Nonprofit Selection

We work with philanthropic experts and evaluative bodies to select the nonprofits where your donation will have the greatest impact.

Causeway funds operate under selection criteria unique to each cause area. That said, we generally use the following set of criteria:

  • Each of these nonprofit organizations has a positive impact on the cause area. We work with cause-area experts with deep knowledge to identify leaders and organizations making a difference - whether measured by the reach and impact of a direct intervention, or more systemic measures such as policies passed. For example, in the Global Health funds, nonprofits will help a quantifiable number of people because their projects focus primarily on direct interventions.
  • They have shown progress over time in their work. They go beyond a high-level annual report to also share details on how their work is progressing towards their ultimate mission.
  • These nonprofits are cost-effective. The vast majority of your donation goes to program needs.
  • They prioritize leadership and advisory oversight from people with lived first-hand experience and knowledge of an issue- who are best positioned to know how to make a difference
  • They are transparent, by providing financial statements beyond the IRS-required minimum, including explanations for financial decisions, and how each donation is being spent.
  • They are in need of additional funding. They are carrying out projects that are underfunded and need additional funding to ensure success.

Causeway also relies on research provided by the University of Pennsylvania's Center for High Impact Philanthropy (CHIP) to select the evaluative bodies we trust and to select the specific nonprofits in our funds.

CHIP's four philanthropic plays framework helps Causeway members understand the advantages and limitations of different philanthropic interventions. For example, direct services interventions in cause areas like Global Health are typically lower-risk, with clearer outcomes achievable in the more immediate future, but these projects typically don't change the underlying conditions of the problem. By contrast, interventions in Policy and Advocacy work and Research Innovation can yield greater levels of systemic change, but with a lesser degree of certitude.

Where possible, Causeway funds take a holistic approach to addressing a cause area, blending direct services interventions with longer-term visions of systemic change. For example, tackling Climate Change will involve both a substantial amount of future-focused research and development, proven direct interventions like carbon removal, and policy and advocacy work that pushes for the deployment of these interventions at a larger scale.