While foundations have a singular mission, the staff and trustees have different skills, experiences, and job objectives as they relate to achieving that mission. The National Foundation Philanthropy & Investment Research project is designed to understand the similarities and differences in how these professionals make informed decisions about philanthropic and investment opportunities.

This project will bolster the current collective knowledge of philanthropy and investing by understanding:

  1. How investment officers trade off impact, financial return, risk and liquidity;
  2. How program officers trade off impact, financial return, risk and liquidity; and
  3. How differences and similarities in the tradeoffs made by various professionals correlate to the singular mission of the foundation. 

Methods: The overarching methodology for the Research Project is conjoint analysis, a statistical technique used in market research to determine how people value different attributes of a product or service. The National Foundation Philanthropy and Investment Research Project deploys three specific conjoint methods: Discrete Choice, Maximum Difference Scaling and Intended Behavior. Between these three methods, the Research Project is expected to produce a robust set of data on how investment and philanthropic decisions are made. Foundations are being selected at random to participate in this project-- the first national peer-reviewed research study of its kind.

Should you have questions or thoughts about this research project, please email us!