The 5th Annual Industry Forecast, Blueprint 2014 – Philanthropy and the Social Economy, was recently released by Lucy Bernholz. Bernholz is known as the “philanthropy game changer” by The Huffington Post and was named to The Nonprofit Times’ annual list of 50 most influential people. Bernholz breaks down the information into several chapters: Expanding Horizons; Insight: Big Shifts that Matter; Foresight: Predictions for 2014; Hindsight: Previous Forecasts; and Glimpses of the Future.
Within the Insight: Big Shifts that Matter chapter, Bernholz states, “There are three areas where the adoption of digital practices is changing the root structure of work in the social economy. The first has to do with the nature of voluntary association which requires a degree of privacy and freedom that may be in jeopardy online. The second has to do with the nature of ownership and governance, two ideas experiencing a cycle of reconsideration in our digital era. And the third takes us back to data and the way they might become a backbone resource for the social economy.” Bernholz goes on to say, “While there are major efforts underway to collect better information about nonprofits and foundations and the revenue that supports them, we still have a long way to go before this information becomes a valuable resource of and for the work of the social economy.”
Like Bernholz stated, there are efforts underway to use data collected on nonprofit organizations. For example, the IRS has begun to use the data collected from Form 990s to develop potential indicators of noncompliance for their exam process. They are using data to help them focus in on certain aspects within compliance, such as charitable spending, compensation, and unrelated business income tax.
The chapter I was most curious about was Foresight: Predictions for 2014. Here are some predictions that caught my attention:
• We will experience a major scandal in the crowdfunding marketplace.
• A nonprofit standard for data privacy will develop.
• Nonprofit organizations or consortia will take over city functions such as managing transportation infrastructure. Nonprofits will become the savior for financially strapped cities.
• Proposals for moving oversight of American nonprofit organizations out of the IRS and creating a new charities regulatory authority will come to pass.
Out of the 12 predictions Bernholz made for 2013, she was right on 67% of them. I am in agreement on the development of a nonprofit standard for data privacy. Large corporations are currently under fire for breach of personal data – what makes nonprofits any different? Blueprint 2014 provides interesting insight into the philanthropic sector. I encourage you to browse the report and think about your predictions for 2014.