- Adaptation vs. Growth: For many decades, strategic planning was about growth, but now it is more about adaptation. How can you better meet the needs of your changing clients? How can you better meet the needs of the community? How can you best connect with donors? The social organizations that stay relevant and evolve as needs change will be the ones that thrive. Growth can be a function of adaptation, but bigger isn’t always better. Better is better.
- Engaged Philanthropy vs. Transactional Philanthropy: Funders, especially foundations, are looking to make an impact. In order to do this, they are often looking for social sector organizations who are not just providing a good or service they can buy, but want to experiment with them to create greater impact. This new philosophy will require new types of relationship building and a closer connection between program and fundraising staff.
- Co-Creation vs. Ownership: With the explosive growth of the sharing economy, we expect a spillover effect into the social sector. Rather than “owning” something, organizations will see it as community property and work together in higher forms of collaboration to seek the greatest utility for every resource. Maybe share an HR or IT Director or other shared services? Maybe co-locate programs to improve care?
- Progress vs. Niceness: In order to truly adapt, engage, and co-create, you have to be transparent about your ideas and express your unique point-of-view. However, the social sector gets blocked by “niceness” – wanting to always be in agreement and in harmony. True change comes from a higher form of communication – dialogue, which is a constructive exchange of ideas and points-of-view.
If you missed last year’s word shifts, check them out. We welcome your feedback on these or other word shifts. Future articles will further delve into each of these topics and we welcome your help in TrendSpotting!