Working in the social sector, the holidays can be a bittersweet time. While there is always excitement and magic in the air, and staff, volunteers and donors generously give their time and resources to make the holidays special for children in the community, we know that behind the splendor of the season, challenges persist for many families. Social TrendSpotters’ favorite posts of 2015 reflected the serious nature of the work we do. They grappled with hard-hitting topics like developing talent, taking action and learning from international and domestic crises. We hope this top 5 recap helps remind you of the things we can be grateful for as a nation and gives you tools to make concrete plans for action in 2016. Speaking of 2016, we will be kicking off the new year with our annual “Words to Know” post, but want to follow it up with a series of posts offering practical, actionable advice on your New Year’s resolutions. Share your resolutions with us through our website and social media, and we will cover them directly.

#1 (Almost) Free Talent: Paying it Forward with Internships
This year, talent was a major focus in the social sector. While summer may seem distant, now is actually the perfect time to begin planning for interns. Internships are a two-way street – not only do social sector organizations benefit from bright, energetic talent, but the students also have a chance to develop their skills and build their resumes to be competitive in the job market.

#2 Turning Strategy into Execution: Action Maps
Many social sector organizations were fantastic about creating strategic plans and imagining new futures for their communities this year. When the planning is over, many of you have asked, now what? Action maps are just one of the tools social sector organizations can use to turn strategy into action and breathe life into those strategic plans. If your strategic plan seems to be stalling, 2016 is a great time to re-ignite the energy behind it with action maps and dashboards.

#3 3 Pieces of Wisdom from Greek Drama
It was impossible to ignore the turmoil in the world this year and consider what role social sector organizations in the U.S. play in global crises. This blog highlights some of the lessons we can take away from the economic woes in Greece, including remaining true to our core, letting go of our egos and reflecting inward.

#4 Racism in the Social Sector
Back at home, the social sector was not exempt from its own drama, with communities across the country being confronted with racism and discrimination. The good news is that there is something the social sector can do to advocate for racial justice in its own operations by leveraging fantastic tools like the Racial Equity Impact Assessment. We recommend all our clients consider this assessment in their purchasing, hiring and program decisions.

#5 10 Resolutions for Daring Greatly & 6 Resolutions for Rising Strong
We love Brene Brown – both for the research behind her work and how she helps all of us “dare greatly” and “rise strong” when we fall. We took her work and applied it to the social sector in the form of resolutions. As you consider your organization’s New Year’s resolutions, use these posts to inspire you.

Let’s learn from the issues we faced in 2015 by reflecting on past missteps and make plans to improve in 2016 and beyond. We hope you will share Social TrendSpotter favorites of the year by tweeting or forwarding other favorites to friends and colleagues this holiday season.

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