Home > Uncategorized > Looking Back to 2009 — Setting the Stage for 2010

Looking Back to 2009 — Setting the Stage for 2010

Written by Don Crocker, Executive Director/CEO, Support Center

What a year! We elected a new President, New York captured the baseball world series, and the universe of nonprofit and philanthropic endeavors changed and morphed right before our eyes. The volatile economy had us both back on our heels and, at the same time, darting forward to meet new challenges.

So let’s look back to see what happened and where we might go from here. Here are my top five major developments of 2009 that will be grabbing our attention in 2010:

Don Crocker

Don Crocker

1) Change is the watchword and customer service is primary:

Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, at their core, are committed to change. Whether it is changing an entire community or changing conditions for individuals, we are committed to making the world a better place. Expectations for rapid and meaningful change have never been as demanding and instant as in 2009.

In essence, the product of our work is not as important as the experience and the outcome. Here, in 2009, we ramped-up our ability to listen to our customers philanthropic and nonprofit leadership and to respond to requests. In 2010, we are poised to refine our ability to listen regularly and to respond more nimbly, quickly and effectively.

2) Social media and social networking are legitimate venues of communication:

Surveys tell us that more than 50% of current web users interact with social networking communities. Our foray into LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogs, U-Tube and Twitter was just the beginning. What started out as a fun exploration is rapidly becoming a full-fledged arm of our communications effort. Not only will we be talking to you through these venues in 2010, we will be listening to you through them as well.

3) Philanthropic and nonprofit work requires a more refined and reflective strategy than ever before:

We are all discovering that while we often need to make decisions quickly, random business decisions are dangerous in this volatile environment. A lack of understanding of the external environment and our internal imperatives can lead quickly to chaos and devolution. Sound and strong strategy requires reflection and discussion. Leadership teams need to take the time to reflect and work toward common ground in order to align their focus and maximize efficiencies and effectiveness. We are planning for these discussions here and we stand ready to assist you with your strategy discussions in 2010!

4) Reinvention is hard but necessary:

An overly cautious management culture, lack of opportunities for experimentation, and a tendency toward business as usual thinking will hold back needed transformations in our sector. Management, board, and employee engagement at all levels is critical to future success. Confronting the realities of our external and internal environments is critical.

In 2009 we worked more closely than ever with our philanthropic partners and clients to get agreement on a focus and ground rules for engaging and addressing these changes. We will do more of this in 2010 and stand ready to work closely with you as you refine your focus and build your momentum for reinvention.

5) A better world ahead?

For all of us, some pain of change is inevitable. We will be anxious, confused, and angry at times while we move to a new way of doing our work. Down deep, perhaps, we know that some of this anxiety, confusion, and anger can and will lead us to a new, better way of accomplishing our missions and creating stronger communities and a better world.

William Bridges, in his timeless bestseller Managing Transitions, quotes Marilyn Ferguson (American Futurist) in saying, “not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.”

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