2012 Predictions for the Social Sector

Too often in the social sector, our organizations are like rowboats, we are all rowing in the same direction but we are looking backwards as we do it. My personal plan for 2012 is to be more forward thinking, so that I can anticipate what will happen next and prepare for it, rather than being reactive to yesterday's problem. In that spirit, here are my predictions for the social sector in 2012:

0% processing fee for donations

In response to mass protests against the financial services industries, a forward-thinking credit card company decides to demonstrate extreme corporate citizenship and eliminate credit card fees for donations on a charity donation site like www.Razoo.com. Their market share increases significantly, nonprofits see a boost to their bottom line, and other credit card companies quickly follow suit. By 2015, charity donations enjoy 0% fees across donation platforms.

Nonprofit intellectual property infringement

A small nonprofit sued a corporate philanthropy program that uses crowdsourcing contests. In court papers the nonprofit alleged that the corporate giving program used the contest to identify promising trends in the social sector and then funded larger nonprofits to implement those strategies.

95% for social enterprise

A large, national foundation changed its investment strategy from traditional investments that have little mission impact, to 100% of its endowment invested in social enterprise projects. The range of projects that they support include grocery stores in inner city, wind projects, and a Zipcar franchise. The foundation saw an increase in investment returns and was able to leverage its entire endowment for its mission.

Millennial movement

A Top 100 nonprofit hired a CEO from the millennial generation. The organization touts their new CEO's ability to ability to harness the power of technology and manage remote teams. Nonprofit sector analysts watch this placement carefully to determine if this is representative of a new wave of hiring from traditional organizations that are looking to completely revamp the way that they do work.

Common grants become common

Regional Associations of Grantmakers from across the country announce that they have partnered together to create a universal common grant application. The application is widely adopted by grantmakers and significantly reduces the paperwork burden on nonprofits.

Career Agents

An enterprising recruitment firm has identified the trend of Gen X and Gen Y employees taking an increasing number project-based appointments with nonprofit organizations. To capitalize on this trend they added to their staff of recruiters a handful of "career agents", that are not hired by the nonprofit but are retained by the individual nonprofit professional. These career agents identify positions and negotiate on behalf of the professional.


What changes do you see happening in 2012 for the social sector?