At Purpose Portfolio, we activate latent capital to support the best
work in the world.
The US is home to an astonishing 1.5 million nonprofits. But the sad reality is that despite abundant passion (and compassion) most are not effective. 12% of the US population has lived below the poverty line for the past 40 years, we’re nowhere near curing breast cancer, and 20,000 children still die of malnutrition every day. The list goes on. With one nonprofit for every 300 Americans, shouldn’t we be making more progress?
Given this trajectory, it shouldn’t be surprising that donors are wary of the philanthropic system and feel unable to distinguish the best work in the world from organizations who actually do more harm than good. Most donors have effectively checked out--so it’s no wonder charitable giving has been stuck at just 2% of our GDP since the 1970s, despite massive catalytic developments like the Internet, social media, and crowdfunding.
To make matters worse, the nonprofits who actually are doing great work are often those without the kind of marketing machine required to attract the resources they need, and have been indoctrinated with a zero-sum view of the capital they need for their cause.
At Purpose Portfolio, we don’t believe philanthropic capital is fixed or limited, and we care deeply about social issues. But rather than selecting a cause (or a nonprofit) and then searching for ways to support it, we start with the capital and work backward to understand its scope and the forces that have kept it latent, and then design a targeted experiment to activate it.
These interventions, called labs, are built to resonate with targeted donor groups by approaching them on their turf and in their language, and designed “lean” so we can quickly and cost-efficiently test the solution.
Critically, these labs are also designed to unlock new philanthropic capital--engaging new donors and increasing donations from current donors--and then leverage that capital by directing it exclusively to top-notch efforts run by organizations engaged in some of the best work in the world.