Nonprofit experts: fickle fashionistas?

Fashion magazines unflinchingly lay down rules for readers, leaving little room for questioning. And then they change their minds a year later, excoriating readers for their terrible fashion choices.

Last year: "Wedge sneakers are the fresh new look!" This year: "Wedge sneakers? What a horrible idea!"

This year: "Mint green is the color to wear this year!" Next year: "No one looks good in mint green. Why would anyone wear it?"

Well, sometimes nonprofit experts remind me of fashion magazine editors.

Two years ago: "It's all about building that email list." Last year: "E-mail is dead. Focus on social media." This year: "Forget Facebook. It's on the way out. Build that email list."

And at least the fashionistas stick to the same script. I've read conflicting "rules" for nonprofits in the same Twitter feed.

Now, let me clarify that I find a lot of what's written for nonprofits helpful. I am glad I discovered advice-filled blogs, magazines, tweets, Facebook feeds and books. I have sharpened my skills and help change the organizations I've worked with, and I get energized by new ideas and directions.

What irks me, though, isn't the changes. It's how often advice is delivered with an insistence that this is the right way. Really? Nah, it's one way that might work. There are best practices that can be broadly applied, but there really isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.

Hey, it's all one big experiment. Let's keep looking for ways to do things better, but let's also remember that today's advice may be tomorrow's mint green wedge sneakers.