Earlier this year I developed 7 predictions for the philanthropic sector for the Minnesota Council on Foundations. I’ll admit that some of these predictions are based on current trends, others are wishful thinking, but the purpose of futurism isn’t to predict the future but to help shape it by presenting some ideas to unstick us from the current reality. Let me know what you agree with, disagree with, or would add to the list in the comments below.
Shift to Collective Impact
More and more foundations become frustrated by the lack of movement on our communities’ most pressing problems and start to coordinate across sectors to achieve large-scale social change. While this means many foundations must put their own individual theories of change on the backburner for a more collective approach, the results create a new incentive to be flexible.
Rise of the Funder Collaborative
As foundations take a more proactive approach to accomplishing their objectives, they are increasingly relying on networks to spur the substantial human and financial resources required to move the needle on complex community issues. This spurs innovation, sharing of best practices, and a more targeted approach to creating change.
Mission-related investment grow
More and more foundations start intentional conversations about the “other 95%”, the 95% of foundation assets that are not used for grantmaking and are often invested in the stock market. Questions about how to better leverage those dollars lead to more foundations putting a growing portion of their assets in mission related investment, that seek to achieve specific environmental or social goals while targeting market rate returns. An effort to recognize foundations that put a specific percentage of their assets is developed and popularized.
Solving big problems with Big Data
Realizing that the disjointed nature of foundation funding gives us only a small picture of what is happening in the nonprofit sector, more foundations pool their data and expertise to analyze trends happening in the nonprofit sector. Efforts like Compass, housed at the Wilder Research Center, and Generation Next, housed at the Greater Twin Cities United Way, are supercharged by foundations sharing proprietary information from grantee reports.
After a roller coaster ride of a Give to the Max Day in 2013, that broke previous fundraising record despite technical glitches that rendered the site inaccessible for 5 hours, GiveMN works with their website vendor Razoo to ensure site stability and reliability. In 2014, GiveMN reaffirms its place as the go to place for Minnesota giving and Give to the Max Day 2014 breaks national fundraising records.
Minnesota launches a Coalition of Communities of Color
Inspired by a summer 2013 meeting with leaders of a similar effort in Portland, leaders of Minnesota’s people of color led nonprofits launch a similar initiative. The purpose of the coalition is to address institutional racism and socioeconomic disparities but the group will gain momentum with their joint work on addressing Minnesota’s persistent education disparities.
Planning for disaster before disaster strikes
As once every 100 year storms, flooding, and man made disasters become even more common, the current philanthropic strategy of convening funders to develop a plan after disaster hits becomes increasingly unworkable. Minnesota foundations will team up with elected officials, first responders, the Red Cross, nonprofits that have deep roots in the community, and community foundations with connections to individual donors to develop a philanthropic response template that can be adjusted for each disaster.