When donors look for ways to make a positive difference in the world, direct service organizations are a logical starting point — whether it is the nonprofit empowering girls in Nepal or distributing antimalarial nets in affected areas around the world. Donors in the U.S. give about $22 billion to international organizations. These grantees are doing vital work, and much of it effectively. But many could be significantly more cost effective in their initiatives if they had access to data and evidence to amplify their impact.

This is where donors can step in. By supporting “amplifier organizations” — those that use their unique and targeted technical skills to enable other entities to improve more lives — donors have an opportunity to create a multiplier effect, taking a program to a new level of impact.

Data can inform decision-making both in real time and as a project evolves and responds to changing needs. As a result, intermediary organizations have an important role to play.  Equipped with technical know-how in data science and impact evaluation, they often have skills beyond what many nonprofits or governments can afford to staff in house. They can enable service providers to do even more good, especially when budgets are tight. It is more effective when these teams partner to rigorously answer exactly the right questions together, on the right timeline, and in the context of the particular direct service organization. The examples below explore how amplifier organizations can use these tools to improve a program’s design, scale up, and also hold political leaders accountable to citizens.

Read the full article about amplifier organizations by Esther Wang at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.