Why we should fund innovations that work

Why we should fund innovations that work

By Katherine Savoie, Charity Science

The Global Innovation Fund (GIF) is a funding organization that has the radical approach of funding organizations to get evidence of impact, and helping those who have the evidence to scale their programs to reach millions. 


This type of approach may seem obvious, but sadly it’s desperately need in the charity sector. Without the type of testing of projects GIF supports we wouldn’t know which interventions are actually effective and hence we’d just be guessing when trying to decide between the countless programs designed to improve life for millions around the world. The reason we shouldn’t just guess which programs work is because we’re really poor at it. If you don’t believe me, you can try this quiz.

Further, scaling up those programs that have proven effective during testing is perhaps the best tool we have to combat global poverty and, more generally, to encourage future and current projects to become more evidence based. GIF also sets itself apart by being open enough to work with organizations of all types, including for-profits and social enterprises. This way GIF is able to bolster great deals for those they want to whether it is a government or nonprofit venture.

Seeing this type of organization is encouraging and I hope it grows because that would mean a more evidence based world and more lives improved.

So what more specifically, does GIF do? GIF selects, tests and expands upon promising programs through grants, loans, technical assistance and risk capital to organizations that they believe have the potential to have a big social impact on a large scale.

At the early stages of a program they provide seed money looking for promising projects with potential that need a real world test of their business model.

If a program has already proven effectiveness on a small scale, GIF provides funds to implement refinements and, perhaps, try different business models. If this involves a significant amount of public funds, this may involve running a randomized controlled trial to test for cost-effectiveness and impact. When a program is successful and what they really need is the ability to implement that project on a larger scale, GIF provides resources for the program to grow to have an extensive effect across one or more countries and outgrow the need for support from GIF.

If you’re interested, you should definitely visit them at globalinnovation.fund to learn more about their exciting work. I would encourage anyone working on such an innovative project to apply.

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The views expressed in blog posts are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Peter Singer or The Life You Can Save.