With so much negativity swirling around us, it is easy to let it color our view of the world. But as I told my students in our wrap-up class last week, we have a choice. If we let them in, negative news and interactions can convince us that the world cannot be changedThroughout 2022, one of my best coping strategies has been going on a “diet for my mind.” I choose what I consume personally and professionally and intentionally decide how I let it impact me and others. I endeavor to project positivity and do everything I can to pull back from projecting negativity – unless absolutely necessary. It has made a huge difference in how I have navigated the ups and downs of the past three years.

History shows us conclusively that great organizations and exceptional leaders make their boldest moves during periods of transition. Our individual actions make a difference. Leadership is not just plans; it is about belief – inspiring others to believe too and willing that belief into reality. It’s a choice and one of the social sector’s greatest strengths. Now, we need to do it for ourselves.

“Believe” (from my favorite show, Ted Lasso) has been my theme for 2022 – hopefully, we can move into 2023 and manifest a positive direction. To help you stay energized, we have curated your top-rated TrendSpotter posts from 2022:

#5 Free Stuff for Nonprofits 

Who doesn’t like free? With many corporations giving back to social sector organizations, you might want to check this list to ensure you have all your bases covered for 2023. And don’t forget to apply now for an intern this summer. Students are ready and waiting to help you (and apply their learning to real-world situations). As a professor, I can attest to there being some amazing students out there!

#4 Q&A on Mergers, Acquisitions and Exits

From the retirement of long-time executives to the economic downturn and even building a more seamless system to better serve our clients, many trends are leading the conversation about mergers, acquisitions and exits. Regardless of where you are in your strategic plan or financial performance, it is always wise to ask yourself: Is our organization still better alone? Are all of our services still essential to the community? Do we need to rethink anything to make our work stronger to support the community? This blog, which came out of a presentation at UT Austin, answers key questions on mergers, acquisitions and exits, and takes the guesswork out of them.

#3: Top Questions on Strategic Planning

We just celebrated the completion of our 85th strategic plan! I have learned that strategy is as much about what you say YES to as it is about what you say NO to. Based on our research, all organizations need to successfully navigate the tension between focus (via a plan and metrics) and flexibility (being open to change). In this top-rated Q&A blog, we break down everything you need to know in easy-to-follow steps – with a few tricks (many from our clients!) from our 13 years of strategic planning that might make your next process even better.

#2 Can Nonprofits Lobby? The Answer is YES!

From day one, I have spread the gospel that nonprofits must work hand-in-hand with policymakers on social issues as part of our missions. If we don’t, policymakers are left guessing and sometimes the policy enacted (despite best intentions) falls short – leaving the most vulnerable in a tough spot. Every nonprofit needs a formal or informal Policy Committee to track local, state and federal legislation and regulations so they can determine their strategy and shape policies. Make this one of your goals for 2023 – it will have a multiplier effect for your organization.

#1 Inspiring an Impact Mindset in the Social Sector

In this post, we share insights on important (and necessary) mindset shifts in the social sector (and really all sectors) by leveraging our favorite quotations. As a longtime quotation collector, it was one of my favorite pieces to write and shares many great reminders.

This holiday season we hope you’ll take a little time to revisit our TrendSpotters’ favorite posts and share any lessons you’ve learned in 2022 with us. 


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