What a year 2020 has been. To call it difficult would be an understatement. But I think it’s important to reflect on one of the most hopeful things I’ve seen this year: you. Philanthropy professionals and leaders who’ve pivoted quickly, embraced their vulnerability, and found new ways to nurture old and new connections.
It’s been inspiring to see openness and creativity take the lead in our field. While meetings and events have been suspended, our commitment to building relationships has remained. And through vulnerability and connectivity, we have found new, and in some cases better, ways to meaningfully communicate with our stakeholders. The results of this commitment have been clear: many organizations are finishing the year with new relationships, a stronger community, and a strengthened connection to the missions we serve. The spirit of generosity has remained, thanks in no small part to the work of those in our profession.
But what has made me most hopeful is the way we are reaching out to peers and colleagues in new ways as well. I have seen colleagues truly check in on each other, and be open with each other, in ways that are deeper and more intentional than before. That openness has fostered greater collaboration. This serves us well — we are stronger when we approach our challenges and opportunities together.
As many of us prepare for a longer holiday break, I hope we will reflect on the silver linings we have created/built during a time of crisis. I hope we will stay committed to how we’ve evolved our profession for the better, while also considering what we can each do to strengthen our work environments — for ourselves and for our colleagues. Let’s continue to be open about Zoom fatigue and our need for fewer meetings (and how about more 15, 25 or 50 minute meetings!) so we can focus on what truly needs our time. Let’s figure out how we can step away from or minimize those less important tasks that do not grow relationships or philanthropy. Let’s continue to be nimble and to shine a light for the way forward.
As we look to 2021, my wish for everyone who works to inspire generosity is that you take some time off, that you reflect on your good work, and that you return in the new year ready to meet whatever it may bring with the grace, flexibility and hard work that you met 2020. The causes we represent are incredible, and so is our work. Cheers to the hopefulness on the horizon for next year!