A Profusion of Philanthropic Prognostication

The turn of the calendar to a new year inevitably brings a slew of predictions for what the new year will hold. The philanthropy and nonprofit sectors aren’t immune to the pull of the prognosticating pundit. In the past 30 days, I’ve read these pieces (in approximate chronological order):

So, were there any trends to the trends? Yes, a few that weren’t surprising:

  • The rise of alternate forms of doing social good – LLCs, B Corps, impact investments, and more
  • The increasing impact of mega-wealthy philanthropists and their willingness to be activist givers in number of issues
  • Opposite to mega-philanthropy, the broadened use of social media and online tools to engage large crowds of everyday people in giving and activism
  • Increasing attention to “effective altruism” and other philanthropy driven by metrics and impact analyses
  • The potential of increased scrutiny of the philanthropic and nonprofit sector, more likely by state regulators and the public than by the IRS and Congress
  • Public and political debates about tough issues carrying over to the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, including about racial equity, inequality, gun control, climate change, and campaign finance and voting reforms.

Of course, you could choose to ignore the predictions. Phil Buchanan, President of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, tweeted


Unfortunately, the sector lost one of most thoughtful (and occasionally aggravating) journalists and trend trackers, Rick Cohen. He was a long-time writer for Nonprofit Quarterly and former executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. His predictions for 2015 are still issues to watch in 2016.

Did I miss any predictions for the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors?