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Disrupting Philanthropy: Discuss!

Lori Halley 14 May 2010 2 comments

Duke’s Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society has just published Disrupting Philanthropy: Technology and the Future of the Social Sector, by Lucy Bernholz of Philanthropy 2173 with Edward Skloot and Barry Varela.  As Bernholz explains, the paper took more than a year to research and write – and a remarkable feat, too, given the pace of change in technology! Here’s how she describes what it’s about:

  • The point: data are the new platform for change. They will continue to fundamentally alter how philanthropic capital flows.
  • The changes are not about the digital technologies that allow access, or about the data themselves. They are about the expectations and behaviors they unleash.
  • These changes, coupled with changes in the public and private sectors, are pushing a transition to a "social economy" made up of interdependent public, private and philanthropic capital and creators of social goods.
  • All of these changes are not an end of a story, they are simply the beginning.
  • Philanthropy is an industry of passion and volunteerism in which collusion should be encouraged. It may not change in the same way, at the same speed, or driven by the same forces as the newspaper or music industries or the public sector.



The monograph will soon be available in a print-on-demand version and as a free Kindle ebook, as well as a couple of versions posted on Scribd. You may find it especially interesting, as I did, to track back through earlier blog posts and drafts of the paper, to see the pattern of draft – conversation – revision – conversation – revision  that Bernholz says (perhaps not surprisingly, in this age of crowdsourcing) shaped the writing process.

And if you’d like to get in on this next phase of the conversation, to share your thoughts on what the intersection of philanthropy and technology might look like in future, the authors invite you to use the hashtag #disruptphil to tag and track the conversation on Twitter. Or learn more about this project by visiting Philanthropy 2173 at http://philanthropy.blogspot.com.


Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 14 May 2010 at 3:52 AM


  • Lucy Bernholz said:

    Friday, 14 May 2010 at 9:55 AM

    Thanks for highlighting this - especially the process. Iteration is everything, everything is iterative.


  • Judy Nelson, JD, MSW, Certified Professional Coach said:

    Monday, 17 May 2010 at 6:08 AM

    Exceptionally well-researched and thoughtful article. A must read for any organization planning to seek grants in the future. Thank you!

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