How to keep up with the future of philanthropy

Valuable resources.
Valuable resources.
Image: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
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The world of philanthropy is vast and contains many off shoots and tendrils. It’s hard to keep up with it all, but here are some general resources to help you follow the major trends shaping the world of giving.

The big hitters. The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Inside Philanthropy are two of the more important news outlets, with regular updates, data dives, and analysis. Both are run on a subscription model. Each year Giving USA publishes in-depth data on how philanthropy has changed and the health of the sector. And in the world of academia, the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy is producing some of the most interesting work in the field.

Multiple popular non-fiction books have been published on the topic in the past couple of years. Anand Giridharadas’ Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World is among the most popular: we liked David Callahan’sThe Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age and Rob Reich’s Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better, which make similar critiques. (Callahan is the founder and editor of the digital media site Inside Philanthropy, while Reich is a professor of political science at Stanford University.)

On Twitter, follow journalist @MarcGunther for updates from his Nonprofit Chronicles blog as well as stories for Medium and other organizations. Vox’s Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt) and Kelsey Piper (@KelseyTuoc) tweet stories from the Future Perfect vertical, as well as musing on the future of Effective Altruism, the Giving Pledge, and other philanthropic developments. @BenSoskis, a historian specializing in philanthropy, gives important context to today’s biggest stories in giving. 

If you love newsletters, consider subscribing to any (or all!) of the offerings from Philanthropy News Digest. The Nonprofit Quarterly (itself a nonprofit!) has five newsletters to choose from ranging from daily to biweekly. Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter comes out twice a week. The Stanford Social Innovation Review goes well beyond philanthropy to encompass nonprofit management, corporate citizenship, and social change. Its newsletter on all these topics comes out weekly.

More into podcasts? Tiny Spark, produced by the NPQ, is our especial favorite for a biweekly investigation into the world of nonprofits, international aid and philanthropy. Planet Money occasionally features stories about philanthropy: “The Invisible Wall”, “Why Raising Money for Ebola is Hard” , and “How Do You Decide Who Gets Lungs?” are a couple of years old, but still worth checking out.