Things That Caught our Eye: Community Foundation Business Model Disruption

Kevin Murphy, the President and CEO of Berks County Community Foundation and the Council on Foundations’ first Foundation Leader in Residence, published a fantastic think-piece examining potential disruptions to the existing business model for community foundations. He examines forces impacting financial planning and advising, financial technology (FinTech) and, in turn, their impact on community foundations (CFs). He poses many thought-provoking questions that CFs would be well-served to think through as they develop their forward-looking strategy and focus, including asking if CFs are focusing on the right metrics in the first place. If you haven't already, it is well worth a read for anyone even tangentially related to community foundations.

As I read the article, I found that many of his questions and observations are similar to realizations and hypotheses that I have had over the last 12 months as I came to understand how and why community foundations and their donors would benefit from widely accessible giving accounts, like Pinkaloo’s modern giving accounts. Technology-first solutions like ours can help build stronger community relationships quicker and can allow CFs to develop a pipeline of future Donor Advised Fund (DAF) holders .

As members of the next generation of donors that community foundations need to engage, we wholeheartedly agree with Kevin that CFs should be discussing these issues now and forming a point of view around how they will address and navigate these realities.  

Here are a few points and questions from the article that most resonated.  We'd love to chat about how community foundations can approach these pivotal issues, and to share ideas here so that other CFs can benefit.

So, what if our communities find themselves without local financial and estate planning advisors? What if the financial services sector consolidates into a few, highly automated players?

In light of consolidation and disruption in the financial services sector field, how has, or will this, change affect your community foundation and what are the implications, if any?

Are there other types of assets we should grow to advance our mission?

Could community foundations find themselves developing “local venture capital funds” or pooling other philanthropic resources to accomplish their missions?

How much, if any, does our community foundation need to adapt in the face of this disruptive change in the financial services industry?

Do we need to be thinking/doing anything differently?

You can follow Kevin on Twitter and LinkedIn and the Berks County Community Foundation on Twitter. If you have a success story to share, send us an email or connect on Twitter!