Convergence report from La Piana Consulting – part 2

Previous post introduced an article by La Piana Consulting, which discusses their report called Convergence- How Five Trends Will Reshape the Social Sector.

In their report, La Piana identifies five emerging trends.  I will mention the five with a brief comment or two on each.  As I mentioned earlier, I will clearly identify the direct quotes from their article.

Demographic shifts redefine participation ” – NPOs will see significant change in their workforce as they bring on board people who grew up with high-tech as an integral part of their life.  These changes will go beyond just an age difference to include “significant distinctions in how younger generations value, approach and leverage engagement, transparency, technology, professional development and work-life balance.  These differences will have to be negotiated.”  Major changes!

In addition to learning to work better across generations, organizations will have to work better across cultures.  By 2042, forecasts indicate the United States will have shifted to a minority-majority society.  We can only guess what impact that will have on the work environment.  The report suggests this will be a big shift. 

I am inclined to agree but could not even guess what changes this will produce.  The value of making this point is to get us guessing about what that will look like.  As we ponder the options, we start planning.

Technological advances abound” – the report suggests that social media will be the most transformative technology.  I agree.  I doubt that any of us can grasp what a radical shift social media will create for nonprofits.  The possibility of having many channels for rapid two-way communication is an incredible opportunity for organizations trying to create change. 

The report says “communication must be continuous, it must be personalized and it must come from multiple sources.  This can pose a cultural challenge for nonprofit leaders, who have long been taught that the organization must speak with one voice and that it should seek to control the message.  In this new era, more than ever, such control is an illusion.”  I agree – that will require a massive cultural change. 

As an accountant I naturally think of the legal liability and confusion from having a dozen or more lower- and mid-level staff talking to their constituency (oh yeah, with their uncoordinated and inconsistent communication being available to the entire planet too).  That is a scary thought.  Really scary.  But we are all going to have to get used to it.

On the other hand, if you want the high value of social media, you will find it is not only possible to have many voices, but it is necessary.

“To have a credible voice in this environment, nonprofits need to empower everyone in the organization to be a spokesman.”  

Aha!  Grab hold of the opportunity and empower people to speak.  Give them coaching and training to do so.  Go for it!  We might be amazed at what everyone can do.

Next post – the final three emerging trends.

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