Our latest study, Principles of high-impact altruism: Accelerating the transformation of the philanthropic sector, challenges philanthropists to think about their ways of working, and how they can achieve results in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Funders and investors play a key role in enabling value creators to address social and environmental problems. Unfortunately, as resources dwindle and challenges become increasingly complex, the problems we face at home and abroad continue to evolve faster than our ability to cope with them. Despite the spirit and dedication of the sector, even the best will and greatest effort is not enough to solve these ‘wicked problems’ and systemic challenges.

Drawing from existing best practice and lessons learned across the philanthropic field, Principles of high-impact altruism defines a new paradigm of working – high-impact altruism. A high impact altruist supports the creation of social value, and is differentiated by the willingness to constantly improve and adapt ways of working to achieve sustainable results. Principles of high-impact altruism defines and explores the four characteristics that are critical to the successful implementation of high-impact altruism:

  1. Having a clear purpose: Formulating a clear idea of what one aims to achieve, which guides strategy, decision-making and learning, and also defined accountability
  2. Building an understanding of the issue: Understanding the problems at hand as well as the systems in which they exist, to ensure that responses are targeted, appropriate, and effective
  3. Providing a proactive and supportive response: Choosing the right operating model, and ensuring that assets are fully leveraged and matched to the needs and demands of beneficiaries and partners
  4. Embracing learning and data based decision making: Using data and evidence to evaluate progress, to drive improvement, and to make critical decisions about on-going work

This study is intended to share learning and build a practical framework that can be used as a self-evaluation tool for altruists seeking to improve their own work, as a way for grantees to ask more of altruists and engage more effectively, and as a framework for benchmarking and evaluating across the sector. Geared towards practicality, our Principles of high-impact altruism details case studies, breaks down some of the best practices across the sector, includes a self-assessment tool to identify areas of opportunities and explores references for further learning.

To download a free copy of the report, click here.