Ep 158: 3 Big Trends That Are Altering the Nonprofit Sector (with Eric Nee)

by Joan Garry

Eric Nee, Editor in Chief of SSIR, joins me to talk about what’s going on in our world and how it impacts social change and the work nonprofit leaders do every single day.


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What trends have you been seeing in the nonprofit sector lately? Been too busy to notice?

I totally get it.

That’s why I invited Eric Nee, the Editor in Chief of the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) to talk to us today. Understanding the current trends in our society is a key ingredient for effective social change.

Whether we like it or not, we are all a part of this society’s sphere of influence. Our sector is a clear reflection of the needs, wants, and challenges of our world. As such, the trends going on around us trickle into the nonprofit sector and have a major impact on the way we work and lead. So it’s important to keep up. You do not want to let these trends stay on the back burner as you continue to lead on autopilot…

This works the other way around, too. As the biggest source of leadership in the United States, the nonprofit sector as a whole has a big, fat opportunity to create lasting social change in a society that really needs us to do our very best work right now.

As someone who curates the leading voices in the sector (and is one himself), Eric Nee has some interesting insights on how we can make this happen. He always has his eyes on the latest societal trends and has written countless thought-provoking articles for those who are fully committed to the power, impact, and possibility that the social sector holds.

In my book, he is the true definition of a thought leader. Join us for a robust discussion about power dynamics, systemic issues, and ways we can improve the nonprofit business model to better serve our changing world.

*Warning* This conversation WILL light a fire in your belly.

Click play to learn:

  • What does understanding trends have to do with being a strong nonprofit leader? ​​ (0:04)
  • How did societal trends impact the nonprofit boom during the Vietnam War era? (9:14)
  • What are the current trends impacting the nonprofit sector and social change in 2022? (13:08)
  • What can nonprofit executives do to better navigate the world of DEI? (15:31)
  • What does the future of nonprofits look like? (24:56)
  • What did the pandemic teach us about the role of technology trends in the nonprofit sector? (30:01)
  • How can nonprofits can be the vehicle that brings us together as a society? (39:24)


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About Eric Nee:

Eric Nee is editor-in-chief of Stanford Social Innovation Review, a position he has held since 2006. SSIR produces a quarterly magazine, website, webinars, podcasts, and conferences, all serving leaders of organizations engaged in social change. SSIR has partners around the world who publish local-language editions of SSIR in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish. Before joining Stanford University, Eric was a senior writer for Fortune. While there, he helped Time Inc. launch eCompany Now (where he was executive editor), which later became Business 2.0. Before joining Fortune, Eric launched Forbes’s Silicon Valley bureau, where he was bureau manager. He also served as editor-in-chief of Upside. Eric is the author of the book “Information for Everyone: The Applied Materials Story.” He earned a BA in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a MSJ from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He lives in Palo Alto, Calif., with his wife Tekla, a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum magazine