Thu, December 03 2009

Six Top Philanthropy Buzzwords of the Year

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Read more by this author

Filed under:   Marketing essentials •


Photo art by ArtByChrysti on Flickr.

Lucy Bernholz, president of Blueprint, Research & Design and author of the blog Philanthropy 2173, just relayed her buzzwords for 2009 on Marketplace.  Here are her three – along with my own!

1. Impact investing:  Lucy feels people are looking to put their financial resources to work for a quantifiable financial, social and environmental impact. For example, foundations using their philanthropic resources to support affordable housing developments, or medical disease research, community loan funds.  (I agree this is very true among foundations, less so with your average individual donor, who simply wants to know where they money went and what difference they made.)

2. B Corps.: A benefit corporation—it allows any kind of enterprise to organize and incorporate deliberate public benefit right into their chartering documents.  Examples Lucy cited are: Method cleaning supplies, NUMI Tea, and her own company, Blueprint, Research & Design. (Yes!  And Network for Good where I work, while a nonprofit and not a B Corps, is a proud social enterprise. And full disclosure: we are a proud client of Blueprint.)

3. Mergers: Lucy believes a lot of nonprofit organizations will merge or go out of business. That means they’re going to have to start getting strategic in looking for alliances with other organizations. (I think we may be in a more collaborative mood in 2010, if not overtaken with an urge to merge.)

Those are Lucy’s.  Here come mine:

4. Ratings: Zagats for nonprofits?  It is coming.  In a sign collaboration (see #3) as well as ratings are in style, GreatNonprofits and two other organizations, Philanthropedia and GiveWell, just issued a joint press release about how to pick good charities.  They all do their own ratings - and Charity Navigator is in the process of an exciting revamping of its own - and allowing anyone to chime in with their opinion.  GreatNonprofits has a Zagat/Yelp-type Top Charity ratings.

5. Freelance fundraisers: Social networking, online fundraising and charity widgets have meant anyone can not only rate a charity, they can fundraise for a charity.  With 10x growth in giving on Facebook this year and the success of event-based and friends-to-friends campaigns, it’s clear that unofficial fundraisers are here to stay - and we need to empower them to take action on our behalf.

6. Trust and transparency: This is more than a buzzword(s), it’s a permanent shift.  2009 was a year of big lies.  People don’t trust institutions or organizations as much as they trust who they know.  Third-party endorsement has never been so important for your organization - as well as showing transparency and accountability in all you do.

  • Comments