What buzzwords will take off in the social sector in 2015? What exactly is an Artivist? Lucy Bernholz answers these and other questions in Philanthropy and the Social Sector: Blueprint 2015 which was recently released on Foundation Center's GrantCraft site.
In this year's edition, Bernholz looks at the "structure of the social economy in the context of pervasive digitization." Here are just a few things that caught my eye.
Nonprofits vs. Individuals
One interesting development she traces in "Big Ideas That Matter for 2015" is how nonprofits are being challenged by individuals in regards to fundraising for causes, especially via social networks. Fundraising campaigns are now being driven by individuals (e.g. the immensely popular Ice Bucket Challenge) and no longer completely dominated by charities. Even a virtual "land grab" attempt by the ALS Association to trademark the phrase "Ice Bucket Challenge" ended up being widely disparaged by the digital community, which seems to indicate an overall trend that "online supporters may well be more allied with a cause than with an organization."
Predictions & Wildcards
It's fun trying to predict the future, and Bernholz uses her extensive knowledge of the sector to peer ahead. Here are some foundation-related predictions that could impact grantseekers in 2015 and beyond:
- The fossil fuel divestment movement among foundations will get a lot of attention but not a lot of members.
- Large U.S. foundations will develop a suite of intellectual property options for their grantees and program-related investments.
- Foundations will be asked to bail out another city facing bankruptcy. They will refuse.
- Foundations and nonprofits will start hiring data scientists.
- Impact investing as a practice will gain regular coverage in mainstream business and finance media.
She also throws in a few wildcards. For example, she feels that the U.S. Congress will place new requirements on donor-advised funds, and that amounts raised via crowdfunding platforms will finally be included in global measures of charitable giving.
Buzzwords & The Future
Giving Days are finally getting their due, in large part because of the huge success of #GivingTuesday. So are Artivists, who are using art for protest and to get things done. There's even a book of artivist case studies! Take a look the Buzzword Watch section to read up wearables, Internet of Things, and smart cities, among others.
Looking to the future, Bernholz sheds light on other important developments, including the intersection of political funding and charitable giving, noting that contributions to politically active nonprofits (where donor disclosure is not required) have now passed the amount of funding flowing through PACs, where donors are disclosed. This could have major consequences on charitable giving as a whole, and could conceivably end the era of anonymous giving. She also discusses three potential big-picture scenarios for civil society (cohabitation, cross-fertilization, and antagonism) and how they may play out over the coming decades.
Foundation Center-New York