Friday, December 23, 2011

Wishing You Joy, Courage and Vision

Dear Friends,

I wish all of you a joyous holiday season and a blessed New Year. This holiday letter is being posted both at Marion Conway – Nonprofit Consultant and The Grandma Chronicles.

Especially as I am getting older, Christmas is a time of reflection for me.  It is a time to be thankful for all our blessings, for appreciating family and friends, and for sharing with others.  It all brings joy.  I have turned down the lights in my office, lit candles in the window and am playing Christmas Chant. It is my routine for writing this Holiday message.  I can feel the peace of Christmas as I let go of the busyiness of the day filled with grocery shopping and cooking for Christmas Eve and Day.

This year has again been filled with the joy of grandparenting.  Our grandson is now 2 1/2 years old and he brings new energy to our lives every day.  I enjoy writing about him at The Grandma Chronicles and “shouting out with joy” about all of our adventures together.  This year Zach helped bake Christmas cookies for the first time and he is already a pro – enjoying all the tasks from slicing cherries, breaking eggs, using the electric mixer and spooning cookies on the baking sheet.  My husband had the courage to let him use a knife with supervision and Zach had the courage to use the electric mixer by himself. These pictures show how he approached this all with thoughtfulness. I had a vision of him enjoying baking cookies with Grandma and experienced total joy at the way he jumped in.  In less than two weeks Zach begins pre-school and both he and my daughter Fran, will have to show some courage as they let go of each other.

This past year has been another difficult one for the nonprofit community. Funding continues to be a challenge while demand is strong.  2012 may be the time for nonprofits to take a serious look at their vision and how they can get where they want to be.  I have seen in the last few months a new interest in strategic planning.  I wish you success with your planning – keep it focused on your mission and realistic and also have the courage to try new things.  How nonprofits deliver services, how they build relationships with all their constituents, how they fundraise – it is all changing.  Just as families and businesses are changing how they deal with a changed economic climate, it is time for nonprofits to think beyond a “make it through” mentality and look at fundamental changes that may be in order. 

This year my consulting work expanded to include quite a bit of speaking and I found that I really enjoy it.  Need a speaker in 2012?  Let’s talk.  I worked at blogging at three blogs and hope to blog more often in 2012. I have lots of other goals for 2012 but I’ll write about that at a later date.

Last year I wished you all joy, pride and a spirit of action.  This year, I wish you joy, courage and vision.  It is time to look beyond the coming year and visualize your path to the future.  Have the courage to take some big steps.    

Grandparents, parents, nonprofit friends and the nonprofits you work for will be in my prayers as I attend services on Christmas Eve.

May You Have a Blessed and Joyous Holiday,