How to Use Google Docs and Other Free Resources

Friday, Feb. 20th
12:00 - 1:00pm
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, St. Paul
(No registration required - but please bring your own laptop)

 

For Good Measure: SROI and Current Trends in Nonprofit Impact Measurement 

Tuesday, Mar. 17th
5:30 - 7:30 pm
Augsburg College, Minneapolis

 

* 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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

Wednesday
Feb252015

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.

The problem was I didn't have a clue where to start looking for these opportunities. So, naturally, I did what anyone would do to find the answer to this question: I Googled it. And when I hit the search button, I got a ton of results, but the top ones featured this group called Young Nonprofit Professionals Network-Twin Cities. 

I was impressed by the description of the organization and the extensive programming it had to offer. Most impressive, though, was the fact that this group was all volunteer-based.

Although I was quite charmed with YNPN-TC, I didn't subscribe to the newsletter or attend any of the events. Instead, I took a very Minnesotan approach: I followed the social feed and bookmarked the website so I could easily (and discretely) check it on occasion to see what was happening in the Twin Cities. 

This wasn't sustainable, though. If I wanted to make any headway with my professional development and do so with YNPN-TC, I had to muster up some courage and register for an event, even if it meant attending alone. I was done watching from the sidelines. I signed up to attend the "Dollar by Dollar" event, which focused on philanthropy and young professionals. Perfect.

After I registered, I received a personalized welcoming email from one of the board members. I think it was the email that first made me seriously consider joining YNPN-TC. The sender was friendly, inviting, and said he looked forward to meeting me at my first event. That email held me accountable; I needed to show up. 

I connected with some pretty awesome people, including the person who sent me the welcoming email. We met for coffee and that started a chain reaction of introductions and invitations to other board members.

Despite the enthusiasm and encouragement I received, I was still a little anxious about the thought of joining a committee. Would this actually set me on my desired trajectory? Is collaboration truly valued? The only way to find out was to attend a meeting. Well, I attended a Programming Committee meeting and I was hooked. This was the right way to grow with the sector and help me stay on top of my game.

My involvement with YNPN-TC jumped to another level a few months later when I took advantage of a Member Benefits opportunity. I applied for and accepted a scholarship to attend the Nonprofit Technology and Communications Conference. It happened to be my first nonprofit conference and I learned some pretty significant lessons from this experience that I got to share with my fellow nonprofit pros. 

Now fast-forward through the rest of 2014 to the present day. I've hit a new milestone with YNPN-TC: I'm currently serving as a board member. I feel pretty lucky to have had such a great experience, but I realize it's turned out this way because I chose to be a little vulnerable in the interest of finding the right fit for my professional development needs. I learned a lot about YNPN-TC when I simply followed from afar, but I wasn't making the connections I wanted or finding resources to help me improve my skills as a communications professional. 

If I could go back in time and do anything differently, I would leap sooner. But since time travel isn't possible (yet), I hope my experience can help others who are in a similar boat. You know the old adage, "Do as I say, not as I do?" That definitely applies here: I encourage you to do what I didn't do right away. Register for an event. Ask questions. Connect with someone who's a current volunteer or a board member. I guarantee it's better to take part rather than watch passively. After all, what's the worst that could happen?

Friday
Jan302015

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.

If resistance is natural then what are ways to overcome it? The first step is to understand what kind of resistance it is. The table below highlights what active and passive resistance may look like.

Active ResistancePassive Resistance
Finding fault Agree verbally but no follow-up
Ridiculing or arguing Feigning ignorance
Appealing to fear Withhold information
Manipulating or distorting Failing to participate
Blocking: strikes, boycotts or lockouts Ignoring


You may recognize some of these forms of resistance, or you may have enacted these forms yourself. Once you know the form of resistance, the second step is to name it in conversation with the resistor. Depending on your position within the organization this may be easier said than done. Stating the resistance calls out the behavior and allows for the resisting individual to express what they really feel. For example, if you are working on a implementing a change within your organization and meet resistance from a colleague that is too busy, stating something like, “You look as if you have other things on your mind and have low energy for this project,” (Block, 2011, p. 154) might get the individual to respond with a more candid statement on what they are feeling. 

Once you name the resistance, letting the individual respond is key. Sit in the silence if needed but let them respond. A resolution won’t always be reached, but by following the three steps of 1) identifying the type of resistance, 2) naming the resistance, and 3) letting your colleague respond, you will be one step closer towards managing the situation in a way that helps you potentially overcome the source of the resistance.

Sources
Block, P. (2011). Flawless Consulting: A guide to getting your expertise used. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publications.
Burke, W.W. (2008). Organization change: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

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Monday
Jan262015

“Your Position Is Being Eliminated”

By Kate Borman
Follow me on Twitter: @K8Borman

I wish I could say I have never heard those words before, but since I started my career in the midst of a recession, I have had the unfortunate circumstance of being laid off twice. The reasons were very different, but the loss was the same. I felt like I was the missing puzzle piece in an otherwise complete picture.

Losing your job is much like losing anything of value - you have to go through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is natural to feel these emotions, and I have found that with job loss, stages two through four feel most relevant. You feel cheated (and perhaps angry) toward your employer; then transition to feel like it was your fault, that you could have done something different, or that you were the problem. While it is okay to feel these emotions, it also makes your job search that much harder. While these negative emotions may tear you down, you have to constantly think positive in order to sell yourself.

A layoff feels different than the normal job search process. Oftentimes you seek a new job on your own terms with a mindset that you want something better. I have gained many life lessons going through layoffs, and I am here to tell you that your mindset after a layoff SHOULD be the same as if you’re searching for a job on your own terms. Always have the mentality that your next opportunity WILL be better than the last. But, if you’re stuck in a rut, it will take work and serious dedication to change your thoughts. Here are some tips:

  1. Be your own champion -- don’t settle for less. Because your income has dramatically shifted, even with unemployment wages, it is easy to feel like you should accept the first offer you get just to be paid. Wait until the job feels right, otherwise you will be in a situation that may result in a job search all over again. Despite the layoff not being on your terms, you can still identify areas in which you want to grow. Perhaps it is a time to reevaluate your career and ask yourself, “Is this where I want to be?” Take this valuable surplus of time to focus on what you need to make your future employment and self better.
  2. Keep your mind engaged and active. Unemployment is like an illness; people will treat you differently. Many say a layoff is the best job search scenario because it was out of your control. I am not sure I agree. Employers still prefer those who are employed. Additionally, several friends and family members will not be able to relate to your new situation. You now have plenty of time but no money to churn. Find ways to keep your mind engaged - maybe through volunteer work or by picking up that hobby you have always wanted to dedicate time to.
  3. Build your safety net and support system. While many will have a hard time relating to your new situation, you will quickly notice those who will go out of their way to send you job postings or will volunteer to be a reference. Or maybe they will be the ones to treat you to lunch and let you just vent about the process. Either way, you will find a new support system. Just be sure to thank them and return the favor if the time comes.

Layoffs are difficult, there is no easy way to say it. The average job search process is roughly nine months, and there will be many struggles and defeats along the way. But don’t give up the fight, because your next golden opportunity is out there. I believe it for me and I believe it for you too.

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Tuesday
Jan202015

Looking When You’re Not Looking

By Jared Rendell
Follow me on Twitter: @jaredrendell
 

I’m learning something in life, over and over again. I’m learning that a lot of the best things happen when you’re not looking for them. Maybe you’ve heard this from people before, sometimes in the context of romantic relationships. It’s a classic; they were seeking hard, and missing, and failing, and trying harder, and missing bigger, and the whole time the best thing was right under their nose. Common denominator in these situations? Stop looking.

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Wednesday
Jan142015

Lessons Learned From The Lentil Underground

By Chris Oien
Follow me on Twitter @coien

I spent this year’s holiday break doing something a bit unusual—reading a newly-published book about my dad’s life work. Lentil Underground tells the story of farmers in Montana who rejected the industrial, pesticide-heavy trends in agricultural and charted a new, sustainable, organic course (before organic was even a word Montana recognized). My father plays a lead role in this story as a lead recruiter of others to the cause and as CEO of Timeless Seeds, the business enterprise that the movement grew into.

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