Fri, February 19 2010

What will happen in philanthropy this year?

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Nonprofit leadership •

That’s the question Lucy Bernholz answers with her Blueprint 2010.  This is the first in what will be a independent annual industry analysis for philanthropy and social investing.  Lucy describes how 2010 will be another tough year for nonprofits - but likely a growth year for alternatively structured organizations that pursue the common good - like L3cs and B Corporations.  Nonprofits no longer have the corner on social good.  For-profits, social enterprises and other hybrid organizations will be active in the work of social impact as well - and on a bigger scale than ever before.

Earlier this week, I got to hear Lucy present on what all this will mean beyond 2010.

Some fascinating trends she highlighted were:

1. Data is the new platform for change.  There is an expectation that nonprofits should provide more data about their activities and impact to the public - and that government and others also open up their data to the public.  Transparency and impact are the new black, folks.  (NB: That said, individual donors have limited interest in the data.)

2. Self-organizing groups using free technology will increasingly challenge institutional monopolies on social change.  When anyone can put together a cause-related effort with relative ease, they are freed from working via nonprofits.  We have to learn how to engage with these groups.

3. Anyone can act anytime, anywhere.  In an era when we can volunteer from our iPhone or give with a click as part of any transaction, giving opportunities are becoming more and more pervasive and fragmented.  Individual people can make a difference more than ever in more ways than ever.  We need to figure out what this means to conventional fundraising and outreach.

4. Mobility matters:  The ability of nonprofits to react to the digital world and manage channels like FourSquare and geotagging will separate the old school nonprofits from a new digital generation of organizations.

5. Forms matter: The conventional nonprofit is no longer the end all, be all of doing good.  (See above comments on L3Cs and B corporations).

6. Global reach is a new standard: Technology is enabling organizations to scale globally in short order - just look at or Wikipedia.  Are you an organization that should scale to the world?

The hard copy of Blueprint 2010 is $20 but you can get it on Kindle for half that cost.  I should disclose Lucy has done consulting work for my organization and I’m a fan of her work.


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