2012 Philanthropy and Social Investment Industry Report Now Available | Beth's Blog

2012 Philanthropy and Social Investment Industry Report Now Available


For the past three years, my colleague Lucy Bernholz has published her annual Philanthropy and Social Investing: Blueprint, an industry forecast about the social economy – private capital used
for public good. Each year it provides an overview of the current landscape, points to major trends, and directs your attention to horizons where you can expect some important breakthroughs in
the coming year. The 2012 blueprint is now available and it is well worth time to read.

Lucy Bernholz is a self-described a philanthropy wonk who has been working in, consulting to, and writing about philanthropy and the social economy since 1990.  She writes the definitive blog on the topic called Philanthropy 2172.  She’s currrently a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society.

The guide addresses three big themes:

Blueprint 2012 will help donors, investors, and enterprise leaders address three big shifts coming in 2012:

  • Finding your way in the new social economy in which philanthropy and impact investing now operate
  • Considering the implications of the Citizens United decision on philanthropy and social investing
  • Making sense of data as a public good

I’m particularly interested in the third theme because it relates to the book I’m working on with KD Paine using measurement to improve and learn how networked nonprofits do their work and connect with stakeholders.     In the report, Lucy gives us a high level view of the importance of data in the social good sector, saying “Data are the currency of our day.”    While she points out that we’re only at the beginning of learning how to use data for social good purposes, she references some reasons why this is valuable and some examples.

She makes this point on the value:    “To improve nonprofit work. A treasure trove of mostly untapped data lies within our existing nonprofit organizations and social enterprises. Most organizations are only beginningto understand what data they have and how to use this information to improve their work.”    The book I’m working on KD takes this idea and goes into depth on how to do it, with checklists, stories, and examples.

Every year, Lucy complies an annual list of Philanthropy buzz words and these are included in the report.   My favorite?


Lucy explains why this is a buzzword:  “The age of big data that we’re living in has set loose the age ofinfographics. Infographics include cool interactive maps, Venndiagrams of apparently unrelated events, and trend lines everywhere. Infographics are the ultimate “pictures that say 1000 words.” Like so many buzzy things, infographics are running ontheir own adoption cycle, from the rare and cool to overhyped andoverused. Next in line should be “good, useful and common.”

Debra Askanase wrote a terrific roundup of about advice and tips for creating infographics and pointing some in the nonprofit sector.  The Humane Society and Networked for Good to mark milestones.   Craig Newmark released an infographic about trends in nonprofits and use of social media.     If you’re looking some of the best marketing infographics from the past year, check out this list of 10 from Hubspot.   Want more eye candy?  Check out this curated collection on visualization and awesome infographics.

I appreciate Lucy because she gives a systems view of the ideas and concepts that I’m grappling with to put into practice.    Thanks Lucy!

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