Regardless of the impetus, investing your philanthropic dollars in medical R&D will require a careful assessment of your own priorities and preferences. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to navigating the process of selecting recipient organizations.

  1. What disease am I passionate about?
  2. Who do I want to help (e.g., in what geography, at what ages, what size of patient population, etc.) and why?
  3. Would I rather fund R&D for new products, or development of tools and resources to support R&D (e.g., health information technology systems, training, etc.)?
  4. Am I interested in prevention, diagnosis, or treatment?
  5. How soon do I expect to see a product or tangible outcomes?
  6. Do I know which stage of the R&D pipeline I should support (Figure 2)?
  7. Knowing the process, how much risk am I willing to take to potentially transform R&D efforts?

Assessing the return on your philanthropy will help ensure that you achieve the greatest possible impact. To measure the impact of each organization objectively, we focused evaluation efforts on key drivers of organizational success:

  1. Accountability
  2. Collaboration
  3. Research Effectiveness
  4. Resource Building