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SxSWi: The Future of Nonprofits

To promote the upcoming release of their book, The Future of Nonprofits: Innovate and Thrive in the Digital Age, authors David Neff and Randal Moss discussed some of the ways in which nonprofits can best position themselves to anticipate and capitalize on some of the trends that will shape the nonprofit world in the next five years and beyond.

Neff and Moss believe that for organizations to thrive they must look inward, particularly to internal entrepreneurs. What’s an internal entrepreneur? An internal entrepreneur is that employee who is always looking beyond the horizon and pushing their organization to embrace what will become trends. Neff and Moss believe that organizations should create a culture that fosters and embraces internal entrepreneurs if they are intent on fulfilling their mission and generating greater fundraising returns. The authors outline three key ingredients to creating such a culture:

  • Awareness: making awareness of what might lie around the corner a part of an organization’s daily work;
  • Structure: making efficiency and innovation integral to the organization’s structure; and
  • Staffing: moving beyond job descriptions and finding the right people with the right skill sets who will move the organization forward.

To support their argument, the authors touched on some of the trends they see as having an impact on the nonprofit world including: the intersection of social gaming and charitable giving, easier donating via acceptance of digital currencies, the rise of the individual fundraiser, socially conscious partnerships and adaptation to new donor attitudes. Neff and Moss cite recent data on the state of fundraising and shared a couple of the case studies they researched for their to make the case for their forecasts.  The authors tie all their points together by providing some actionable steps that nonprofits can take to become more forward thinking and acting.

Although the book will not be released until May, the authors gave away, and signed, copies of a special graphic novel companion to their book at the book signing that followed their reading. Until then, The Future of Nonprofits is available for pre-order here where you can also find a digital copy of its companion graphic novel.

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