Stanford PACS is a research center for students, scholars and practitioners to explore and share ideas that create social change. Its primary participants are Stanford faculty, visiting scholars, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students, philanthropists and nonprofit and foundation practitioners. As publisher of Stanford Social Innovation Review, Stanford PACS informs policy and social innovation, philanthropic investment and nonprofit practice. SSIR is a shared intellectual space where scholars and practitioners publish inter-disciplinary and cross sector research and ideas to advance social change. The journal is complemented by a website, blog, conferences, webinars and podcasts. Read more…


Stanford PACS Guide to Effective Philanthropy

Posted on October 22, 2020 by Stanford PACS

The aim for this book is to simplify the components of effective philanthropy. The Guide has two major parts. Part One lays out a series of personal considerations that will help shape your philanthropic strategy. Part Two delves into the tactical practices of philanthropy to help you deploy your resources most effectively. Read More


Posted on October 20, 2020 by Stanford PACS

In the introduction, we referred to philanthropy as a journey—a journey with both anticipated and unexpected experiences and great opportunities for learning. You will almost surely explore new focus areas and find new opportunities within existing ones. More fundamentally, you will develop new skills, more confidence, and greater courage as a philanthropic traveler. Expeditions that once were unthinkably remote and… Read More

Socially Motivated Investing

Posted on October 20, 2020 by Stanford PACS

Understand the difference between value-aligned investing and investing for impact. This chapter considers two related but nonetheless different purposes that socially motivated investments may serve. The first is to align your investments with your social and environmental values regardless of whether your investment decisions affect the investee companies’ behaviors. The second, which builds on value alignment but goes much further,… Read More

Funding with Others: Collaboration and Pooled Funding

Posted on October 20, 2020 by Stanford PACS

Learn about the many ways to fund with others: learning with others, funding a trusted staffed foundation, coordinating funding with other donors, pooling funds with other donors, and participatory grantmaking. The growing practices of collaborative and pooled funding allow you to increase the impact and scale of your giving. This chapter pro-vides answers to the following questions: How can I… Read More

Making Gifts

Posted on October 20, 2020 by Stanford PACS

Think through the types of funding you might offer, gift size, duration, and exiting a relationship. Once you have developed confidence in an organization in your focus area, you will want to consider how best to support it. This chapter gives an overview of the basics of making gifts and answers these common questions: What are the different types of… Read More

Engaging Organizations and Developing Relationships With Their Leadership

Posted on October 20, 2020 by Stanford PACS

Best practices when it comes to interacting with potential and actual grantees including volunteering and board service. In many instances, you can conduct adequate due diligence on a nonprofit without ever communicating with the organization’s staff—using information from its website and from third parties. Also, in many cases—especially but not only with large national or international groups—you will feel satisfied… Read More

Due Diligence: Vetting and Evaluating Organizations

Posted on October 20, 2020 by Stanford PACS

Everything you need to think about as you narrow down your list of organizations to support. Once you have compiled a list of potential organizations to fund, you’ll want to conduct a due diligence process to vet them for effectiveness. Due diligence involves assessing a nonprofit’s goals, strategies, and capabilities to determine whether the organization is worth your support. This… Read More

Finding Effective Organizations

Posted on October 20, 2020 by Stanford PACS

To find effective nonprofits, conduct a landscape analysis, research grantees of credible foundations, ask knowledgeable people, or conduct online research. Even after you have decided on your philanthropic goals, you may find it difficult to choose which organizations to fund when a number of them seem to be doing similar work in your focus area. This chapter addresses the question… Read More

Theory of Change, Monitoring, and Evaluation: Understanding an Organization’s Activities, Outcomes, and Impact

Posted on October 20, 2020 by Stanford PACS

Learn how to evaluate a nonprofit’s theory of change, or develop your own. Understanding an organization’s theory of change helps you make your own assessment of whether an organization has sound strategies for achieving your shared objectives. Whether or not an organization uses any particular term is unimportant. What matters is whether it is clear about its intended ultimate outcomes,… Read More

Understanding Problems, Their Causes, and Approaches to Solutions

Posted on October 20, 2020 by Stanford PACS

Understand the problem you’re trying to solve through your giving, so you can support the right sorts of nonprofits. Having articulated a focus area, you may be tempted to jump right into finding organizations that operate in that space. However, nonprofit organizations may deploy very different approaches to solving social problems, and it’s helpful to begin with a good understanding… Read More