Member Meet-Up: Barebones Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza
Saturday, Nov. 1st
7-9 pm
Hidden Falls Regional Park, St. Paul

Moment of Obligation Workshop
Wednesday, November 5th
5:30 - 7:30 pm
Center for Changing Live
2400 Park Avenue, Minneapolis

Waiting List: Breakfast of Champions with Judy Alnes
Friday, Nov. 14th
7-8:30 am
MAP for Nonprofits, St. Paul

Emerging Leaders Network Lunch: Strategies for the Ultra-Small Organization
Friday, Nov. 21st
12-1 pm
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, St. Paul



* Notes from Creating Leader-full Spaces presentation at 2012 Nonprofit Leadership Conference.

* Facilitation resources on topics such as Open Space Technology and World Cafe, and groups such as the Public Conversations Project and the international Art of Hosting network.






We provide and promote opportunities for the development of young nonprofit professionals.

We envision a world where young nonprofit professionals:

• connect through purpose
• challenge to change
• lead together

Our values:

● We strive for respect and inclusiveness
● We seek opportunities to collaborate
● We respond to the evolving needs of our community

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The Twin Cities chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network is a community of nonprofit staff, volunteers, supporters, and allies: current and future leaders who want to connect with others in the social sector.




By Tayor Putz
Follow me on Twitter @TaylorPutz 

There are approximately 80 million millennials and they’re rapidly taking over from the baby boomers. Millennials are often called entitled or lazy because some still live with their parents and cannot stop taking selfies. They have experienced the impact of the economic recession, including piles of student debt, while receiving pressure to do better than their parents. Despite this millennials have drive and optimism.

As engaged citizens, millennials are finding their own voices. Organizations like Generation Progress work for and with young people to find progressive solutions to key political and social challenges throughout the country like immigration reform and student debt. Additionally, young people are running for office and winning. Minnesota State Representative Joe Radinovich was the youngest member of the 2013-2014 legislature at the age of 26 and Manitowoc, Wisconsin’s mayor, Justin Nickels, was the youngest elected mayor in the country at the age of 22. 

Millennials are not the only ones fighting to make a change. Take, for example, my personal heroes – Dr. Jane Goodall, 80, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, 65. Not only do they believe that change is possible, they make change happen. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, Goodall and Warren are in the arena rather than the critic on the side.

At the age of 26, Jane Goodall was the first woman to travel to Africa and study chimpanzees, altering the way humans think about chimpanzees. She is now a United Nations Messenger of Peace traveling the world encouraging people to do their part to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment. Similarly, Senator Warren believes the American financial system is rigged against hard working people. Before being elected a US Senator from Massachusetts, she founded the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, which works to ensure consumers get the information they need to make financial decisions. 

Jane Goodall and Elizabeth Warren are in the arena fighting for a more equitable and just society, but they are not the only ones. As millennial nonprofit leaders, many of us are using our passion and intelligence to seize opportunities and achieve change. It’s not the six-figure salary that brings us to work every day but rather it’s our opportunity to make a difference in the lives of real people. 

My journey to the nonprofit field began at home before I knew what a nonprofit organization was. Growing up in Wisconsin, my family like others suffered from the impact of too much alcohol. Realizing that I could not make a change at home on my own, I looked to my school and community. As with many social issues, people are flooded with persuasive messaging from the media. In Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, many young people believed it was acceptable to drink underage, leaving alcohol-free youth without a voice. 

Over the next four years, I made sure young people had a seat at the table and worked part-time during college as a community organizer for a nonprofit that gave alcohol-free youth a strong voice in their community. By working with community leaders, we bridged the gap between youth and adults to make important policy and systematic changes. The health and safety of the community was improving and unexpectedly, my home life was too. That was my “aha” moment when I knew public service was right for me.

I’m not the only millennial who identified a problem and frankly, got shit done. Young nonprofit leaders step into the arena and fight for issues everyday. We bring a set of unique experiences that give us the courage to stand up and improve lives through avenues like theater, advocacy, or taxes. The results of hard work are not always visible but without driven and optimistic nonprofit millennials, change would never happen. 

Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas, explained it best when she said:

Despite the frustrations and disappointments, which are many, there is no work that is more rewarding than public service. You may go somewhere else and you may make a lot of money but you will never receive the kind of gratification that you receive from looking someone in the eye who says ‘thank you for helping make my life better.'

Image Credit



Omnivorous Leadership

By Cary Lenore Walski
Follow Me on Twitter @cwalski

I never cease to be amazed by my dog Lela’s tireless quest for food, or the broadness of her definition of it. To Lela, food is what you eat. And so during the course of the day yesterday I wrested from her mouth one apple core, a piece of neon yellow chewing gum (used) and apparently-not-poisonous mystery berries.

Although her open-mindedness vis-a-vis “food” leaves me longing for hand sanitizer, I can’t help but admire her instincts. In her own weird way, Lela has no preconceptions about what opportunity is. She pursues it with single-minded enthusiasm.

I wonder if there’s a lesson in there for all of us about the value of seeking opportunities, insights, and new ideas from unconventional sources. I’ve been thinking a lot about the particular qualities of leadership that enable an organization to be innovative.

I’ve come to the conclusion that one of these qualities must be an “omnivorous” approach to ideas at all levels — an ability to set aside our bias and evaluate opportunity upon facts instead of preconceptions.

I read an article over on Wired recently about the psychology of power. In it one of the psychologists quoted notes that those who find themselves in positions of power consistently become less apt to listen to those who are not perceived as being as powerful.

As a result, they miss out on the insights of those working around them, and the work of the group suffers. This myopia also applies to the most important group that a leader has to listen to — the people they actually serve, whether it be through products and services in for-profit companies, or through programs in the nonprofit world.

As Andrew Carnegie was found of saying, if he had succeeded in life, it was because he surrounded himself with people smarter than he. Where would he have ended up if he hadn’t recognized the value in listening to those around him?

I think it’s something worth thinking about as we millennials begin to accept positions of leadership, and strike off on our own to create those positions for ourselves through new start-up ventures and organizations.

What do you think? How do you incorporate an omnivorous approach to ideas at your workplace, even if you aren’t in a leadership position?


Negotiating FTW


By Carl Atiya Swanson
Follow me on Twitter @catiyas 

I am finishing up an MBA at the University of Saint Thomas, and one of my last classes is an elective on negotiations. I really enjoy it - the readings are on sports contracts and great diplomatic compromises. I enjoy role-playing in the cases that we use for mock negotiations and the debriefing afterward where the class analyzes cases from every point of view. These are enriching experiences.

There are some really useful skills that I've picked up in the class, many from Ron Shapiro's book, The Power of Nice. If you are looking for an approachable book on building your negotiation skills, I'd definitely recommend this read. It’s full of memorable guidelines and pithy insights from many years in sports and entertainment negotiation, and it’s a quick read. His “3Ps and a Big L” – prepare, probe, propose, and listen – are as useful and basic an insight as you’re likely to get, and it can be applied to any number of situations we face as young nonprofit professionals. 

For example, if you’re accepting a new job or looking for a salary increase, how would you apply the 3Ps and Big L framework? You could prepare by researching your position’s salary range with the Minnesota Council on Nonprofits Salary & Benefits Survey (there’s a copy in the Springboard for the Arts Resource Center if you need one.) You could also use the business and entrepreneurship resources at the J.J. Hill Reference Library to build a better understanding of the sector. You’d probe your boss or potential employer for what they see as your key strengths, what the needs of the organization are, and what you can do to fulfill those needs. You’d put together a proposal that shows your value, how it increases the strength of the organization, and makes it seem perfectly rational that you’d get a raise. You’d listen all along for new opportunities and the nuances that give you the leverage to make the raise a reality.

Of course, it’s not that easy, but you always have to be looking for the opportunity to make the pie bigger – to be integrative and expansive in your negotiations. And that’s really the key insight from Shapiro – that every negotiation is a relationship-building exercise, and you should be looking to create ongoing benefits. He doesn’t use the phrase “win-win” that we hear so often, but “WIN-win,” where we come out ahead, but don’t burn any bridges in the process. If you’re clear, rational, and firm, negotiations can plant seeds that bear abundant fruit.

That “WIN-win” resonates with me in my nonprofit capacity. Much of our work is driven by passion, creativity, joy and a profound desire to make things better. Sometimes the cases that we’ve used in class for mock negotiation are set up as spot negotiations, bargaining hard to extract the greatest profit out of a single situation, and this is where the negotiations make me feel like a bad capitalist but a good member of the social sector. As nonprofit professionals, we’re looking for big wins, and we’re negotiating on more than just a purchase price of, say, 100,000 pheasant eggs.

We can’t completely remove material gain from the equation – nonprofits are only one step removed from profit, either through our own earned income, the generosity of individual donors, or the accumulated wealth of foundations. However, our impact is not necessarily measured in the concreteness of cash. I recently had the opportunity to hear Alberto Ibargüen, President and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, speak about the launch of the Knight Cities Challenge. In conversation, he pointed out that the Foundation makes grants to figure out what the social trends are, anticipate needs, and adapt our systems and infrastructure. You can’t necessarily capture that on a profit & loss statement.

In Lady Windemere's Fan, Oscar Wilde asked the question, "What is a cynic?" His response, "A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." So here’s a challenge fpr us young nonprofit professionals who are called to do good work: Let's find the real measures of our work. Let's develop more ways to track and share the impacts of dignity, joy and creativity. Whether it’s tracking audience reactions, shifts in the media narrative, or other quantitative measures that support the stories we know, let’s tease out those measures and them as bargaining tools when negotiating the value that we bring to the table. Negotiate FTW.

Photo By Claire Nelson


Knowing What Metrics Can (And Can’t) Tell You

By Anthony Parrish 

Did you know that the amount of mozzarella cheese consumed in the United States correlates to the number of civil engineering doctorates awarded? It is true – check it out here (along with many other spurious correlations).  Statistics of varying ilk are everywhere, from Facebook's massive experiments on users to how we calculate the poverty line. Honestly, those numbers can be scary, especially when they are about our own performance at work. But, statistics can also be helpful in staying focused on what really matters.

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Doing Something With Your "Do Something"

By M. Maria Lopez

April, 2009 Click… Bushfire in Australia kills over 150 people, exact numbers still unknown … Click… the WHO now considers the swine flu outbreak to be an emergency of international concern … Click…an Alabama man kills 9 people before committing suicide … Click …  

I wanted to “DO SOMETHING”. Only, I wasn’t really sure what that “SOMETHING” was- I just had a fuzzy, unfocused and sincere desire to help. I had recently graduated college, was stuck in a boring job, and my only response to horrible things happening in the world, was to click over to cat videos or, at most, write an impassioned Facebook post, where friends would join me in my outrage and inaction.

At a friend’s suggestion, I started leisurely looking for a volunteer opportunity. I had volunteered all through high school and mostly enjoyed it. It was better than nothing, and I certainly didn’t have oodles of money to put towards some brilliant cause, nor did I have the years of wisdom or education to solve the problems of the world. When I saw MAP for Nonprofits at a job fair, I asked if they knew of anyone looking for a volunteer. “Oh,” the woman said, “You don’t want to just volunteer- you want to be on a board of directors.”  …Me? On a board of directors? Weren’t board members old, rich, white men? I excelled at stuffing envelopes, and showed some brilliance at setting up tables, but I had no idea if I could be a board member.

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