Data Transforming Philanthropy, Social Economy, Report Forecasts

Data Transforming Philanthropy, Social Economy, Report Forecasts

No longer the exclusive purview of foundations and nonprofit organizations, philanthropy increasingly comprises a diverse range of forms and innovations that are transforming the so-called social economy, leading philanthropy scholar Lucy Bernholz argues in her annual industry forecast.

Published in conjunction with GrantCraft, a joint project of the New York City-based Foundation Center and the European Foundation Centre in Brussels, the fourth edition of Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2013 (30 pages, PDF) further notes that the big shifts in philanthropy that matter for both donors and "doers" are data-related. They include data-sharing practices embraced by foundations, the rise of mobile payments, and the increased emphasis on transparency and privacy concerns. Moreover, Bernholz argues, data is becoming central to how foundations, nonprofits, businesses, and policy makers shape the social economy; indeed, she asserts, the use, ownership, and access rules of data will be as important for the social economy in the twenty-first century as the charitable tax deduction was for nonprofits in the twentieth.

Looking to the year ahead, Bernholz, a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, predicts that crowdfunding will go mainstream; that technology-enabled civic engagement will deepen; that social impact bonds will gain traction in the United States; and that charitable organizations will fail in greater numbers. The report also calls for a multi-sectoral conversation around how organizations and financing systems within the social economy can complement one another, and for seeing the debate over the charitable deduction as an opportunity for the body politic and civil society to realign regulation as it pertains to social good with actual practice.

"I'm hopeful the Blueprint can contribute to a global discussion about philanthropy, nonprofits, and how we use our private resources for public benefit," said Bernholz. "There are big changes ahead, and the Blueprint gives readers a heads-up on the most meaningful trends."

"Data Are Transforming Philanthropy and the Social Economy." Foundation Center Press Release 01/07/2013.