Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Roundup

Last evening we had some excellent Barbecue from a local spot in Cold Spring NY called Roundup Texas. Its name prompted me to do a brief review of blog posts I wrote in 2016. That's what everyone in the media does at the end of the year - look back, right? Besides looking ahead just might be a bit scary, given the current climate, in spite of my "Be Not Afraid" admonition last month.

I posted nine pieces, including this one, bringing to 57 I have written since I began in April 2011.  I am sometimes asked, how do I choose my topics? There is no rhyme or reason. Whatever strikes my fancy is the best answer, keeping in mind my audience is folk involved in guiding nonprofits. Most posts are didactic in nature, hoping to  provide useful advice for those deep in the daily struggle. Others are more general, even written to entertain.

In this latter category may be found  the most read : February's "Over The Top Criticism"- although there is a message ultimately about time reversing initial reactions. (All these posts may  be be read in the archive section to the left of this screen). I used examples from Nicholas Slonimsky's "Lexicon of Musical Invective" as examples. For instance a  contemporaneous review of Beethoven's Second Symphony declared it a "crass monster."

March's "Block Gobbledygook - Save The Humanities" - addressed the need for and importance of clear writing as evidence of clear thinking.  I had fun quoting examples of outrageous gibberish, especially from academia.

I looked at  several management issues. The need for careful administrative organization before embarking  on a capital campaign was addressed in September's ""For Want Of A Nail" - Campaign Infrastructure." In May, I tackled what has almost become a fad in a piece called " "A-Branding We Will Go." Look before you leap was the message before embarking on an expensive  branding or re-branding exercise.

 I have an ongoing interest in non profit boards and governance in general. The critical importance of having board members who understand and commit to their duties was discussed in January's "Board Member's Oath of Office." The sensitive  and tricky question of length of tenure of leadership in nonprofits, both staff and board, was explored in "Been On The Job Too Long" posted in June. This post had a lower readership than most. Did the title scare some away?

Finally I  could not avoid writing about the presidential  election and its outcome in October's "Nonprofits and A Toxic Election" and November's "What's Ahead for Nonprofits -The Looming Trump Era." In the latter, I ended by quoting the poet Seamus Heaney's last message to his wife in a text shprtly before his passing:  "Noli Timere"  - Be Not Afraid.

That was 2016, perhaps an "Annus Horribilis"  (Horrible Year) as Queen Elizabeth II stated about  the year 1992, when Charles divorced Diana in addition to other Royal family troubles. Will 2017 be better? Surely it will be challenging. I will look forward to the journey, along with you,  and hope my musings will be of some use. Happy New Year!!

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