A Revolutionary Approach to Philanthropy.

The future of philanthropy We all want to feel good about our giving, but that's just the beginning. Modern philanthropy is about impact, funding high-impact programs, and making a real difference in the most important causes. Altruous provides the insights and seamless giving experience you need to maximize your impact and effectiveness as a philanthropic agent of change.

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that philanthropy, on its face, is all about doing good. The word itself literally means “for love of humanity,” and is comprised of the Greek words “philos” and “anthropos,” or “love” and “humankind.” A noble sentiment to be sure, and if good intentions are the extent of your interest in the social sector, there are nearly 2 million organizations in the United States with compelling stories that would be glad to accept your donations. You can find them on Google, listed on watchdog sites, view their videos on YouTube, give through a peer-to-peer campaign, or attend a gala. Just choose whichever ones speak to you and call it a day.

However, if you’re part of the rising tide of philanthropists who want to make a real difference in the world, in addition to spreading love - if you want to leverage your resources to make lasting impact, drive systems change, solve intractable social problems, and help the world’s most vulnerable people in long-term and meaningful ways while minimizing harm, there’s precious little information available to you on which to make informed decisions. What is out there is often wrong, prioritizes irrelevant (or worse, misleading) information, and is painfully difficult to parse.

Altruous is different. We evaluate the measurable impact and long-term potential of social good programs. We deliver insights and analyses in straightforward, easy-to-understand ways, and make proactive funding recommendations based on your specific cause preferences and interests. When you’re ready to take action on your funding decisions, Altruous empowers you to do so with the click of a button, where you will receive frequent updates about the impact of the work being done in the field.

Here’s how we do it:

1. Align with context-specific best practices.

It doesn’t matter how much impact an organization reports, how many outputs they deliver, or how good their intentions are. If the work they’re doing is misaligned with what the communities they’re serving really need, or worse yet - have unintended harmful consequences, they really shouldn’t be considered high-impact. All programs we evaluate at Altruous are viewed first through the lens of alignment with the leading solutions in the specific cause area and regions they’re looking to address.

2. Evaluate likelihood of success.

So much emphasis is placed on efficiency of outcomes and reduction of overhead, that people have a tendency to ignore the factors most important to an organization’s long-term success. Altruous looks at the overall strength and viability of the organizations we review: Are they able to  both attract and retain top talent? Do they have the right expertise in-house, or the ability to outsource it? Do they provide an environment their teams need to thrive? Do their financials make sense? How thoroughly do they account for the unique concerns of the communities they serve? Do they have the capacity to learn from their impact measurement to strengthen what’s working and improve what isn’t? We look at these, and many other factors, to determine how likely the organization is to deliver on its mission, and to operate not just efficiently, but effectively in the long-term.

3. Analyze impact fundamentals.

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. From the Theory of Change, to outputs, outcomes, and tractability, there are essential components that go into determining program effectiveness. If the approach is sound and the organization is strong, we’ll analyze all the key performance indicators needed to determine the realities of that organization's impact and effectiveness. Learn more →

4. Embrace complexity.

Programs focused on health may have educational, environmental, and economic impacts as well. Fledgling startup organizations with innovative ideas may have the potential to solve previously intractable problems, but don’t have the past performance or economies of scale necessary to attract the funding needed to validate their ideas or scale their impact. We help funders identify and fund the most effective solutions across cause categories, based on their own preferences for past performance vs. future potential.

5. Prioritize funding need.

The way philanthropy is traditionally organized, with all its inefficiencies and misaligned incentive structures, leads to legacy organizations raising more money than they know how to spend, while leaner, scrappier programs are starved of the resources they need to succeed. Altruous’s recommendation engine prioritizes funding need so philanthropic resources can be deployed quickly, efficiently, and with maximum effectiveness.

6. Invite scrutiny.

Transparency is the best disinfectant. We’ll not only tell you what we think of an organization’s impact, but why we feel that way. All our evaluations are done by top monitoring & evaluation professionals, and are reviewed by a panel of their peers. Everyone may not always agree with our findings, which is why we strive for 100% transparency, invite scrutiny, and welcome an open dialogue that includes all stakeholders.

7. Innovate Continuously.

The quickest way to become obsolete is to rest on your laurels. Our evaluations are constantly updated, not only with new information and impact data, but with frequent improvements to our own methodologies. Our ethos of rapid innovation and constant improvement permeates everything we do, to the benefit of everyone in our community.

The world’s social challenges are more complex and urgent than ever before. It’s imperative that this generation of philanthropists, activists, and impact leaders cut through the noise, end the war on sense-making, and fund those high-impact solutions that drive real social progress.

Have questions or comments? Want to learn more about our processes? Interested in investment, collaboration, or partnership? Email us at info@altruous.org or fill out the contact request form below.

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