Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Final Buzzword List - 2009.8, 9, and 10

With less than 48 hours left in 2009 it is time to post up the final three buzzwords of the year. Here they are, in reverse order, as well as numbers 1 -7.

Numbers 8, 9, and 10 were officially announced on Marketplace:

Buzzword 2009.10 Impact Investing
Partly a term of art, partly a new form of putting money to work for social good, and all in all the most well-orchestrated, capitalize-on-a-moment and drive it ahead movement in philanthropy/social investing. Pay attention- Impact Investing is here to stay.

Buzzword 2009.9 B Corporations
I've written plenty about B Corporations in the past. The numbers are still relatively small - several hundred with a combined market cap of $1 billion - but the trend really matters. New corporate forms for accomplishing social good will be a big force in the years to come. B Corporations are also the only buzzword to be nominated twice - also showing up as number 9 in 2007.

Buzzword 2009.8 Mergers
We haven't seen these yet in the numbers that were predicted at the end of 2008. But the sector talked about about them, considered them, funded them, and started to make them happen in 2009. The low numbers may be more an artifact of the reporting cycle than the activity. And we'll see plenty in 2010.

Buzzword 2009.7 Taxonomy
This might have been my personal favorite buzzword of the year - as it was definitely the wonkiest. For those of you who don't traffic in test-prep vocabulary, a taxonomy is "the practice and science of classification," or, as I like to think of it, a taxonomy is a way of organizing stuff. Some taxonomies we use all the time and don't think about them. Without taxonomies, none of the other big ideas - measuring, aggregating, timing, ranking, diversifying, collaborating - that might improve social action and philanthropy are possible.

Buzzword 2009.6 Maps
This year saw maps everywhere - Philanthropy Insight, Kiva, Changemakers - you name it, if there were data involved there were maps involved.

Buzzword 2009.5 Charity Challenge

This year the buzz is all about charity challenges. Think Chase Community Giving, America's Giving Challenge, and the upcoming Pepsi events. These challenges tend to be some form of matching grant - based fundraising opportunity that uses blogs, twitter, widgets, online video and every other possible web-based communications tool.

Buzzword 2009.4 Leverage
In philanthropy the idea of leverage is about using dollars from Pot A to access dollars from Pot B. If a donor puts in $1 and, in so doing, attracts another $1 to the issue or organization, that is a good thing. Leverage is at the root of matching grants, NPR pledge drives, giving circles, pooled grant making funds, social venture philanthropy, affinity groups, and lots of other things that are now common concepts for both donors and foundations.

Buzzword 2009.3 Pipeline
There are two pipelines drawing buzz these days - one is seemingly void of people and the other is seemingly void of funding. The pipeline for new leaders and the pipeline of new funding opportunities are both the topic of great discussion.

Buzzword 2009.2 Sidecar Fund
2009 was the year private foundations officially went into the business of managing "sidecar funds." In the angel investing or venture capital worlds sidecar funds are those that "ride along side" major investments. The idea is to leverage (another buzzword) the due diligence, investment and monitoring that has gone into a primary investment.

For donors these options might be very enticing - high quality expertise on both the investment and grantmaking side at lower cost than other vendors in the market. For the foundations, this offers one way to "leverage other people's money" directly - manage it and give it away.

Buzzword 2009.1 - "move the needle"
The first buzzword of 2009 came in via twitter, from the #cof09 conference. To quote @QuixoteTilts: "Move the needle," official cliché of #cof09. Replaces "sea change" after a record-breaking run." Need I say anything more? Except to note that a shift from sea change to needle moving might be read as the downsizing of expectations....or at least hyperbole.

My next post will be a review of my 2009 predictions. And since the "in" thing to do this new year is not just ring out 2009 but ring out the whole decade of the 00s, I'll also look back at some trends I discussed in 1999. I had the great privilege of writing a paper in 1999 called Foundations for the Future that was published by USC. I also got a chance in 2006 to look back at the paper several years on. I was invited to do so again in January 2010 at a USC event but I can't make it because of calendar commitments. So I'll offer up my thoughts here on the blog and pass them on to the USC folks that way. Stay tuned and have a happy and healthy 2010!

1 comment:

Archana said...

These are great! As a lawyer, I'm particularly interested in reading more about B Corporations - I have to look back at some of your older posts!