Top 5 ConceptThe end of the year is always a special time for rejuvenation and reflection. This past year my favorite word has been “reimagine.” The word itself lulls me into both a state of reflection as well as thoughtful action. It allows you to hold up a mirror to yourself as well as your organization and rethink your business model, your communications strategy and your “ways of working.” To help your reflection efforts in these final days of 2018, we’ve prepared a list of this year’s TrendSpotter favorites. We hope this retrospective helps you reflect and reimagine as you prepare for 2019.
Collaboration is the new buzzword in the social sector. As a community, we have strategies for “coming together” and recognize its importance, but we have fewer tools in our toolkit for “working together.” In this post, we announced “collaboration” as the theme of the year and developed a series of posts to keep handy to help ensure we are successful in “working together.” They include strategies for action-packed meetingsbetter emails, improved navigation of conflict managementego-thinking vs. eco-thinking and teamwork. We look forward to sharing more tips and tricks on this theme in 2019.
Impact is the bottom line of the social sector, but impact doesn’t happen overnight. Interestingly, we have found that impact isn’t driven by systems. You can buy all the fancy tools and hire evaluation experts, but we have found that impact is best supported by a data-driven culture. In this post, which was highlighted by the National Center for Nonprofits in a recent newsletter, we shared our work to create an “impact checklist” for organizations. It codifies how to build an impact culture that is energized by data, curious to learn, takes deliberate action and embraces change. As you reflect on your impact, I encourage you to check the list and celebrate your wins in 2018 as well as add areas of renewed focus for 2019.
In my trainings, I often discuss why I use the term “strategic planning” rather than “strategic plan.” A “plan” suggests a finished product, but in reality, a strategic plan is never complete. When we think of “strategic planning,” we are reminded that plans need to be revisited regularly for wins, possible shifts and new opportunities. I also talk about the role of a planning process. It isn’t about creating a plan; instead, it is about creating momentum. Both the process as well as the strategy should inspire everyone in the organization. In our blogs on strategic planningbusiness planningaction planning and vision vs. mission, we provide a step-by-step process for each approach to help you build that momentum on your own or with a consultant. 
As more people join the tribe we call “social entrepreneurs,” the greater our need is for common social terminology. In this blog, I answer the most common question I am asked, but also address the terms that people often confuse in the social sector. The definitions are ones you won’t forget and will help you spread the word about these important areas of social change. 
With Google at our fingertips, it is everyone’s go-to for research. But, we have so many other tools to get to the heart of issues within our community, if only we conducted proper market research. But, where do we start? In this series of blog, we share our tips and tricks on the easiest and most efficient ways to start the journey as well as the best ways to conduct secondary research and primary research. We make market research fun, enjoyable and accessible to any organization. As a side note, if you want to undertake market research or planning this summer, consider hiring a student intern. You need the help, and they need the experience – it is a win-win. Now is the time to talk with your local university and post the position, so you get the very best candidates applying!
We hope you enjoy this look back at this year’s Social TrendSpotter favorites. If you have been inspired, we would love for you to share them through Twitter or Facebook. Feel free to forward this post to friends and colleagues, too. We would also love to hear your favorite posts of the year and how you have used them in your organization.
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