You could say that 2011 was a year for the record books, but that's a little cliché. So are top ten lists in my opinion, which are best reserved — albeit less wittily lately — for late-night talk-show hosts in ill-fitting suits.
That's not to say that there's no value in looking back on the most-read and popular stories on CharityVillage® from the past year. In fact, there's plenty to read into the reading habits of our readers. As I reviewed the top stories that we published in 2011, a few themes emerged, and in a format that will be sure to please my tenth grade English teacher, I'd like to present them in the three body paragraphs below before making a few predictions for 2012.
People are at the heart of nonprofits and charities
This isn't news to anyone. However, like many hearts, people earning a living in nonprofits may be prone to being overworked and might be under a fair amount of stress. Whether it's from taking on a brand new role that didn't even exist five years ago, managing multiple duties and added responsibility, or teetering on the brink of burn out, people are reflecting (or at least reading about) the changing nature of nonprofit work and are keen to find ways to reduce stress while developing their talents and skills.
- The Social Media Manager
- It's a Juggling Act: Nonprofit Staff and their Multiple Roles
- Happy Staff Are Loyal Staff
- Burnout: Signs and Strategies for Every Nonprofit Professional
You're busy. And like practical tools, information and advice
Whether it's a breakdown of recent changes to legislation affecting how your organization operates, advice on how to improve your next grant application, or thoughts on how to manage potentially complicated employee relationships, stories and articles that help you and your team do your jobs more effectively — and separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff — are consistently among the most popular (and shared) resources on CharityVillage®.
- Charity Intelligence: Transparent on Transparency?
- Re-Act: How will the CNCA Affect You?
- How to Get the Grant
- Internships and the Law: What you need to know
Making a difference is important. So is earning a living.
How much money do you make? What about your boss? It seems like finding out what people earn for a day's work was on the minds of those both in and outside the sector in 2011. Bill C-470 (dealing with compensation in charitable organizations) died on the order paper with the federal election call in the spring and there was a fair bit of mainstream media focus on salaries in the sector throughout the year. And while people working in nonprofits may have ‘passion for the cause' — they also appear to be interested in earning a decent wage and understanding just how their salaries stack up.
- Nonprofit Salaries: It Should Be a Living
- Making the $10K Leap
- Compensation: The Inside Scoop
What lies ahead
While I'm neither clairvoyant, nor licensed to operate a crystal ball, I'll hazard a few guesses (educated or otherwise) as to what I think may be keeping nonprofit professionals preoccupied as 2012 unfolds.
A focus on transparency and accountability
Facing increased scrutiny from the media, funders and donors, nonprofits and charities will have to demonstrate greater transparency and accountability in how their organizations operate. As a result they'll need to spend more time focusing on how to communicate their impact effectively to various stakeholders than ever before.
New financing models in an era of economic uncertainty
I haven't bothered opening my investment portfolio statements for the past quarter. I already know the news, and it isn't good. With all levels of government in deficit slashing and cost-cutting mode, world economies at risk of heading back into recession, and personal indebtedness at an all-time high, the only thing that's certain is financial uncertainty. Momentum has been building for creative and sustainable financing models for charities and nonprofits (heard of the field of social finance or those social impact bonds?) and I predict that 2012 will be the tipping point — the year when many organizations start exploring these models not because they want to, but because they have to.
A new game-changing social media bandwagon to jump on!
I jest — but with the rapidly changing nature of the social media ecosystem, you just never know. What I do believe however is that in 2012, many organizations will realize that they can't, and shouldn't be, on all social media channels. They'll hone their focus on one or two that make the most sense for their organization, their members, and their audience – and execute flawlessly.
What are your predictions for the sector's preoccupations in 2012? Please share them with us by email at email@example.com.
All the best for 2012,