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Philanthropy and Digital Civil Society: Blueprint 2022

December 14, 2021

Philanthropy and Digital Civil Society: Blueprint is an annual industry forecast about the ways we use private resources for public benefit in the digital age. Each year, the Blueprint provides an overview of the current landscape, points to big ideas that matter, and directs your attention to horizons where you can expect some important breakthroughs in the coming year.

Digital Surveillance, Civil Society and the Media during the Covid-19 Pandemic

October 22, 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, so did many digital technologies promising to improve the public health response. These technologies raised various concerns for civil liberties in the digital age, from infringing on privacy to institutionalizing mass surveillance capacities. This media monitoring projects explores how English-language news organizations worldwide reported on these digital surveillance initiatives over the period of a year. By analyzing news framing, it provides insights into the contours of public debates on digitally driven public health surveillance. The report sheds light on the evolution of coverage over time, its geographic distribution, whose voices were included and excluded from these debates, and the prevalence of mis/dis-information. It also highlights the place of civil society in these narratives; which civil society organizations appeared most often in the media; what roles they played vis-à-vis digital surveillance; and the racial and gender make up of civil society voices appearing in news coverage. It provides a set of recommendations and resources for civil society groups and journalists working on the intersection of civil liberties, public health, and digital technologies.

Philanthropy and Digital Civil Society: Blueprint 2019

January 1, 2018

This report is an annual industry forecast about the ways private resources are used for public benefit in the digital age. Each year, the Blueprint provides an overview of the current landscape, points to big ideas that matter, and directs the attention to horizons where some important breakthroughs can be expected in the coming year.

Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2017

December 14, 2016

"Blueprint 2017" is an annual industry forecast about the ways we use private resources for public benefit. It provides an overview of the current landscape, points to major trends, and directs your attention to horizons where you can expect some important breakthroughs in the coming year.

Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2016

December 9, 2015

"Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2016" is an annual industry forecast about the ways we use private resources for public benefit. Each year, the Blueprint provides an overview of the current landscape, points to major trends, and directs your attention to horizons where you can expect some important breakthroughs in the coming year.

Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2015

December 9, 2014

This report is an annual industry forecast about the social economy - private resources used for public benefit. Each year, the Blueprint provides an overview of the current landscape, points to major trends, and directs your attention to horizons where you can expect some important breakthroughs in the coming year. This year, the horizons have been broadened to include insights from 14 countries other than the United States, possible due to a new working relationship with Betterplace lab in Berlin.

Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2014

December 4, 2013

This report is an annual industry forecast written by leading philanthropy scholar Lucy Bernholz about the social economy -- private capital used for public good. The Foundation Center and the European Foundation Centre are pleased to again partner with Lucy to offer this report as a GrantCraft guide. It provides an overview of the current landscape, points to major trends, and directs your attention to horizons where you can expect some important breakthroughs in the coming year.What's in the Guide?Expanding Horizons: The social economy is one way of thinking about all of the tools we use to apply our private resources for public good. This frame was first introduced in Blueprint 2012 and was explored in greater depth last year, and has focused on the American context. This year, Lucy examines the social economy of Europe to better define this lens and expand understanding.Insight: Big Shifts that Matter: Building from a basic understanding of the social economy, the big shift that matters going forward is positioning that world of enterprises and revenue in a digital frame. This section examines digital civil society through discussions of associations and privacy, ownership and governance, and data as a starting resource. It also makes the case for why this frame matters.Buzzword Watch: Some of the year's most-talked-about ideas and buzzwords that may catch your ear in the year ahead.Foresight: Predictions for 2014: A round-up of predictions about policy, infrastructure, technology-enabled civic engagement, crowdfunding scandal, personal privacy, and e-filing with the IRS.2014 Wildcards: "Predictable unpredictables" including the nonprofit takeover of city functions, benefit corporations, the European Foundation form, and natural disasters.Hindsight: Previous Forecasts: Lucy's scorecard for her 2013 predictions: 7 right, 3 wrong, 1 with no data, and 1 that was both right and wrong.Glimpses of the Future: Lucy shares thoughts on how civic tech could impact communities and what ethics of data we need to be thinking about.

Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2013

January 7, 2013

This report is an annual industry forecast written by leading philanthropy scholar Lucy Bernholz about the social economy -- private capital used for public good. The Foundation Center and the European Foundation Centre are pleased to partner with Lucy to offer this toolkit as a GrantCraft guide. The Blueprint provides an overview of the current landscape, points to major trends, and directs your attention to horizons where you can expect some important breakthroughs in the coming year.What's in the Guide?What Is the Social Economy? The social economy is one way of thinking about all of the tools we use to apply our private resources for public good. Where once this was largely the domain of charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations, we now use social businesses, impact investing, campaign contributions, social welfare organizations, peer-to-peer giving, crowdfunding platforms, and informal networks to make the change we want.Insight: Big Shifts that Matter: A "digital infrastructure" is emerging for the social economy and individual actors are contributing to it, using it, and changing their work because of it. This section examines three implications of data -- starting with new sharing practices by big foundations. It also discusses the rise of mobile payments as a means of individual giving, and the critical responsibilities of social economy enterprises regarding transparency and privacy.Buzzword Watch: Some of the year's most-talked-about ideas and buzzwords that may catch your ear in the year ahead.Foresight: Predictions for 2013: A round-up of predictions about U.S. policy, crowdfunding, technology-enabled civic engagement, social impact bonds, nonprofit challenges, and Asian philanthropists.2013 Wildcards: "Predictable unpredictables" including impact investing, policy changes, Benefit corporations, and food and water insecurity around the world.Hindsight: Previous Forecasts: Lucy's scorecard for her 2012 predictions: 11 right, two wrong, and two with no data.Glimpses of the Future: The social economy frame is intended to help us see the full range of business ventures, charitable efforts, philanthropy, and investment capital geared toward producing positive social results. The slow spread of alternative corporate forms (B corporations and L3Cs), the rise of businesses pursuing social missions, and the increased use of philanthropic endowments for pro-social investments all add up to a fundamentally different set of systems for using private resources for public good. This final section projects potential implications of behavior changes, policy debates, and shifting social assumptions.

Evaluating Innovation

May 31, 2011

In their pursuit of the public good, foundations face two competing forces -- the pressure to do something new and the pressure to do something proven. The epigraph to this paper, "Give me something new and prove that it works," is my own summary of what foundations often seek. These pressures come from within the foundations -- their staff or boards demand them, not the public. The aspiration to fund things that work can be traced to the desire to be careful, effective stewards of resources. Foundations' recognition of the growing complexity of our shared challenges drives the increased emphasis on innovation. Issues such as climate change, political corruption, and digital learning andwork environments have enticed new players into the social problem-solving sphere and have con-vinced more funders of the need to find new solutions. The seemingly mutually exclusive desires for doing something new and doing something proven are not new, but as foundations have grown in number and size the visibility of the paradox has risen accordingly.Even as foundations seek to fund innovation, they are also seeking measurements of those investments success. Many people's first response to the challenge of measuring innovation is to declare the intention oxymoronic. Innovation is by definition amorphous, full of unintended consequences, and a creative, unpredictable process -- much like art. Measurements, assessments, evaluation are -- also by most definitions -- about quantifying activities and products. There is always the danger of counting what you can count, even if what you can count doesn't matter.For all our awareness of the inherent irony of trying to measure something that we intend to be unpredictable, many foundations (and others) continue to try to evaluate their innovation efforts. They are, as John Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Quinn Patton put it in "Getting to Maybe", grappling with "....intentionality and complexity -- (which) meet in tension." It is important to see the struggles to measure for what they are -- attempts to evaluate the success of the process of innovation, not necessarily the success of the individual innovations themselves. This is not a semantic difference.What foundations are trying to understand is how to go about funding innovation so that more of it can happenExamples in this report were chosen because they offer a look at innovation within the broader scope of a foundation's work. This paper is the fifth in a series focused on field building. In this context I am interested in where evaluation fits within an innovation strategy and where these strategies fit within a foundation's broader funding goals. I will present a typology of innovation drawn from the OECD that can be useful inother areas. I lay the decisions about evaluation made by Knight, MacArthur, and the Jewish NewMedia Innovation Funders against their program-matic goals. Finally, I consider how evaluating innovation may improve our overall use of evaluation methods in philanthropy.

Disrupting Philanthropy: Technology and the Future of the Social Sector

May 10, 2010

Explores current philanthropic trends; the effects of networked technologies on funders' and enterprises' goals and strategies, social capital building, impact measurement, and accountability; and future projections. Includes case studies.

Community Philanthropy and Social Media

August 15, 2008

Summarizes trends in technological adoption by community foundations since 2005 and the role online marketplaces, social networks, wikis, and other resources play in community philanthropy. Discusses emerging developments and their implications.

On the Brink of New Promise: The Future of U.S. Community Foundations

September 1, 2005

Explores the evolution of community philanthropy, and analyzes the combination of factors that have recently altered the entire field. Looks at new options and opportunities, and outlines the changes necessary in order to adapt in a new environment.