2022 Predictions

Bob’s Crystal Ball: Bob Carter’s Predictions for the World and the World of Philanthropy in 2022

In this post, Bob Carter, Chairman of Carter, shares his predictions for the year ahead based on his life experience, decades-long and prominent career in the fundraising consulting business, and extensive service on the boards of highly successful nonprofits.

It can be the best of years; it can be the worst of years, but 2022 is our year. What happens in the next 12 months is up to us to deal with and overcome, and hopefully, we will celebrate the hand we are dealt. Without further ado, please enjoy my (foggy) crystal ball view of 2022.

Predictions for the world in 2022:

  • We will see fewer streaming options and media platforms due to consolidation. In my conversations with people in the media industry, I have heard some discussion on how consolidation may come about for all the streaming options we have. The myriad of options has become overwhelming and confusing. Where can I find X show or movie? What’s part of what? There should be consolidation and clarity coming out in the next year.
  • C-SPAN will emerge as a media platform for truth in news reporting. When you watch a live feed of Congress in action on C-SPAN, there is no commentary (though you may be shouting your own commentary). You hear and see for yourself, and you make your own decision. Today’s climate has created a thirst in the world for an unbiased and unfiltered news platform like C-SPAN can offer.
  • China will not invade Taiwan. I am just putting that on the record!
  • Vaccine saturation will continue to lag in fragile countries. There will always be parts of the world that fall behind in dealing with these kinds of health crises. Because of this, there will likely be travel restrictions on these parts of the world for the next 12 to 18 months, perhaps longer.
  • The pandemic will be defeated and reclassified as a daily life threat. With the help of boosters, Covid should fade this year. It will be seen as just another virus floating around the world.
  • As a result of the pandemic, there will be a new understanding of the impact of global health on U.S. health. Americans have seen firsthand that our country’s health is directly affected by global health. This understanding will foster stronger support and interest in helping more fragile countries improve their health systems and access to healthcare.
  • The equities market will adjust and restart in 2023 with inflation as the root cause. There will be a 1,000-to-2,000-point bump in the market this year. Frankly, this is nothing to panic over. We have enough brakes on the system. It will shut off, shut down, and even out in 2023.

What happens in the world has always had a direct impact on the nonprofit sector. Taking it all into account, in 2022, I predict the following for the philanthropic sector:

  • At least one of the federal houses will shift in power, possibly impacting philanthropy. We will see a political shift that we, especially those of us in the field of philanthropy, must watch. Our country is just one vote away from eliminating the federal tax deduction, which, as many of you know, was closely defeated in 2010 when a Senate ad hoc committee proposed using it as a strategy to reduce the deficit. That committee ultimately voted 18 to 11 against bringing the motion to the Senate floor. Although I have not heard talk of reviving the idea, as the country looks for ways to redistribute wealth and correct the economy, the idea will likely resurface. Anyone who cares about philanthropy should pay close attention to the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ public policy update newsletter – the best resource for staying informed. If the United States ditches the charitable tax deduction, the action will snowball across the globe with other countries following suit and the impact will erode philanthropic activity worldwide. All it will take is a simple shift in political power.
  • The current threat via public policies to philanthropies will balance with aging millennials’ political power. As millennials age, they will likely tend to be a little more financially conservative and preserve federal tax deductions.
  • Higher education will scramble to reposition itself. Higher education has come under attack for many reasons, not the least of which are related to issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) intensity and preferences of donors and students. Tuition has been inflated beyond the increases of wages, etc. There is pressure from donors and students for their higher education institution to be a leader in DEI. All of this will converge in 2022 and create a need for higher education to forge a link between being an educational and humanitarian institution.
  • Office-first company models will continue to erode. Remote-first structures will evolve and become accepted as the expansion of global talent available becomes a focus. The radius of a building no longer drives the employee pool. Big corporations and nonprofits are finding that as they invite their employees back into the office, many employees are refusing to return or have moved away from headquarters. When you have talented staff, you find a way to make this work.
  • New and shifting work models will require intentional, adaptive leadership. “Work” is being redefined in the post-pandemic world, as evidenced in nearly all industries, from service companies to manufacturing. Good leaders will be ready to navigate these changes while remaining focused on organizational goals.
  • Social investments may grow alongside of philanthropy. We may see a shift away from purely philanthropic giving and an increase in social investments. Those interested in social investments will be putting money up, but they will expect a return even though they know it will be less than a commercial return. This is what all philanthropy looks like in many parts of the world.
  • A mix of in-person and online volunteering will increase. When will it be that people are comfortable volunteering in person again? We’ve discovered that we can create volunteer roles for people online. I believe this will continue to be used and be part of the creative strategy in the upcoming year.
  • Human behavior will continue to drive sound strategies. The main driving forces behind human behavior are fear, hope, having a mission or values, the need to help, and the need to act or stay in motion. Attention to these natural impulses will gain the best results. I recommend reading “The Psychology of Philanthropy: The Science Behind Giving” by Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang if you haven’t already. The book answers the question of “what compels people to give?”
  • Strategies developed out of fear will fail and bold strategies will prevail. Fewer people made bold decisions during Covid than any other period I have ever seen, including the 2008-2009 recession. Fear-based decision making is not only a difficult habit to break, but it is also the least likely strategy for garnering widespread support (people rarely follow a fearful leader). With so many organizations operating from a position of scarcity over the past few years, in 2022, leaders who can articulate an aspirational, yet reasonable, vision and strategy will stand out as unique. Those who stick with the safest approach should start preparing to fold their tent – because that day will likely come soon. Meaningful change will always require the ability to tolerate a certain level of risk. In 2022, successful leaders will think big, act boldly, and will have confidence that will help others feel safe to join the journey.

As we look forward to 2022, we should remember the skills we learned in the past two years and continue to implement them in the year ahead. The pandemic has taught us that it is more important than ever to plan, be persistent, have patience, know when to push, embrace innovation as a critical strategy, and be adaptive. Many people, companies, and organizations that made these goals a habit during the pandemic will find success in our new year.

About the Author

Bob Carter

Bob Carter, CFRE, Chairman

Bob Carter, Chairman of Carter, is one of the world’s most respected, experienced, and recognized experts in the areas of Institutional Strategy and Philanthropy. During the past four decades, Bob has helped strengthen a variety of organizations throughout the world by helping them overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities to be successful. Bob and his colleagues concentrate on building dynamic teams to deliver specific services that meet the unique needs of charities and donors. His service as member and chair of numerous not-for-profit boards lends firsthand experience to his governance counsel. (Read more about Bob here.)

About Carter:
When it comes to transformational change, nonprofits are experts at knowing what they need to achieve, but don’t always have the tools they need to get there. Carter makes the journey easier. With over 500 years of combined experience, the Carter team is comprised of over 40 senior-level professionals working to advance philanthropy worldwide through fundraising, organizational planning, and governance. For more information visit www.carter.global.

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