Screening Criteria

We seek evidence of the following characteristics in each potential partner:

  • Must be a U.S. tax exempt organization whether their work takes place in the U.S. or abroad
  • A proven record of exceptional impact, demonstrated through sustainable improvements in the quality of life for people with unmet needs
  • A commitment to measurement, evaluation, and substantive reporting
  • Demonstrated success in scaling their program
  • Small enough so the donations we make can have a material impact but large enough to have the capacity to effectively deploy incremental dollars
  • Confidence-inspiring leadership
  • A proven record of management’s ability to set goals and achieve them
  • A competent, engaged, and independent Board
  • Preferably, other funders with selection criteria and philosophies compatible with ours

To arrive at a confident view of a potential implementing partner, we draw on a variety of credible inputs:

  • Internal reports used by the nonprofit’s management and Board to manage and monitor performance, set goals, and allocate resources (we find these are much more informative than materials prepared specially for us as a potential supporter)
  • Personal knowledge and/or vouched for by individuals in our network
  • Critique by a trusted third party with special expertise and/or direct history with the organization (e.g. prominent foundation with experience collaborating with or observing potential recipient operations)
  • Leadership that has been recognized by certain organizations (e.g. Ashoka Fellows, Echoing Green Fellows, etc.)
  • Legal and financial government filings
  • Most importantly: site visits by members of the Focusing Philanthropy team