A Solution Economy is the New World for NFPs to Survive and Thrive in

Lynne Newbury - Online Marketing Manager

New technology advancements in recent years have changed the landscape of Not-For-Profit and association operations. There has been an emergence of the ‘solution economy’ and this has highlighted how the sector will need to adapt and change to stay relevant in an ever-evolving environment.

A recent research study conducted by William Eggers, a director for the Public Sector Industry at Deloitte, highlighted many interesting aspects of the importance and movement in the current NFP environment.

Changing NFP Focus

Corporate Governance plays a major role with NFP organisations and associations and with players covering all aspects from business, government, and social enterprises, they are all converging to solve the big problems while creating public value. These new problem solvers are designing new innovative solutions for society’s intractable problems. This is referred to as the ‘solution economy’ as markets are actually being developed around this. Now people are trading solutions rather than dollars to fill the gap between what governments provide and what the people need.

Online Interactions

There is increased popularity of online interactions, whether through social media or the development of new technologies such as new e-commerce modules or smartphone apps. These online interactions have created new platforms for problem solvers to resolve. The problems could be anything from reducing waste to a new low-cost way of providing education and fighting human trafficking.

With are so many different ways technology can be used to amplify aspects that couldn’t be used before or achieved via peer-to-peer exchanges, it is the answer to the solution economy.

Solution Economy Adaption

Not-For-Profit organisations are already playing a critical and varied role in the emerging economy in the form of advocacy, education and a connection point for partnerships. A similar topic arose across the globe for NFPs in the US, Canada, UK and Australia showing they will have to change and adapt to the new world. NFP will need to become a lot more technology savvy, business-minded and outcome focused. The shift is towards technology being the solution to engage many more people while technology will also be used for reporting and measured metrics for grant purposes.

Government Changing Roles

Governments play a powerful role in the economy, however, the role they play today will be very different as civil problems shift from the hands of the government to those of the problem solvers. The government will instead enable the creation of an environment where problem solvers and wave makers for NFPs can flourish rather than solve the problems themselves. Governments can reduce regulatory minefields while forging partnerships to make data more open, along with many more outcomes. The most successful governments, Eggers predicts, will be those that act as catalysts to this environment that are constantly connected and working with various sectors to grow the solution economy to achieve better outcomes.

Trends Internationally

Overseas NFPs in the UK have been applying some of the solution economy trends which will soon be predicted to be emerging within the Australian NFP environment. The movement has seen NFPs supplementing their grant funding income with other income – whether from renting out spaces in a building or providing other services. NFPs are looking to supplement and diversify their revenue sources. Consumers are also looking to fund and contribute to NFP in new ways through micro-payments. This form of payment is a very small monetary donation garnered through a simple action such as clicking on a button or app.