Giving Compass' Take:

• In this story from Medium, author James Plunkett predicts what charities in the distant future might look like and what challenges they may face on their journey there.

• In what ways are the for-profit and nonprofit sectors similar as they approach the future? In what ways are they different?

• To learn why you should not change a charity by its admin costs alone, click here.

Many words have been written about digital disruption in the private sector. Less has been said — with commendable exceptions — about how charities will adapt to the digital age.

So what will the non-profits of the distant future look like? Let’s ignore 3- or 5-year time horizons and think ultra-long-term, to a world in which capabilities like big data and machine learning are as easy to use as electricity is now. How will good be done in a world like this?

The challenger charity

One way into this question is to start with the changes we’re already seeing in the private sector. Perhaps ‘Charity 2069’ will be to ‘Charity 2019’ as Airbnb is to Marriott. Maybe the familiar ‘challenger’ business model will spread, disrupting non-profits just like it’s already disrupting companies.

Non-profits are different

Let’s go beyond the similarities between charities and companies to explore the big differences between the two.

My sense is that there are four standout challenges that are more specific to the charity sector when it comes to digital transformation. Answering these questions will help charities use the full power of technology for good.

  • Challenge 1: Data — What are we maximising?
  • Challenge 2. Software — How can we build platforms for good?
  • Challenge 3. Funding — How will we pay for it all?
  • Challenge 4. Vulnerability — How can technology reduce inequality?

Read the full article about the future of charities by James Plunkett at Medium