Back in May, I announced that I would be chairing a steering committee to help the nonprofit research group Philanthropedia launch a project called Expertise on Demand. The project is the realization of the Tactical Philanthropy Knowledge Network I had been working on and is designed to connect donors and funders with leading experts who can help them make informed giving decisions.

Expertise on Demand has now officially launched. From the Philanthropedia website:

“Expertise on Demand is a new Philanthropedia service that acts as a trusted intermediary connecting major donors, philanthropy advisors, and foundations with experts who can help fill knowledge gaps quickly and efficiently and channel more money to high-impact nonprofits and projects.

Donors use this service by filling in a brief form with the question they would like to ask an expert. Philanthropedia then searches its database of thousands of experts to find a good match, ultimately connecting the donor with the expert via a phone call.

The Process

  1. Submit your question
  2. Have a question about which nonprofit to support or how you can plan your giving strategy? Submit a question related to your philanthropic goals here, and we will try to find an expert who matches your needs!
  3. We find an expert match for you
  4. We will try to match an expert who meets your needs by searching through our database of over 1400 experts with an average of 17 years of experience. View our experts .
  5. Expert confirms
  6. We will contact the best-fit expert to answer your question.
  7. Connect with expert over phone
  8. We will schedule a 30 minute phone call at a time that works for both of you. We ask both the expert and the user to fill out a short evaluation form after the conversation so we can improve our service.”

I’m very excited about the project’s potential to accelerate the flow of impact oriented information. Experts are well positioned to give donors the context they need to make smart decisions. Experts know the “story” behind what is happening in the field, the personalities involved and the relevant history.

Too often, when we talk about information we think about discrete bits of data. But people who are experts, whether they are academic researchers, nonprofit executives, foundation program officers or your brother-in-law who knows everything there is to know about baseball, are able to provide rich, contextual information that is often far more valuable then the collection of data points you might gather on your own.

My hope for Expertise on Demand is that funders and individual donors will turn to the service as a quick way to access the sort of information you can’t find on Google. Expertise on Demand is a way to connect with the right people instead of simply the right data.

Expertise on Demand is currently free. I do hope you’ll consider giving the service a try the next time you are working to learn more about a social sector issue.

In addition to Expertise on Demand, Philanthropedia has recently launched multiple new cause areas and significantly upgraded the information they provide about the nonprofits they rate. They have now expanded to cover:

International Causes

National Causes

Bay Area Causes

Nonprofit profiles of their top rated nonprofits now include expert commentary on each organization’s strengths and areas for improvement, commentary from the nonprofit, bios of the leadership team, stories about the nonprofits beneficiaries, and detailed information about the experts involved including names, bios and information about who was invited to participate and who accepted.

At a speech yesterday about transparency for grantmakers, I pointed out that Philanthropedia represented not only a low cost, high quality source of information, but also a low cost, high quality solution for grantmakers to share what they know in an effort to increase impact.

If you are interested in joining Philanthropedia’s network of experts, you can learn more here.