Research

The Effective Philanthropy Lab

The Effective Philanthropy Lab is an interdisciplinary team based at Stanford PACS, working at the intersection of human centered design, strategic philanthropy, and the behavioral sciences. EPL designs and test methods, messages, products and services to increase donor impact. Our Lab is supported by grants from the Raikes Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

EPL’s work can be understood as three interlinked efforts: research into the realities of philanthropy, the development of tools and resources to help change the field and experience of donors, and sharing and teaching the research results and tools.

The Lab emerged from a Hewlett Foundation-supported fellowship and Raikes Foundation case study. Learn more about our background.

Our Vision & Mission

The Effective Philanthropy Lab (EPL) at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS) aims to help individual High Net Worth (HNW) donors increase their philanthropic impact through more intentional and effective (“outcome-focused”) giving.

EPL conducts applied research to better understand high net worth (HNW) donors’ philanthropic interests, motivations, and behaviors. EPL’s guiding question is How might we help HNW donors increase their philanthropic impact? An interdisciplinary research initiative working at the intersection of strategic philanthropy, the behavioral sciences, and design thinking, EPL aims to increase the knowledge of donors—and of intermediaries providing donor education and advisory services—with its tools, resources, and research papers. All of EPL’s work aim to help donors make more informed, outcome-focused decisions, thereby increasing their philanthropic impact.