2015 Philanthropy Forecast

January 26th, 2015

What will philanthropy look like in 2015? A couple of stalwarts in the field released their predictions for what 2015 (and beyond) will bring. An annual industry forecast, called “Blueprint 2015,” was released by Lucy Bernholz, a long time philanthropy consultant and current visiting scholar at Stanford University's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society Philanthropy and the Social Economy.  Every year she crowdsources and compiles what she thinks will be the top 10 buzzwords for the year and forecasts the trends for civil society (and even a digital civil society) which she defines as the place where we use private resources for public benefit. And we’ve also read 10 Predictions for Foundations and Nonprofits in 2015, released by Rick Cohen, Correspondent for the Nonprofit Quarterly. He has been following and documenting trends affecting the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors in depth for many years.

They both agree that the 2016 presidential election will affect everyone’s agenda in 2015 and that it will factor significantly into the charitable giving incentives debate championed by many nonprofit and philanthropy associations. Bernholz also theorizes the presidential election will catalyze the public to force greater transparency of donors to nonprofits and foundations. They both think tax reform is a crucial issue for 2015 and agree (for different reasons) that the IRS paralysis will continue through 2015. Both authors believe that governmental financial collapses will continue, and Bernholz theorizes that private philanthropy will not be interested in helping to bail them out this time. On divergent issues, Bernholz focuses more heavily on the impact the digital age is having in philanthropy, and Cohen highlights social issues such as racism and states, “there will be no hiding place for racism, overt or otherwise,” in 2015.

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