Monday, December 24, 2012

My Wish for You this Year - Merge Strong Traditions with New Vision

Our New - First - Artificial Tree

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.
Every year, I take some quiet time to reflect on the year that is coming to a close and the one that is ahead.   I am so lucky to have my grown children live nearby and to be able to see my grandson several times a week. We made it through Hurricane Sandy unscathed.   I have been busier that ever with strategic planning and board retreat clients this year.  With family, nonprofit clients and summer community responsibilities I have had a very full year. 

Traditions are important to me but adapting to change has to merge with traditions.  Since my daughter and son both spend Christmas Eve with their other families, I had my family traditional Christmas Eve dinner last Sunday featuring an extensive antipasto, favorite fish dishes and special desserts. For the first time this year our tree is a small artificial tree (I love the prelit lights) instead of a large real one.  Adapting tradition and giving it a makeover is working out just fine.

For the nonprofits I work with this has been a year of adapting to the new normal.  This has meant adapting programs to new funding realities, new forms of fundraising, getting serious about social media, and new staff finding their sea legs and bringing new perspectives to organizations which -  like me –  are steeped in tradition.  There has been an increased serious interest in strategic planning and desire to discuss vision for the future.  It has been a privilege to work with nonprofits as they navigate through these changes. I have been in awe of the leaders of so many organizations I’ve worked with.  I have seen difficult situations dealt with and stronger organizations emerge – even if they don’t recognize that yet themselves.  It has been inspiring.

I definitely have to get the piano tuned.
On a personal level, it has been a year of change for me too.  My son has become engaged and we are welcoming a new family member.  She brings a new culture to our home and this morning my son called and wished us Feliz Navidad. My daughter and her family live just a mile away. My grandson is now 3 ½ and change is constant for a child this age.  He is independent, curious and full of life.  It is rejuvenating and exhausting at the same time.  It is such a joy to still be a big part of his life.

For nonprofits 2013 will beckon more change and adaptation.  Nonprofits are becoming more nimble and finding their own voice.  There is less of this “you should run more like a business” and more of “we need to establish priorities and focus on what we do best.”  I see a new energy among Boards and readiness to try new approaches.  Like me, many Boards have strong ties to traditions but we both must realize that traditions must find new ways to manifest themselves.

Each year I offer a wish for you in the new year.  This year my wish is for merging strong traditions with new vision.  Let’s use our imagination to make it happen.  Imagination is on my agenda for forging a Happy New Year with joy and courage to face what the world brings us.  And this is my wish for you.

May You Have a Blessed and Joyous Holiday,


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