January 17, 2017

What’s a trend? Historical change over time. Trend=Past. Pay attention to the implications for your organization, your clients, your community, the world, whatever.

What’s an emerging issue? Signals of possible change. Little hints that something might be happening. (Of course, the question is, will this become a trend?)

By the way, what happens when a trend is over? Mainstreamed? Maybe passé? What do we call it? Business as usual?

Think about these items:

  • Are millennials an emerging issue? Better yet, were they ever an emerging issue? (I had a millennial comment that “we’re not an issue!”) It’s a demographic change. Demographics change regularly. What’s trendy about demographic changes?
  • Was climate change once an emerging issue and now it’s a trend? Can a trend be permanent? So then it’s business as usual and growing ever more powerful maybe?

How about trends and emerging issues in fundraising? And trends and emerging issues n the nonprofit sector itself? In your particular field within the nonprofit sector, e.g., healthcare, environment, arts and culture, women’s rights, whatever? What are you seeing and experiencing.

Back to trends and emerging issues in fundraising – or any topic, for that matter! What are the trends you’ve seen and the emerging issues you’re watching? What do you think? Because I’m not going to mention any in this blog. This is your job and my job within our own work and within our organizations.

So… What’s your monitoring process? What cage-rattling questions does your organization ask and explore and study and research regularly? What blogs or websites or other media do you regularly follow?

How do you and your organization foresee the unforeseeable? How do you anticipate unintended consequences? How do you imagine that the inconceivable might become inevitable?

Recently I taught a course called emerging issues. Then I developed a workshop about trends and emerging issues. And I didn’t mention any specific trend or emerging issue. I just made you do it. And I also found this cool book to stimulate your thinking………4 STEPS TO THE FUTURE: A QUICK AND CLEAN GUIDE FOR CREATING FORESIGHT, by Richard Lum.

Filed under: Nonprofit Management

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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