The nonprofit sector and the philanthropy that funds it have been changing dramatically over the past several years, and there’s plenty more change to come. This month’s Social Velocity webinar, Embracing the Future of the Nonprofit Sector, will help nonprofit leaders and board members understand how the sector is changing and what they can do to keep up.
Here are some of the future trends facing the nonprofit sector that we’ll cover in this webinar:
- More Demand for Outcomes
There is a growing demand for nonprofits to 1) articulate what results they hope their work with achieve and 2) track whether those results are actually happening.
- Decreasing Emphasis on Nonprofit “Overhead”
More and more people are realizing that you can’t just invest in programs without the staff, infrastructure and fundraising to make those programs happen.
- More Advocacy for the Sector
as a Whole
The nonprofit sector has long been a fractured grouping of organizations of various sizes, business models, and issue areas. But that tide is starting to turn. We are starting to see the sector organize, mobilize and build the confidence necessary to claim its rightful place.
- Savvier Donors
Because nonprofits are getting more savvy, donors are as well. In addition to an increasing demand for proof of outcomes, donors are starting to realize that in such a stark economic environment those nonprofits that don’t have adequate infrastructure simply will not survive, let alone be able to adequately address the social problem they were organized to solve.
- Increased Efforts to Rate and Compare Nonprofits
We are increasingly evaluating nonprofits based on the results they achieve, not on how they spend their money. And to do that a whole infrastructure for evaluating and rating nonprofits is emerging and will continue to evolve as we get smarter about focusing resources on the most effective nonprofits.
These are exciting times for the nonprofit sector. This webinar will help you understand and embrace these trends.
Embracing the Future of the Nonprofit Sector
A Social Velocity Webinar
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
As with all of our webinars, the registration fee gets you access to a recording of the webinar, and the slides, so even if you can’t make this date and time, you can still register.
I hope to see you there!
Photo Credit: Adolf de Meyer
As the end of 2012 drew near, December brought the usual looking forward and looking back. It was a time to reflect on where we’d been and where we (might) be going. It was also a time to salve the pain of disaster and tragedy with hope and innovation.
Below are my top 10 reads in December in social innovation. But please add what I missed to the comments. And if you want to see an expanded list, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or ScoopIt.
You can see the 10 Great Reads lists from past months here.
- First we took a look back. Lucy Bernholz, queen of social sector predictions, reviews the ten year predictions that she made in 2010 to see how she’s doing so far. PhilanTopic offers an infographic that demonstrates how effective online and social media fundraising was in 2012.
- Then we look ahead. Writing on the Nonprofit Quarterly blog, Rick Cohen provides a wrap up of various social sector leaders’ predictions for how the nonprofit sector will change in the coming year. And Twitter’s Manager For Social Innovation describes how social media is shaping the future of nonprofits. And on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog Mark Tobias offers nonprofits Ten Technology Trends to Watch in 2013.
- Amidst the season of giving, Caroline Fiennes and Phil Buchanan explain (on the Freakeconomics blog) why giving to fewer charities is actually better.
- In a very interesting thought piece Kenneth Rogoff, economics professor at Harvard, takes issue with those who argue that our current economic troubles stem from a long-term innovation crisis.
- Building on a growing movement to get the nonprofit sector to stand up for itself, Johns Hopkins University released the results of a nonprofit sector survey that found a widespread consensus that seven values lie at the core of the nonprofit sector. But they also found that nonprofit leaders believe the sector must better articulate these values to the media, government, and general public.
- In his usual fashion, Seth Godin likes to pronounce on the nonprofit sector, a sector which he doesn’t quite understand. His post Non-profits Have a Charter to be Innovators drew some fire, but raised some interesting questions. And echoing that interest in seeing more nonprofit innovation, Google shifts their philanthropic focus in an interesting way.
- And not to be left behind, philanthropy is getting into the innovation game too with more foundations exploring design thinking.
- After the horror of the Newtown tragedy on December 14th, this collection of 26 photos from 2012 helped restore our faith in humanity and was a much needed salve.
- The Red Cross provided a great case study on how pull (instead of push) marketing can work in the nonprofit world.
- Something really interesting came out of hurricane Sandy: crowdfunding disaster relief. No longer is disaster response the sole responsibility of government and large nonprofits, individuals set up their own relief efforts via social media.
Photo Credit: Svenstorm
My annual predictions for the coming year are probably a bit more wishful thinking than actual prediction. It’s hard to say if my predictions for 2011 became a reality for the sector as a whole. But I am ever an optimist and continue to think that the nonprofit sector is getting smarter, more effective, and better able to create real, lasting change in our communities. I truly believe that our challenging economy offers nonprofits a real opportunity to reinvent themselves.
So here are my predictions (hopes) for what the nonprofit sector will move towards in 2012:
- More Open, Engaging Organizations
Smart nonprofits are getting better at engaging armies of supporters. In order to do that, they have to cede some control. Nonprofits that can allow volunteers, donors and advocates to engage their friends in their own way will unleash a growing army of support for their organizations. Those nonprofits that continue to control the message and the method, that only engage their donors when they need money, and ignore the increasingly networked world will wither on the vine.
- Smarter Boards
I am an endless optimist when it comes to nonprofit boards of directors. Boards are, for the most part, dysfunctional, but I believe that they are getting smarter and more effective. I think boards will start asking more and better questions, increasingly put themselves to their highest and best use, focus more on strategic issues as opposed to day-to-day tasks, empower their staff leadership to take the organization in more innovative directions, and start putting their money (and their networks) where their mouth is. Because this new harsher environment absolutely necessitates a smart, strategic, innovative board.
- More Honest Communication Between Nonprofits and Their Donors
Oh yes, I do, I do believe it. The nonprofit sector’s proclivity to endlessly beat around the bush, tell donors what they want to hear, and sugar-coat the truth will start to wane in the new year. Because the reality is that a severely under-resourced nonprofit sector is the new normal. That truth is harder and harder to hide. Nonprofits need more money for infrastructure, more and better staff, technology. And they need their donors to step up to the plate and fund it. Those nonprofits that continue to fear their donors will continue to struggle. Those that take the leap and tell donors how it is, how it REALLY is, will propel themselves out of the starvation cycle.
- More Strategic Approaches to Solving Social Problems
It’s increasingly meaningless for nonprofits to talk about the “good work” they do. In order to attract donors, nonprofits must be able to articulate what they do and how it results in change. This necessitates an overall strategic approach to their work. From creating a theory of change, to developing on a comprehensive strategy, to raising the money required to execute on that strategy, to aligning money and mission, to evaluating their efforts, to translating their evaluation into a compelling story, nonprofits have to get more strategic. Those organizations that take a step back and create, and fully integrate their organization into, a long-term plan will be much more successful and sustainable.
- More Financed Nonprofits
As part of this more strategic approach, nonprofits will (must) move towards a broader, more strategic approach to funding their work. They will realize that the hamster wheel of chasing receding dollars in a scattered approach just isn’t going to cut it anymore. As the fundamental economic restructuring that we are currently experiencing continues, nonprofits must create a financial model for their work. The financial status quo just will no longer work in the nonprofit sector.
I’m not a fortune teller, but I am an optimist. I have tremendous hope for our great nonprofit sector. We may be in the depths of an on-going, structurally transformative recession, but it in no way is the death knell for the nonprofit sector. It is simply an opportunity for nonprofits to get smarter, more honest, more open, more strategic, and more sustainable. And that’s exciting.
Photo Credit: riptheskull
November was another great month in the world of social innovation. Here is my pick of the top 10 posts, articles, graphics, and discussions. As always, please add your favorites from the month to the comments. And if you want to see a longer list of what catches my eye, follow me on Twitter @nedgington. You can also read past months’ 10 Great Reads lists here.
- Some very interesting reports and predictions on how nonprofits and philanthropy are changing. First, the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation predicts a pretty exciting future for philanthropy. And Blackbaud released a report on what 35 experts think it will take to grow philanthropic giving in the US. And finally the 2011 Nonprofit Almanac is out. The annual report shows the nonprofit sector growing and that giving is back to 2000 levels
- DC Central Kitchen founder and nonprofit sector advocate Robert Egger launched a new group called CForward to help nonprofits fight for their rightful place at the political table.
- The Washington Post gets into the social innovation business by launching a new “On Giving” section to discuss philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, socially responsible business and much more.
- The Nonprofit Finance Fund offers a great worksheet to assess a nonprofit’s strengths and weaknesses in order to link their financial health to their impact. Love it!
- HubSpot offers a great infographic on pull vs. push marketing, but I’d argue it applies to fundraising as well.
- The Alliance for Global Good is launching a $10 million fund to promote innovation in philanthropy. The new fund will “draw attention to charities that have found new approaches to tough problems and provide money to help them expand their work.”
- On the Unsectored blog Jeff Raderstrong encourages us to start asking the right questions about the charitable deduction currently the focus of so much debate.
- Always one to tell it like it is, Mario Morino from Venture Philanthropy Partners offers 6 Wrenching Questions Every Board Member Must Answer.
- Jim Kucher argues on his blog that there is a bipolar disorder in social entrepreneurship, between the competing, and sometimes conflicting, social and business perspectives.
- Tom Tierney, chairman of Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit consultancy, has written a paper, “The Donor-Grantee Trap, about the dangers of the nonprofit starvation cycle. In a recent interview about it, he argues “Nonprofits should be clear about their definition of success, articulate their strategy for achieving success and be up front about what that costs. That includes understanding the organization’s true overhead costs and making a case for funding good overhead.” Amen to that!
Photo Credit: Sim Van Gyseghem
I’m delighted to announce that I will be Michael Chatman’s guest on this week’s Giving Show. Michael was voted America’s Maverick Philanthropist and one of the nation’s leading authorities on new philanthropy. He heads the nation’s largest network of mission-related philanthropists giving up to $50,000 annually, The Association of Maverick Philanthropists.
Michael hosts a weekly radio show, called the Giving Show, the largest weekly audience devoted to the topic of philanthropy.
I’ll be Michael’s guest this week on Thursday, September 8th at 11:30am Eastern. You can click here to listen then.
We’ll be talking about Financing Not Fundraising, how to get your donors to be more effective, how philanthropy is changing, what the social entrepreneurship movement means for nonprofits and much more. I hope you’ll join us.
Click here to listen to the Giving Show on Thursday at 11:30am Eastern.
- The Nonprofit Sector and the
Philanthropy That Funds It Are
Find Out How to Keep Up
in our June 25th
Embracing the Future of the
Nonprofit Sector Webinar