5 Nonprofit Predictions for 2016


Predictions are a tricky thing. They’re mostly comprised of strong currents of the present, past habits and a big dose of educated guessing. When it comes to nonprofits, there’s also an element of hopefulness that’s thrown in, at least in my list of predictions for 2016.

2015 has seen much innovation in technology and communication. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were recently approved and organizations and countries have started working towards the newly revamped goals. We’ve also seen the world change dramatically – terrorism in all its new iterations is ever present, and we’ll be seeing how nonprofits and global development and relief organizations respond to the current challenges on and off the ground. Here are my predictions for 2016 that reflect our changing global dynamics and expectations.

Social Media – Both large and small social good organizations will be capitalizing on hashtags in much more proactive and creative ways. We’ll be seeing more organizations use mainstream hashtags that aren’t necessarily exclusive to the nonprofit sector, such as #finance #innovation and #smallbiz to inject themselves into digital conversations that are related to their causes. We’re also going to be seeing the hashtags #globalgoals and #SDGS become increasingly popular unifying hashtags as social good organizations and countries come together to work on the newly approved United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We’re also starting to see nonprofits dip their toes into social livestreaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat, and the capacity it has to take us to places and share experiences largely unseen by supporters and donors.

Global Development – As the world continues to counter terrorism, war and violent conflict, and natural disasters, we’ll be seeing governments and mainstream media work much more closely with both large and small NGOs, in an effort to tap into local knowledge and expertise. We’ll see nonprofits respond cautiously but proactively in their new role, and invest more resources into communications and messaging.

Intrapreneurship – As social entrepreneurship continues to rise in the social good sector, more and more nonprofits are looking at the model that incorporates not only profit-making capacities, but also relies strongly on innovation and an ability to pivot quickly when needed, as potential new ways forward. Intrapreneurship, often led by solution and innovation-focused staff members, will continue to pick up speed as nonprofits start looking at new ways of creating revenue, exploring new partnerships and collaborations, and expanding their ability to sustain themselves beyond their present fundraising strategies.

Transparency & Accountability – Nonprofits will continue to make greater investments and improvements in monitoring and evaluation methodologies and staffing, improve on their impact storytelling, specifically using data visualization and graphics. We’ll see more nonprofit websites, social channels and blog posts that speak to us ways in ways we better understand, with more institutional knowledge and opinion shared, as more “fortress” nonprofits embrace communication and openness.

Content Marketing – As blogging continues to be the most rewarding content marketing tool for nonprofits, we’ll see more nonprofits train and encourage program and other staff members to share their field stories and expertise. Traditionally in the hands of communications staff members, we’ll also see more CEOs and Executive Directors creating more content on various platforms, in an effort to increase their organization’s visibility, positioning, and thought leadership.

The challenge for nonprofits in the new year, as it is every year, is finding the internal staffing and financial resources (and often the organizational will because of limited capacity) to move forward on new initiatives that help move the ‘mission needle’ forward. It will be exciting to see how nonprofits take on their various challenges and show us that the social good sector is innovating and moving forward in the most meaningful ways.

This post was originally published on The Huffington Post.

Caroline Avakian, Socialbrite’s Managing Partner, is a global development communications strategist in the New York City area with a focus on strategic communications, innovation, PR, and content marketing. Caroline is also the founder of SourceRise, a digital platform connecting journalists to international NGO sources. Contact Caroline by email, see her profile page, visit her website, follow her on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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