Friday, June 06, 2008

Buzzwords 2008....Drumroll, please

It is finally here. The moment you've all been waiting for. The philanthropy buzzwords 2008 list is here. Or at least some of it, numbers one - three to be exact.

1. Mobile Giving
I've written about cellphone enabled giving before, including the US launch of Mgive in this year's Superbowl. Seems like natural disasters might be what it takes to vault a new behavior like this into the mainstream - recent earthquakes and cyclones have pushed mobile giving into the mainstream.

2. Labs
Lab is the new cool phrase to indicate that your work is about mixing up ideas, action, innovation, breakthrough! Witness: KelloggActionLab. Movement Vision Lab. IssueLab. IdeaLab. HopeLab. I guess this was the next logical outgrowth from prize philanthropy and a resurgent focus on innovation....

3. Outsourced program advising
This is a trend I first predicted back in 2004 - as philanthropic products such as commercial charitable gift funds showed the market's eagerness for products that unbundled the philanthropic financial management from the program advise, the financial offerings have taken off. See recent stories in SSIR and the Chronicle of Philanthropy (premium articles, registration required) on Donor Advised Funds - the prototypical unbundled product. Slowly but surely, however, the market of advisory offerings to support those unbundled financial products has also been growing. Giving Circles were one step in this direction - the "do-it yourself, peer learning approach." Now we are well into an age where private banks have to have philanthropy officers, multi-family offices with philanthropy advisers, independent philanthropy advisers, associations of philanthropy advisers, magazines offering advisory services, websites that provide "do-it-yourself" advice (just like discount brokerages and online trading). This is because donors are juggling multiple products, trying to manage "Giving Portfolios" and looking for good advice on strategy and impact.

Time was, donors started foundations and hired staff. Now they have their philanthropic funds in many pockets - foundations, community funds, donor advised funds - and they get advisory support from other sources. They have unbundled the products and are re-assembling their own suite of philanthropic tools

Here is my classic picture of how this market of options looks, from a donor's perspective:

The industry, she is a changin' and it is the same set of forces (choice, control, price) and same direction of change that Google Apps is putting on MS Office Suite.

Stay Tuned, Buzzwords number 4, 5, 6 coming soon!

1 comment:

peter.panepento said...

Hi Lucy:

You can read the Chronicle of Philanthropy article for free here:


Peter Panepento