Philanthropic Disruptions: Everything and the Kitchen Sink

Global Impact Partner Solutions Senior Director Brandolon Barnett writes: 

"Nonprofits and philanthropy are, of course, no more immune than anything else to the cascading forces of “disruption” in modern-day American society. Whether through technology or the convergence of previously siloed activities into integrated platforms, the impact of these forces—which includes new ways in which technology enables us to work and give—is causing shifts across the charitable landscape that are shaping new donor behaviors and trends.

For instance, let us consider the potentially disruptive role that the enhanced visibility of social enterprises (B Corps or other hybrid entities), sustainable products, crowdfunding, and other innovations may play in a new “social good economy.” The emergence of these forms within the consciousness of donors and funders conceivably increases competition for the same pool of dollars earmarked for social good in that a donor, desiring to do good, may see as much value in “giving to” or investing in a crowdfunding effort by a local environmentally friendly B Corp as he or she does in donating to a local environmental charity. Interestingly, this expansion of vehicles in which one can invest for the social good does not appear to have made any observable financial encroachment on the more traditional forms. Nevertheless, the moment calls for a “pause” to consider what donors are newly looking for in their relationships with organizations carrying out the work they care about. And, arguably, what is being sought is a greater sense of community and belonging—a sense of being an important player in a common cause..."

Read the full article as it originally appears in the Nonprofit Quarterly's fall 2017 edition.