2012 trend predictions
While there is no crystal ball that shows the future (that we are aware of anyway), it isn’t without trying that we look ahead each year and attempt to discern what the coming months will bring. This year, Nell Edgington from Social Velocity posted a recent blog that offered a solid set of predictions and advice for the nonprofit industry. We thought it might be helpful to pass her thoughts on to you and add in a few tips of our own!Be more open and engaged
Social media has changed the way we communicate. Those nonprofits that continue to try and control their messages versus engaging and listening to their constituents will struggle. Relinquishing this control is difficult, but by reaching out to volunteers, donors and other audiences and asking them to assist in spreading the word, a veritable army of ambassadors can be created.Seek their help and give them the reigns to your messaging. Send fruit-flavored lollipops or Life Savers® in a print mailing asking audiences to be sweet on you by talking about your organization whenever they can.

Have honest dialogue
People continue to be savvier in their ability to recognize sincere and open communication versus that which appears to have a “spin.” Tell donors the truth about your organization and the challenges it is facing. Don’t sugar-coat the fact that financially you are likely struggling or that funds need to be allocated to operations.

Try sending donors a logo’d coin purse or box bank with the message that every cent helps. Explain your challenges and the economic climate your organization is facing and encourage them to ask the hard questions. Attempt to deepen your relationship with them by offering complete transparency.

Continue to educate your boards
The more knowledgeable your board members are, the better questions they will ask and the better decisions they will make on behalf of your organization. From finances to operations to marketing, solicit board members to be involved and then consistently contribute to their well-rounded education.

Start new board members off on the right foot by giving them imprinted Good to Great books. Jot a note on the inside covers that includes key facts and resources about your organization for further inspiration.

Plan, plan and plan some more
It’s easy to get focused on tactics, such as sending out newsletters or coordinating volunteers or developing a new program. These are the activities that keep us busy day-in and day-out. But, too often we lose sight of the big picture—the critical reasons WHY we are doing those activities in the first place. Take time in 2012 to step back and plan. Evaluate your organizational goals and hone in on the strategies that will help make you successful.

Seek new revenue sources
Fundraising is a forever challenge. But, think of 2012 as the year to move beyond the fund- and friend-raising to the year of innovative, sustainable revenue streams. Develop a product that can be sold or partner with a for-profit that needs your services for hire. Go beyond the annual appeal and break the mold for adding to your bottom line.
2012 is poised to be a great year. Hopefully these trends and tips offer insight into making it even more prosperous for your organization!

Edgington, Nell. “5 Nonprofit Trends to Watch in 2012.” Web log post. Social Velocity. Social Velocity, 15 Dec. 2012. Web. 27 Dec. 2012.

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