The Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative


Integrating design-thinking methodologies with traditional strategic planning and systems thinking, the EPLI team’s current research agenda aims to develop the evidence base around HNW donor motivations and behaviors. This scope of inquiry includes mapping the broader ecosystem for HNW giving and creating a typology of donor behaviors (“archetypes and journeys”).

Discovering donor needs

two figures sitting and talking, while one takes notes

EPLI uses survey and ethnographic research to learn about the realities of philanthropy for High Net Worth individuals and those who support them. Research ranges from observational to controlled choice experiments, and directly influences the tools and resources EPLI creates to increase the effectiveness of giving. Areas of inquiry include donor motivations, donor needs, and leveraging intermediaries.




Donor Motivations

What motivates HNW and next generation donors to improve their commitment to solve social problems? How do we inspire HNW and next generation donors to become outcome-focused philanthropists?

Donor Needs

What are the current needs of outcome-focused HNW philanthropists? How are available resources addressing those needs? What are the unmet needs? What experiences, resources, and information help donors clarify their goals and increase their impact?

Leveraging Intermediaries

How can intermediaries (e.g., wealth managers, estate planners, and accountants) increase HNW donors’ philanthropic impact?

Select Research Outputs

Raikes Foundation case study
Designing For Philanthropy Impact
HNW Donor Support Ecosystem
Donor archetypes and journeys
White paper series (in development)