The Year Ahead
Posted on December 20, 2011 at 9:35 am
As 2011 draws to a close, I find myself seriously considering the road ahead in 2012.
As my regular readers know, I took a five month hiatus from the aid world this summer. They might have also noticed that although I’ve returned, I’m not writing as often as I used to. In fact, I’m not writing blog posts much at all anymore. This is because my hiatus helped me reevaluate my priorities. I already knew that what I was doing was not sustainable, I had to figure out what to do in the short-run so that I could continue as a donor educator in the long-run.
One of the things I’ve decided is to decrease the amount of time I spend blogging. Being an aid blogger has given me some great opportunities. I’ve learned a lot by being a part of so many great debates and I’ve enjoyed exchanging ideas with people that really care about the impact of aid and development. I’ve also appreciated the opportunity to educate the wider public through numerous newspaper and radio interviews. Most of the reporters contacted me based topics I discussed in my blog.
Unfortunately, while blogging is a great opportunity it is also amazingly time consuming with little if any financial benefits. Tobias Denkus nicely stated this in his post My development blogging 2011 review. “As exciting as the idea of new and different forms of communication is and as interesting as it is to see new bloggers emerge, it is a reminder that blogging is a product of our times: Internet-based, sophisticated, time-consuming if done well and hopeless with regard to ‘value for money’.”
Anyone that thinks blogging is quick and easy should try doing it regularly for several years. Just look at the number of people that have stepped away from blogging this year:
J. from Tales from the Hood - It’s been fun, ladies and gentlemen. But now it’s time to say ‘good-bye.’
Sean Stannard-Stockton from Tactical Philanthropy - But now it is time for me to take a break from writing and focus on other areas of my life. Starting today, I’m taking a sabbatical of indefinite length from writing this blog.
Blogging and developing this website have been a great strain on both my time and my finances. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve considered just walking away from it all. Part of what I did this summer was debate whether this was the end of the line for me. But each time I think about leaving I receive letters from followers telling me how I’ve affected them or I’m sent news articles or links to online discussions where I can see that what I’m doing has an impact.
So what I’ve decided is to change my focus. I’m going to significantly decrease the amount of time I spend blogging and tweeting and instead work on developing guides and curriculum.
Writing guides instead of blog posts will give me more room to develop a concept and provide a broader and more nuanced understanding of that topic. The guides will also hopefully have more staying power than posts which can come and go so quickly.
The curriculum I develop will be for classes and clubs interested in teaching about smart giving. They will be designed to provide hands-on activities to help students understand concepts that can seem counter-intuitive and will put the students into the role of the person receiving the assistance. I feel that these activities could be far more powerful than reading someone repeatedly ranting on a topic of frustration.
A final benefit of the guides and curriculum is that they can sold instead of being available for free on the internet. If I’m going to remain a donor educator I’ve got to make it pay – and blogging just hasn’t done that for me.
In the new year my focus will be on fewer blog posts and more resources available on the website. My hope is that by doing this I can continue being a source of information for smart giving well into the future.
Wishing all of you happy holidays and a great new year.
Related post: Good Intentions’ Top Posts in 2011