Podcast & Video: Predict-a-palooza: Civil Society Forecast 2018

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Civil society – our shared space and work for the public good – faces startling new pressures and possibilities in this dynamic, digital age. What trends, issues, and challenges will shape or shake up civil society in 2018?

Digital Impact kicked off the new year with a virtual roundtable of experts, scholars, and practitioners to identify key trends and share predictions for 2018, including insights from Blueprint 2018, Lucy Bernholz’s annual industry forecast on philanthropy and digital civil society.

Moderated by Crystal Hayling, Executive Director of The Libra Foundation, the panel included:

In sharing their personal predictions, wildcards, and favorite (or least favorite) buzzwords, panelists touched on the new U.S. tax policy, giving days, rising inequality, the respective roles of government and civil society in serving the public good, and much more. 

Watch the full discussion using the media player above, or listen to the podcast by using the audio player below or by visiting the Digital Impact podcast on iTunes.

Our panelists’ top-ranked predictions, as rated by the live audience:

  • Foundations will expand their scope of giving: Julie Broome predicted that, amid continued political upheaval and social change, foundations will support a much wider range of groups beyond registered nonprofits and NGOs and start to work with grassroots social movements, artists, journalists, and others.
  • Wealthy donors will grow their giving and influence: David Callahan predicted that the wealthy will continue to grow their dominance over civil society as their giving becomes an even greater share of all charitable donations.
  • The boundary between charitable and political giving is increasingly tenuous: David Callahan predicted that record giving will flow to influence a midterm election, thereby underscoring that the supposed firewall between charitable and political giving is very porous.

More highlights:

  • Europe will be a global leader in setting new norms for digital privacy policy: With the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) scheduled to take effect in May, Lucy Bernholz predicted that the E.U. would become the new standard bearer for digital privacy policy, pushing back against the dominance of U.S. digital companies in setting norms across the globe.
  • Blockchain will be tested at greater scale: Trista Harris predicted that a few large, international NGOs will test accepting donations through blockchain technology to increase transparency.
  • Movement building will expand across international borders: Crystal Hayling offered a wildcard prediction that new alliances will emerge across the global north and south, such as in the work of Black Lives Matter to build bridges and activate voices in Brazil.

From the audience:

  • Prediction: Cross-border intermediation by large international NGOs will go down.
  • PredictionThe conversation around philanthropy and governments will grow in regard to which entity has what role in terms of addressing community problems (e.g., Detroit and Flint, Michigan).
  • New buzzword“Bunching of Charitable Giving” – consolidating charitable gifts into one year rather than spreading over a few years to take advantage of tax deduction.

Looking for more information on this topic? The following resources are recommended by our featured speakers:

  • Julie Broome and Ariadne:
    • Look for the 2018 issue of Ariadne’s annual forecast for global and European civil society in early March
    • See past forecasts and other resources here

Have predictions for what 2018 may hold for civil society? Chime in below with a comment.

Have topics or ideas to suggest for future virtual roundtables? Contact us at hello@digitalimpact.org.

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