Posts Tagged philanthropy

Future Predictions on Thrivability

Clay Shirky, over on BoingBoing, asks for predictions of the future – 5 years.

There are many possible futures of course that could arise. And I can’t predict the likelihood of this one, but it is the one I am working to make manifest.

  • Convergence of multiple generations around social change actions. From boomers to Gen x, and down to millenials and beyond, more attention will be flowing toward making the world a better place. Efforts like Earth Councils will blossom in the post election energy of community organizing success, helping to weave the best of different generations together into community action – local groups having local effects compounded across the country and possibly the world.
  • Evolution of tools, practices, and vision addressing the information flow issues, enabling unification of relevant content streams, edit-ability and gardening leading to more refined, less noisy information for timely actions. SocialActions.org, wiser, and connectipedia as examples of what is moving us in this direction.
  • Part of the evolution of tools will be leaps in understanding and use of metrics and currencies including a major burst in how we see and leverage acknowledgment currencies – especially the reputation of people and information.
  • Massive contractions in financial resource flow (and thus attention too) will drive major flow innovations. Let’s expand that to major innovations in many domains – particularly community infomatics, green science, and collaboration technologies (and practices) -will be high-speed driven by necessity and visionary leaders.
  • The social benefit sector will carry markets to a much greater degree, as everyone knows someone who has suffered losses/poverty/or illness pushing acts of compassion/sympathy to become acts of empathy. This further connects us all, even as greater divides in wealth expand (for only a few more years before collapse). This empathic connections leads to greater philanthropy and support of social benefit organizations.
  • Rolling or cascading crisis wake up the sleeping giants of philanthropy, with those of wealth (including foundations) opening up to radical shifts in practice as their best opportunities for impact (which is desperately needed). More donors will give while living. While wealth transfer predictions will be off base in a changing evaluation of US currency, still massive amounts of money will be in the hands of people compelled to use their inheritance for community and innovation investment rather than market investment.
  • B corporations and social entrepreneurship will become the darlings of the business world to ever greater degrees – luring talent (and investment) focused on social good. (See B corporations, Social Markets, Good Capital, Skoll, Ashoka, Acumen, etc.) Marketing will continue to follow suit with companies racing to be triple bottom line (creating a spike of opportunity for accountants who can manage multiple forms of currency). Greenwashing will be squashed through crowdsourced data on companies, which we can already see emerging. Imagine OsoEco and dozens of other green social networks already online resonating with  information flows like Twitter and service companies like GetSatisfaction.
  • There will be less chatter about so called “democracy” and more focus on how functional systems really work while offering fairness and justice. Not only we will be rebuilding physical infrastructure, we will be evolving human structures for collaboration that are more fair and better honor participant contributions and needs in balance with group purpose.
  • Work will happen differently. Less formal organizations and more loosely affiliated networks grouping toward some shared vision and action will band together, act, and disband like flashmobs to make things happen without wasteful overhead.
  • So much more! And it will be more and more sudden as convergence of energy, purpose, and opportunity accelerate how what we do manifests in the world… things will appear low visibility, but the ability of networks to connect with what is visible AND seen by the right collaborators; thus fluidly merging networks of purpose.
  • Finally, a deepening sense of spirituality will underscore all of this with people acting from a sense of their karma and happiness to do good in the world (as well as people acting from fear and pain to do good in the world too). Beingness is on the rise.

What do you think will be emerging in the next 5 years? What will vital junctures or decision points be? How will these changes be made possible and powerful?

Note: this video of Tom Munnecke with Barbara Marx Hubbard resonates here.

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Thrivability in Philanthropy

Looking at thrivability just within the philanthropic sector (some are on the edge of the philanthropic spectrum)

  • democratization of philanthropy, microphilanthropy
  • microloans (blending into investment rather than gifts) like Kiva
  • giving while living (rather than leaving large bequests) such as Buffett, Omidyar, and a handful of other uber-wealthy givers
  • mission-related investing
  • social entrepreneurship via philanthropy as in Ashoka supported fellows
  • spend-down foundations (use money now rather than hoarding 95%+ for future needs and name glory into infinity)
  • games and challenge granting

What other areas of philanthropy do you think are shifting our world toward thrivability?

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