5 Trends in Social Good to Watch for in 2013

Ideas shaping and shaking the future

Jan 1, 2013

Image by Flickr user kivilm

When technological advancements coincide with social developments - sparks of good fly. Thus we’ve seen in 2012, which was an exciting year for social good.
The World Wide Web is home to an ever flourishing community of good doers, who are hungry for social engagement and impact creation. The following phenomena were largely boosted last year, and we expect them to become even more significant this year.

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1.
THE FUTURE CITY
In 2012 something extraordinary happened: TED awarded its annual prize to a collaborative platform, rather than a person. The winner,  The City 2.0, is a website that gives a voice to the masses and enables discussion about ideas pertaining to a better future city.
Such attention from TED - a global generator and celebrator of ideas - to the idea of the future city indicates a broader interest in the topic. Indeed, The City 2.0 is one of a slew of digital platforms and web-based initiatives that encourage a more pleasant and much more informed urban experience. Now that over 50% of the world's population lives in cities, the conditions are ripe for improving, adjusting and rethinking the urban landscape and city life. Let’s start.

READ: Top 7 Websites for Creating the Future City 

2.
COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION
2012 saw a rise in sharing - rather than owning - as a new economic model. We share every last thing we have: from skills and apartments through to car rides and babysitting services. If we have it, we share it. If we need it, we can use it - even for a while, even if it’s not ours.
Hence, sharing, swapping, bartering or renting access to products is the name of the game in the world of collaborative consumption. In the new economy, the currency is trust and shared access replaces ownership.
Airbnb, the mega powerhouse of apartment swapping, has recently announced that by the end of 2012 it will be filling more room nights than all Hilton hotels. Reminder: the property rented via Airbnb is not owned by a conglomerate; it’s a service powered by you and me for people just like you and me. Let’s drink to that!

3.
CROWDFUNDING
Crowdfunding - generating resources through a collective effort of individuals - has become a popular way for social entrepreneurs and nonprofits to raise money. For the crowdfunder - this is a mode of hunting for investment predicted to grow even more in 2013. For the backer - crowdfunding is a channel for meaningful engagement.
2012 was a booming year for crowdfunding platforms : according to one report, there are currently 191 crowdfunding platforms in the US, and over 100 in Europe. A growing phenomenon, crowdfunding makes social good much more possible.

READ: 13 Crowdfunding Websites for Good Doers 

4.
FREE ONLINE EDUCATION
Free online education - available for anyone with a solid internet connection - is rapidly expanding, with more and more free online resources for education. 2012 saw the launch of Coursera, a Silicon valley startup that collaborates with top-tier universities in the States, providing courses online for free.
Will online education in this format replace the full-fledged high education known to us from offline reality? Some claim that online education is merely a replacement for the content universities generate - an appealing alternative for textbooks.
More importantly, this trend signals a change of perception: democratizing higher education and liberating knowledge from ownership.  

READ: 7 Free Education Websites You Don't Want to Miss 

5.
SKILLED VOLUNTEERING
If you are a designer, copywriter, accountant, lawyer, project manager - anything, really - there must be a cause out there that can make use of your talent and expertise. More and more platforms emerge online, like Catchafire and others, connecting between nonprofits and professional talent.
For the nonprofits - these platforms respond to an urgent need for pros, which are many times beyond such nonprofits’ financial reach.
For the volunteer - here’s an opportunity to nurture talent, cultivate expertise, even bolster your portfolio, while doing good.
In other words: this is a match made in heaven.

READ: What are the Top 7 Skilled Volunteering Organizations? 

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