In the Beginning….

Welcome to a new year! Despite the fact I know that not much really changes between December 31st and January 1st, there’s something about the flip of that calendar page that renews my dreams, hopes and ambitions for the year to come.


In small nonprofits land, January tends to arrive with a cheer or a groan, depending on how well your annual appeal performed. For organizations whose fiscal year matches the calendar, staff find themselves at (and really, sort of behind) the starting line. Maybe you have a strategic plan  or development plan or annual priority plan or scenario plan guiding your activities and/or maybe that plan is sitting on the shelf or was buried in the recycling been or the recesses of your computer’s memory long ago. It is, in part, this annualized cycle of madness that makes us risk averse, that keeps us boxed in and tied to ineffective programs, and never allows for our maximized impact.

The good news is that anytime (especially now!) is a good time to start.  Start from scratch, start from the middle, start over….. And whatever you decide to start, be resolute in your decision. You may have cringed at my use of “resolute” because you might be the kind of person who makes New Year’s resolutions that last maybe until the Super Bowl? Or you might not make any because they don’t matter and perhaps you don’t feel like they change much.  But as Seth Godin, one of my favorite contemporary thinkers, shares:

The thing is, incremental daily progress (negative or positive) is what actually causes transformation. A figurative drip, drip, drip. Showing up, every single day, gaining in strength, organizing for the long haul, building connection, laying track—this subtle but difficult work is how culture changes. It takes a generation to change the political landscape or to build a hundred-year company.

Which brings me to my questions for you:

  • What is the task/idea/program you or your organization has been putting off - maybe because it’s too hard or too different or too time consuming or too risky?
  • Do you owe it to those you serve and your community to start?
  • And if so, how can you start today?
  • Whose help do you need?

Anything is possible at any moment - you just have to start.

“That last page turned is a perfect excuse to write a whole new book.” - Toni Sorenson

Rachel D'Souza-Siebert