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Weekly News Alert: The Future of Philanthropy!


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On the Future of Philanthropy...

  • The New York Times terms the everyday donor as “philanthropy’s newest hero” and states that it is the smaller donors (who are being organized around the principle of modest giving) which charities are beginning to target.  The article cites smaller scale efforts, like the Facebook group Fight Global Poverty and the online fund-raising organization, GlobalGiving, which have had big impact.
  • Innovative nonprofit organizations are revolutionizing the nonprofit field.  A blog post by Fast Company highlights Kiva as an organization that has implemented an innovative financial structure, “taking big risks and changing the face of entrepreneurship and social cause in the process.”  It cites Kiva as being part of a new generation and predicts that like-minded organizations will become leaders in the nonprofit field.
  • Interaction Institute for Social Change offers a summary of the new report, Convergence: How Five Trends Will Reshape the Social Sector, recently published by La Piana Associates.  The report argues that, as a result of the economic crisis, the social sector has begun (and will continue) to converge and collaborate.  It also offers suggestions and warnings about the most effective ways to move forward.
  • The University of Southern California hosted the Social Innovation Fast Pitch on Wednesday, November 11.  The event brought nonprofit leaders, social entrepreneurs and venture capitalists together in a type of professional development program.  The program is partially based on the for-profit model in which “potential investment opportunities are vetted and then presented to potential investors.”  This model is different from the traditional nonprofit model in which the potential investee approaches the potential investor without having been vetted.  This event reflects the rising trend of nonprofits adopting for-profit models.
  • A new database, TRASI (by McKinsey & Co and The Foundation Center) provides a list of 150 different tools for assessing impact.  It can be organized in a number of different ways and users can even suggest new tools, making it a public source.  Philanthropy 2173 offers a list and summary of several other databases in the philanthropic world and suggests best methods for making use of these databases. 

On Change Management...

  • Currently, the field of change management is defined by ‘best practices.’  These best practices though are neither “deep nor broad,” according to the Fast Company Blog.  Knowing that communication is important, for example, does not help the person in charge of communicating understand human behavior.  Leaders in the field need to ask themselves if these best practices really help them understand what they need to do differently.

On Diversity...

  • Trista Harris of New Voices of Philanthropy publishes what she says will be a controversial post about situations in which segregation is good.  She makes three basic arguments to support her claim.  The first is that while diversity is important, it also takes a lot of time and energy to get people to understand where you are coming from.  The second is that you can get into deeper work more quickly if you do not have to explain the backstory and lastly, she says that “being with people with similar backgrounds and experiences can be a time of regeneration.”
  • An article by The Chronicle of Philanthropy states that while Hispanics make up a large portion of the population in California (36%), they make up a very small percentage of leadership roles at nonprofit organizations (about 9%).  The trend is mirrored in leadership positions held by other minority populations in California as well and the study concludes that “California’s nonprofit sector is not as diverse as its population.”

On Sustainability...

  • Ravi Sawhney of Fast Company attended the Opportunity Green conference held in L.A. this past weekend and blogs about the types of opportunities lessons learned from the conference offer businesses.  The conference looked at the unsustainably of the consumer society we live in and suggested that we need to build a new paradigm for sustainable products, but more importantly we need to create sustainable experiences.  These sustainable experiences are a result of connecting people and creating experiences that feel like rewards rather than obligations.  The nonprofit world could apply these same principles.


Top Articles:
New Face for the  Everyday Donor
Author: Stephanie Strom
Date: November 11, 2009
Source: The New York Times

How Charity Newcomers are Revolutionizing the Non-Profit Sector
Author: David Capece
Date: November 12, 2009
Source: Fast Company

We’re All Futurists Now
Author: Curtis Ogden
Date: November 12, 2009
Source: IISC Blog 
Author: Heather Gowdy, Alex Hildebrand, David La Piana, Melissa Mendes Campos
Date: November 2009
Source: La Piana Consulting
Author: Sean Stannard-Stockton
Date: November 9, 2009
Source: Tactical Philanthropy
More data platforms for philanthropy
Author: Lucy Bernholz
Date: November 12, 2009
Source: Philanthropy 2173
Author: Melissa Dutmers
Date: November 9, 2009
Source: Fast Company Blog
Author: Trista Harris
Date: November 9, 2009
Source: New Voices of Philanthropy
Hispanics Hold Few Leadership Positions at Calif. Nonprofit Groups
Author: Ian Wilhelm
Date: November 12, 2009
Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy
New Models for Engaging Consumers: A Report from Opportunity Green
Author: Ravi Sawheny
Date: November 11. 209
Source: Fast Company