What change is reasonable to expect, and at what cost?
Making the link between cost and impact is critical to the concept of high impact philanthropy. It allows donors to assess where they can do the most good with the dollars they have.
To help philanthropists understand this link, we provide cost-per-impact estimates for several of the models in our investment guides. Many are “back-of-the-envelope” figures based on currently available information. Others are derived from more rigorous cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness studies. In all cases, they involve an empirical definition of success and the costs associated with achieving that success. They are intended to provide a starting point from which a philanthropist can evaluate an opportunity.
- How we calculated cost per impact in malaria
- How we calculated cost per impact in education
- Tools and Resources for Assessing Social Impact (TRASI) (an online resource of the Foundation Center)
- Measuring the Value of Corporate Philanthropy: Social impact, business benefits, and investor returns (report by Terence Lim for the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy)
- Measuring and/or Estimating Social Value Creation: Insights into Eight Integrated Cost Approaches (report by Melinda T. Tuan for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)