Lucy Bernholz Stanford U. Senior Research Scholar On Philanthropy 2017-12-18 08:07:58
Philanthropy is in for many changes in 2018. Debates in Washington about federal policies and many other changes should make it clear that there are new challenges to the old guard — from the perspective of regulations, digital practices, and even the boundaries of the nonprofit world. As we all get ready for the year ahead, here are the top 10 words, phrases, and ideas that I predict people in the nonprofit world will be using, misusing, and probably abusing in 2018. Biometrics The use of digital data collected from your body to provide access or verification to a system, including fingerprints, iris scans, and facial-recognition software, is exploding. The databases that gather this information are often created by governments and hosted by corporations, but the data are often collected by nonprofit or nongovernmental partners. Biometric data collection is an example of a massive collapse of meaningful borders between the roles and responsibilities of business, government, and charities. In a digital world where the data-collection work done by nonprofits can turn into resources for commercial or government use almost seamlessly, how do nonprofits actually claim — and protect — any true independence? Big bets Given the amount of money now being held for purposes loosely described as "doing good," the scale of challenges from climate change, the evil robot overlords, and the demise of democracy, the betting money is on big money, dedicated to big issues, to make big change (or at least try to). Data refuge A data refuge is a volunteerled effort to make backup copies of digital data that governments and others might decide to destroy to impede their opposition. For example, many volunteers came together when the Trump administration took over to make copies of scientific research on climate change that resides on government sites. Such a data refuges — often located in other nations, are being created to preserve access. Data protection is becoming a core strategy of advocacy organizations. Data weaponization The term covers the deliberate manipulation of data, politicized analysis, selective use of data, and the creation of bots and other algorithmic techniques that drive propaganda and misinformation on the internet. Explicability gap This is the distance between the power of algorithms to process data and our ability to understand them and encourage architects of the algorithms to do all they can to avoid introducing biases into calculations. This is particularly problematic when these tools are used to steer cars on public roads, implicate people for prison sentences, track kids in school, differentiate groups for public services, or recommend certain medical procedures. Impact washing Efforts to measure impact have been steadily increasing, and the impact-investing movement continues to drive this forward. Projects that ensure accurate and credible measurement are on the rise, Among them: a new Presidents’ Council on Impact Investing a group of 20 leaders of big foundations seeking to advance investments tied to their social missions. Also of note, the Ixo Foundation, which is using blockchain, an encrypted technology that distributes computing power to avoid copying, to measure progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals. Others will just take the easy way out and "claim impact" or seek to wash themselves in the language of social good without really doing anything. Monopoly The global dominance of a handful of companies — mostly those based in the United States — is under increasing scrutiny. This will matter to nonprofits for three reasons: First, expect more civil-society protests against corporate power. Second, there will be more scrutiny of the philanthropic influence of companies and their executives. And third, there will be more high-profile tech philanthropy.
Published by Perspective Newspapers. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.zoompubs.com/article/This+Week%E2%80%99s+Focus%3A+Impact+Washing%2C+Data+Refuges%2C+Big+Bets%2C+and+More%3A+Philanthropy%E2%80%99s+2018+Buzzwords/2965468/436415/article.html.