In August, I got the opportunity to visit Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, where Americans as part of the Allied Invasion landed on June 6, 1944, to liberate Europe. It was a sobering day. Three things struck me: 1) the courage of the men and women on the frontlines who knowingly went into harm’s way for the greater good; 2) the sheer genius of the battle plan and the awe-inspiring level of detail behind it; and 3) and the sacrifice of so many to combat a known enemy.

As we reflect on the Allied Invasion and the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which was commemorated last week, I could not have said it better than this veteran: “A lot of young guys enlisted during World War II … to help our country. They wanted us to win. There was a feeling of unity toward a common goal. And if we don’t unite today, we will certainly fall.”

Coming together has been the theme for 2021 – hopefully, we can move into 2022 with a “unity” mindset and win again by working together toward a common goal. While there are still many unknowns, we have been impressed by the courage, genius and sacrifice behind many social sector organization battle plans to keep moving forward. To help you stay motivated, we’ve prepared a list of 2021 TrendSpotter favorites. We hope this retrospective empowers you as you prepare for 2022.

#5  2021 Nonprofit Trends: Shifting our Focus to Upstream Nonprofit Work 

At the start of 2021, we introduced our concept of the year – upstream thinking. The idea behind upstream is to shift the lens through which we view our work. By looking at problems systemically and advancing programs, services and policies that promote proactive solutions, we can alleviate some social issues. However, this is not meant to replace downstream work, which is still sorely needed. The upstream concept has helped many of our readers and clients understand the bigger picture and develop plans that involve upstream strategies as well as downstream ones. In this post, we share our latest thinking and welcome your thoughts on how you have used upstream thinking this year in your “battle planning.”


#4  Refresh Your Nonprofit Skills with Six FREE Webinars

What is better than free? As you plan for 2022, bookmark this fan favorite, chock full of good content that you can watch/read/download in your PJs with a cup of tea. We include it all – the webinar, the slides and the templates – so you have everything at your fingertips to boost your skills on a cold winter day.

#3  The 5C’s of Employee Retention

The “Great Resignation” made big headlines this year, but that doesn’t mean your nonprofit needs to lose valuable employees. In this post, expert John Troy deconstructs the “Great Resignation” and gives you tips on how to combat it with the workforce you have. We had one reader send us a note thanking us and noting that she appreciated that they were all “low-cost/no-cost” ideas that fit a nonprofit’s budget. That is music our ears – we hope you agree and have already started implementing some strategies!

#2 [TIE] 5 Tips for Taming Email Clutter & Death by Meeting? Tips to Energize Your Nonprofit Meetings

We have a love/hate relationship with emails and meetings. If you are like us, we love the convenience of email, but struggle with keeping on top of it. We also love a good meeting but hate it when meetings drag on without a real agenda. If one of your resolutions in 2022 is to communicate better, these posts are perfect for you. We share our tried-and-true email and meeting tricks to help you be more efficient in 2022.

#1  What You Should Do Instead of Working on a New Nonprofit Strategic Plan This Year 

We received a huge reaction to this post and related webinar – many readers and workshop attendees thanked us for answering this tough question: what should we do with strategic planning? And, many have sent us their “battle plans” in response. We love the enthusiasm! With the new Omicron variant increasing in states across the country, we believe 2022 may be another good year to create a new battle plan. Check out this post for ideas on how to move forward if your planning is at a standstill. If you have follow-up questions, send them to us!

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 InstagramTwitterLinkedIn 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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