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, t 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 thereturn on your philanthropy will help ensure that you achieve the greatestpossible impact. To measure the impact of each organization objectively, wefocused evaluation efforts on key drivers of organizational success:
Philanthropistshave a unique, powerful role in jump-starting new models of innovation neededto accelerate progress in medical research and development (R&D).Philanthropic investment in medical research is ideally positioned to make relativelyhigh-risk investments that could significantly move a field of research forwardand increase the likelihood that other parties will also invest. Althoughprivate philanthropy is only a small share of overall spending on medicalR&D in the United States, its flexibility and focus on outcomes have anoutsized impact on the medical research enterprise.