The end of the year is always a special time for many social sector organizations. Not only do we have the chance to celebrate with clients and their families over the holidays, but we also enjoy the magic of the season. This warm holiday glow is often accompanied by hurriedness and hustle over event planning, gift giving and year-end appeals. To help you cherish these last days of 2014 and ease any lingering organizational worries, we’ve prepared a list of this year’s TrendSpotter favorites.

In 2014, Social TrendSpotters were jazzed about tailoring business concepts to the social sector and increasing efficacy in serving our clients. Your favorite blogs from the year highlight these trends, and we hope this retrospective can help you further your impact as you prepare for 2015.

#1 Collaboration Commandments
As social sector organizations, we frequently collaborate with other agencies. Yet, our clients are better served by some collaborations more than others. This blog sets some basic rules to maximize your relationships and time to benefit clients.

#2 Market Research Part 1Part 2Part 3
Developing a system that allows us to confidently embark on new ventures or validate current ones has been on Social TrendSpotters’ minds. Using market research to set goals and guide primary and secondary research is a helpful tool to minimize costly errors and increase programmatic success.

#3 Business Pitches and Prospectuses 
Investors are increasingly asking nonprofit organizations and social enterprises to give brief pitches on how their services will solve issues in the community. Your ability to concisely and persuasively tell your organization’s story in multiple formats can make or break funding decisions.

#4 Social Alchemy
Many of us in the social sector are perpetual dreamers and optimists. We are bursting with ideas on how to change the world and sometimes do not know where to start. Social alchemy gives us a framework to translate our ideas to action.

#5 Self-Sufficiency
One of the questions we received most in 2014 was, “How do we measure our impact on clients if we offer many services?” This blog highlights the self-sufficiency matrix, an evaluation tool social sector organizations can use to measure clients’ independence on multiple domains.

We hope you enjoy this look back into Social TrendSpotter favorites of the year and ask that you share with us as well as tweet or forward other favorites to friends and colleagues this holiday season.

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