Following the Smart Money in Philanthropy

I have hesitations about advising donors to “follow the smart money” by funding nonprofits because foundations or other “expert funders” have chosen them. That being said, I think that there are a lot of smart people out there who do know which nonprofits are doing a good job impacting their chosen cause (even if they can’t yet demonstrate it).

To that end, Tracy Gary’s Inspired Legacies has released a list of projects that they encourage others to support. You can find the list here. They cite the following criteria for inclusion:

  • Addresses needs as Inspired Legacies perceives them through wisdom of talking with thousands of nonprofits, donors, and advisors.
  • Lacks significant attention within targeted or broad community.
  • Provides donors with opportunity for significant impact.
  • Known for successful implementation personally or through trust network.

I hope we see more of this kind of thing in the future, although transparency and measurement metrics must grow along side this trend or we’ll simply end up following the funders who are most charismatic or the best at marketing.