (in the form of annual and financial reports), the higher the score. For a perfect score, a charity must have both an up-to-date and historic annual and financial reports easily available on its own website. If the charity has finances available on the ACNC website they are given a partial credit. And for financial score, charities that do not make their financial details available get an automatic score of 0. A lack of historical data will also often lead to a reduced score.

Bonus: Tips for High Impact Giving or Impact Focused Charitable work

  • A clear financial model. Is it generally clear how the charity spends and receives money (i.e. its “business” model)? Do they break down how money is spent across different operational divisions (e.g. program delivery, administration, marketing and fundraising)?
  • A clear path for how donations are used. For charities that are members of international organizations, do they outline if funds are distributed to other national members (or an international headquarters)
  • Transparency over who is in charge. Who is accountable for the charity and ensures it delivers to its beneficiaries? Who are the individuals on the board and executive team and do they have relevant professional and/or personal experience?
  • Clear roles and delegation.What is the role of the board, the CEO and other members of the executive team? Does the governing body monitor the performance of the charity? For international organizations, is it clear how roles across country offices are delegated? For federated charities, is the role of the national body clear and distinct from the roles of the state/regional charities?
  • Policies designed to minimize misuse of funds. Are there clear guidelines over how the board, executive team and employees manage conflicts of interest? Does the charity publicly disclose related party transactions or contracts the charity has taken part in that have benefitted individuals on the board or executive?

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Technology Strategist, AI Researcher, Human Rights Advocate, High-Impact Philanthropist

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Brian Ka Chan

Brian Ka Chan

Technology Strategist, AI Researcher, Human Rights Advocate, High-Impact Philanthropist

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