Where Is Sector Headed, Trending?

Where is the nonprofit sector heading? That’s a tough one. But, at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Fundraising Conference, Kay Sprinkel Grace mentioned several trends in both the sector and the world at large to answer the question of where it’s all going.

Consider the following:
* Foundations are following the Ford Foundation and shifting focus entirely to a cause.
* Donors are partnering for greater impact.
* The majority of giving is still from individuals and it is still mission/vision/values driven.
* People still give to make a difference (but now they call it “impact”) and because they believe in a cause.
* Donors want to be appreciated.
* They want to know how their money has been spent.
* They desire an experience with the organization, the issue or the people in the organization.
* It’s important to remember the historic legacy of ethics and integrity of leadership.
* Donor-investors are researching organizations as much as organizations are researching them.
* Diversity of the donor-investor is remarkable.
* Expectations are higher for accountability, but what does “accountability” entail?
* Traditional stewardship might not work.
* Research is easy, information abundant, but those in the sector need new strategies for using it.
* Donor-advised funds are growing at a faster pace than direct philanthropic giving.
* Corporations are extending their work into areas of social responsibility.
* Philanthropy is seen as a sector focused on scarcity (a need for money), rather than a sector that celebrates and advances investment and abundance (in order to alleviate scarcity).