New Years is the traditional time to take stock of where we’ve been in the last twelve months, and to develop plans for the year ahead.

2018 was a good year for many of the nonprofits I work with. A couple of weeks ago Giving Compass published an informative 2018 Philanthropy Year-In-Review . Among the trends they spotted are advances in the collective impact of collaboration between individuals, organizations, corporations and grantmakers, as well as an increase in private sector engagement in social causes.

But it was a challenging year for many others. Last April I looked at the crisis at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (you can revisit that story on my blog). Both USA Gymnastics and the Boy Scouts of America are facing sexual abuse scandals, which has led to a bankruptcy filing for the gymnastics group. The Boy Scouts are reported also to be considering bankruptcy.

The Bay Area Open Space Council, based in Berkeley, CA, is a coalition of nonprofits and public agencies working to protect, steward, and connect people to the land. They revealed in November that funds have been depleted and that four out of five staff members had resigned. The six-person board of directors found out about this too late to take effective action.

Planning and communication can help prevent the kinds of problems we’ve been seeing. Heading into 2019 we need to be sure that our governance will be solid.

Some of you have read my short book about nonprofits Applied Wisdom for Nonprofits: Eight Practical Tools for Leadership. I’ve been getting great feedback. My goal was to create a succinct workbook of leadership tools and techniques and I’m pleased to know that it’s being used in nonprofits in California and beyond.

Here’s my recommendation for 2019: get the complimentary copy of the book and use it as a planning tool for your organization. The book is available on this website, without cost, in both print and ebook editions. If you’ve already got a copy, you can request additional complimentary copies to share with your staff and colleagues.

Inside the book, you’ll find eight of my key Morganisms, the ones that apply most directly to nonprofit groups, including chapters on planning, collaboration, and, of course, on respecting and trusting your people. Each 4-page chapter ends with a series of prompts for discussion, for senior management, emerging leaders and for board members, I’m told that these are proving to be valuable in starting conversations about change.

I’ve also created an audiobook of Applied Wisdom for Nonprofits. You can listen to it here.

Let me know what you think of Applied Wisdom for Nonprofits at And, just as importantly, help me spread the word.

Best wishes for 2019 to all of my readers.

To your success,
Jim Morgan

P.S. I’d like to hear from you on your plans for 2019; please comment below.