Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Milken Institute provides insights for funders who want to build a high-impact medical philanthropy portfolio, including guiding questions and impact measurement tools.
• What area(s) of medical research and care are you interested in funding? What areas have the greatest need?
Regardless of the impetus, investing your philanthropic dollars in medical R&D will require a careful assessment of your own priorities and preferences. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to navigating the process of selecting recipient organizations.
- What disease am I passionate about?
- Who do I want to help (e.g., in what geography, at what ages, what size of patient population, etc.) and why?
- Would I rather fund R&D for new products, or development of tools and resources to support R&D (e.g., health information technology systems, training, etc.)?
- Am I interested in prevention, diagnosis, or treatment?
- How soon do I expect to see a product or tangible outcomes?
- Do I know which stage of the R&D pipeline I should support (Figure 2)?
- Knowing the process, how much risk am I willing to take to potentially transform R&D efforts?
Assessing the return on your philanthropy will help ensure that you achieve the greatest possible impact. To measure the impact of each organization objectively, we focused evaluation efforts on key drivers of organizational success:
- Research Effectiveness
- Resource Building
Philanthropists have a unique, powerful role in jump-starting new models of innovation needed to accelerate progress in medical research and development (R&D). Philanthropic investment in medical research is ideally positioned to make relatively high-risk investments that could significantly move a field of research forward and increase the likelihood that other parties will also invest. Although private philanthropy is only a small share of overall spending on medical R&D in the United States, its flexibility and focus on outcomes have an outsized impact on the medical research enterprise.