Survey Says: We'd be MIA
without you 2!

Friday, April 3rd
5:30 - 8:00pm
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Mpls



* 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:

โ— We strive for respect and inclusiveness
โ— We seek opportunities to collaborate
โ— 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.



Making the Most of a Lackluster Seminar


By Sarah J.K. Sheldon
Follow me on Twitter @sarahjksheldon 

We’ve all been there. You sign up for an info session at a conference or an event with a presentation that sounds intriguing and potentially groundbreaking. You sit down for the session, pen in hand, ready to take notes. Throughout the entire session you wait for something noteworthy – something so insightful you just have to tweet it, write it down, and take it back to the office to share with your colleagues or impress your boss. You wait, and you wait, and nothing. Turns out the session isn’t what you thought it would be. The information doesn’t apply to your organization or your job, or it covers information you’ve already heard a million times (social media 101, anyone??).

Recently I attended an event that left me feeling this way. So now what? Did I just waste an hour or two of my time? 

Looking to get as much out of every info session, career improvement, and personal growth opportunity as I can, I am asking myself the following questions to see what I really got out of my recent info session:

  1. Networking: Above all else, did I make new connections? Who did I meet? What did they do and where did they work? What partnerships can come out of those new connections?
  2. Information gathering: Did I learn about a new organization? What was the hosting organization? Do I want to get involved with that organization? What can I learn about their mission and activities?
  3. Session content: Was it applicable to a colleague or coworker? Who can I recommend the presenter and/or their content to? Who can I share the information with? Even though it may not have applied directly to me, who do I know who could benefit?
  4. Follow up: How can I further connect with either the presenter or someone at his/her organization? How would an individual informational interview benefit me – what can I learn or what connections could I make?

Bottom line: While on the surface it may seem like you didn’t get anything out of that information session, there are ways to approach the experience to really make the most of it. And don’t forget: always accept business cards, write down names, and share contact information from every interaction. You never know what that connection will come in handy!

Photo Credit




Where Did All The Men Go?

Men At Work

By Brandon Boat
Follow me on Twitter @BrandonBoat 

I was listening to a panel discussion on career change when it hit me for the first time. All five panelists were women. In my AmeriCorps cohort, there were five men to the 35 women in the room. This was the first time that I had really taken notice that the nonprofit world had a greater number of women than men in the field. While this may be obvious to some of you, when I asked the panelists about it, they hadn’t even realized it. So if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to talk briefly about the where all the nonprofit men went.

I don’t wish for this blog entry to in any way diminish the struggles that women are facing in the working world. I recognize the problems of the gender wage gap, the barrier that glass ceilings pose and that real discrimination and harassment still occur at workplaces all over the country. However, I also believe that there’s room for multiple conversations around gender without resorting to “mansplaining.” 

So where did the men go? Naomi Levine, executive director of the Heyman Center, has said that women make up 82 percent of workers at small organizations, 74 percent at medium sized groups, and 59 percent at the largest workplaces.  I’ve had conversations before with event programmers about how they struggle to get men to attend their events. As the Programming Chair of YNPN Twin Cities, I’ve noticed a similar pattern in regards to our own attendance. In fact, the structure of YNPN Twin Cities bears this as well. I was very conscious that when I was being voted in as Programming Chair there was thirteen ladies in the room and I was the only fella. I wouldn’t say that it makes me uncomfortable, but it’s definitely something that I’m conscious of.

So why is it that the sector has come to be dominated by women, as high as 66% in some years? Kerry Hannan, writing in Forbes, thinks it’s these five reasons

  1. Flexible schedules are common.
  2. There’s opportunity.
  3. Decision-making is collaborative.
  4. Egos are tamer.
  5. Lower pay is not a deal-breaker.

I think that several of these reasons speak to much broader trends. Despite the fact that there are fewer men working in nonprofits, they dominate a disproportionate share of the leadership roles. Also, because of the gender wage gap, working in the nonprofit sector doesn’t seem to be as much as a pay cut from the for profit sector as it is for men. As much as these reasons may seem as positive attractions for women, they are related to bigger problems in the working world that push women away from the for profit sector.

So how do we get more men involved in the nonprofit world? Sorry, I don’t have the answers to that. But guys, perhaps the best thing you can do, would be to support the women in your office. While there are more of them than you, they still face more barriers in the workplace than you. Attend events highlighting these issues, advocate for more women in leadership roles and the easiest thing would just to be aware of it.





The Maybe Best, Maybe Worst Time I Quit My Job

By Holly Harrison
Follow me on Twitter: @hollharris

I’ve quit a few jobs post-college. The first time was terrifying—I returned to the Twin Cities with no job lined up, just with the money I’d saved working as a motel clerk in my tiny hometown. The next one was embarrassing—I quit a part-time job one week in because a full-time offer came my way. After that, an uplifting experience—after over a year of rejections, I finally got a “you’re hired,” and it was from an organization I was wildly passionate about.

Now, I’m quitting. I’m quitting the job I love at the organization I love for a completely different job that I’m sure I’ll love, too. Still, if it wouldn’t draw attention, I would be doing this in my cubicle right now:

Not an exaggeration.

I know this is a natural part of most people’s working lives. People don’t only leave their jobs once they’ve come to dislike them. They move across the country, they trade up to better wages, they shift career tracks. But knowing that everyone’s first break-up is hard won’t make yours any easier, and that goes for the professional kind too.

After getting the new job offer, I waited around for a while for an organic “eureka” that didn’t come. My first pass at weighing pros and cons didn’t get me anywhere. Eventually, I did what any mature, motivated, independent professional would do. I tried to get someone else to make the decision for me.

I told my boss I was sitting on another offer. We had just wrapped up my annual review days before, and I wasn’t keen on wading through another discussion about raises. But a peer had encouraged me to come clean, and my boss was glad I did. The salary they countered with was comparable to one Job 2 was offering. I was simultaneously thrilled that my organization was trying to keep me and disappointed that I couldn’t let the money decide.

I consulted with anyone I was comfortable telling about the situation. I spent most of these conversations with my head in my arms groaning, “I don’t know”—again, just like any mature, motivated, independent professional would do. One oddly encouraging part of this process was how one mentor-pal seemed to be on the same roller coaster. At first, they would lean one way. Then 12 hours later, they’d text me that they’d changed their minds. Sure, they weren’t helping me make my decision, but at least they made me feel validated in my indecision.

It was a little After School Special, but ultimately I was able to figure out what I wanted all on my own. (I didn’t even have to Google “should I quit my job?” first.) You’re probably not looking for inspiration from me, the human manifestation of uncertainty, but here’s what I did: I asked myself what my dream job was, outside my current experience and economic reality. I stopped thinking about the individual elements of Job 1 and Job 2 and all the places they diverged. Instead, I looked at where I wanted to be and found it was somewhere not even on the table.

Since dreams are personal and special and embarrassing when they aren’t achieved, I won’t tell you where I envision myself. But I will tell you that I realized Job 2 got me closer to that place than Job 1 did. With a smidgen of the wild hope that went into choosing a liberal arts major, I accepted Job 2 and submitted my resignation at Job 1. And I told my special secret dream to some people—just so they can keep me on track.


From Sideline to Frontline: Taking the Plunge

By Erica Winegar
Follow me on Twitter @ewinegar 

It's hard to believe it was only a year ago that I began volunteering with the YNPN-TC Programming Committee. The truth is, though, that I dabbled with the idea of joining YNPN-TC a lot sooner. I just didn't have the gumption to take the plunge. 

I've been working in the nonprofit sector since I graduated from college. Fortunately, the supervisors I've had throughout the years have been incredibly supportive and encouraged me to pursue professional development opportunities whenever possible.

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An Approach to Dealing with Resistance in Your Organization

By Iris Hoover
Follow me on Twitter @HooverIris

As Millennials in the nonprofit sector, our ideas for trying new approaches are often met with responses like: ‘this is the way we have done things for 10 years’ or ‘I don’t see why we need to change, things are going well’. To understand how we can better influence people with our ideas despite resistance, we must first understand what resistance is and learn strategies to help us manage professional situations in which we find resistance (and not let those moments get the best of us). 

Resistance is natural; it occurs in and outside of work and shows up wherever there are human interactions. Resistance is often an emotional process, and it is a reaction against the process of being helped (Burke, 2008, p.109). Sometimes we see resistance within our organizations when there are changes taking place, when stakes are high, or when roles shift among co-workers. We ourselves might be resistant to new ideas, suggestions, or a different way of doing our work. Whatever the reason, it is important to remember that resistance rarely has anything to do with you. Rather, it is reaction to the challenge created by new changes or ideas being proposed.

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