Spring is right around the corner, but it's not too late to share Lucy Bernholz's look back at 2012 and her predictions for 2013 in Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2013 which is now published by GrantCraft. This year, she uses the term "social economy" to call more attention to the landscape shift she introduced a few years ago. In this post I'll highlight her takes on developments in data sharing last year (where the Foundation Center played a key role) and list a few of her predictions for the coming year.
A Look Back at Big Data
In the section "Foundations Go Big on Data" Bernholz tells us that more than a dozen meaningful efforts at sharing philanthropic data took flight in 2012. Three of them involved the Foundation Center. The first was the Reporting Commitment, which is a commitment by 15 of the nation's largest foundations to open up, or share, their commonly-coded grants. She calls this a "breakthrough in gathering grants data."
The second is the Center's relaunch of IssueLab, which uses Creative Commons licensing to organize and share research funded and conducted by foundations and nonprofits.
Lastly, she notes that the Foundation Center is among many other major data providers (including GuideStar, MicroEdge, TechSoupGlobal, and the World Bank Institute) that are collaborating to link and connect their data so donors and doers can make better sense of philanthropic opportunities.
Predictions for 2013
What will this year bring? Here are five predictions (from a total of 12) for 2013. In particular, Bernholz thinks that 2013 will see state legislatures and courts play key roles on nonprofit disclosure, social businesses and taxes.
- Congress will change the rules on tax deductions: this will happen in the first half of the year, with Congress setting lower limits for charitable deductions for the wealthiest donors.
- Crowdfunding will go mainstream: she points out that Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the power of crowdfunding, as neighbors applied it as well as "crowdfinding" tools to assist hard hit neighborhoods.
- Technology-enabled civic engagement will grow: she says the aim of organizations like CodeForAmerica is to make "public service sexy again."
- Charitable organizations will fail in greater numbers, and we might have accurate data on this (two predictions in one): financial pressures of the last four years will take their toll on nonprofits. She states that charities providing "lifeline" services are facing increased demand, but more than half of them had fewer than three months cash on hand.
- Asian philanthropists will grow in prominence and visibility in 2013: Wealthy Asians will continue to become global players in philanthropy, but in their own ways, mostly staying outside the bounds of the Giving Pledge and other western efforts.
Other sections in Blueprint 2013 include her Buzzword Watch (MOOCs, anyone?) and Wildcards, or "predictable unpredictables." Bernholz also examines her previous forecasts, and examines the future of the social economy, where alternative corporate forms and pro-social investments are creating a "fundamentally different set of systems for using private resources for public good."
Foundation Center--New York
(This post originally appeared last week on the Nonprofit Literature Blog)