Annual YNPN-TC Ugly Sweater Happy Hour
Tuesday, Dec. 9th
5:30-8:30 pm
The Bulldog NE, Minneapolis

 

Celebrate Your Story
Friday, Dec. 19th
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.

 

 

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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:

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.

 

Wednesday
Dec172014

Cooking Up Your Career

By Brittany Hustad 

At this point in my life, I have no idea what I’m baking, but that’s ok because I’m still rounding up all of my ingredients.

If you didn’t attend November’s Breakfast of Champions, this makes absolutely no sense. Judy Alnes, executive director of MAP for Nonprofits, spoke at this breakfast and gave some reassurance to those in the room who had questions or doubts about their careers. Do I go back to school for another degree? How do I stand out in a sea of resumes? How do I better position myself for a promotion within my current organization?

“I like to think of careers as recipes,” said Alnes. In your 20s, you’re gathering the ingredients. You’re finishing your degree; you’re getting work experience; you’re meeting people in your field. In your 30s, you’re sifting, stirring, pouring and mixing those ingredients. This is where you find your niche, where you sharpen your story.

Somewhere in these years, you’ll probably experience heartbreak. I have. Sometimes it feels like the heartbreak won’t ever end. You might ask yourself, “What do I do with these raw ingredients? Where can I take this energy for making the world a better place?” Alnes said the answer to that is wherever the job and organization are right for who you are and what you care about. She said to be brave, and to trot out that willingness to be rejected.

In finishing off the recipe, Alnes said you’re being intentional about what your making in your 40s. In your 50s, you’re almost done; the food is in the oven and it just needs a little more time. Your 60s are for enjoying what you’ve created.

Alnes said through all of this, your entire career, it’s important to focus on the impact you’re making. “Positional opportunities come because you’ve been successful reaching for impact,” she said.

The executive director was specific with those who asked for advice: pay your way through college, think big and act strong, stand out among job applicants by being curious about the organization, and tell your story – even if your story is that you earned a master’s degree from the School of Hard Knocks.

So even though many of us may not know what recipe we’re baking, yet, we shouldn’t let it stop us from getting our ingredients together. This leaves me with one question for Alnes: Is retirement dessert?

Wednesday
Dec102014

Gratitude + Wonderment

by Rinal Ray
Follow me on Twitter: @uptownRinky

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton

A few weeks ago, some friends and I attended a weekend seminar entitled Superpower You. The goal of the weekend was to name our inherent superpowers and use them to be more unapologetically, gloriously ourselves. Through a series of exercises, work sheets, conversations, and a few tears, I now know my superpowers.

I reconnected with something that was natural to me as a younger person but disappeared over the years. Wonderment. I used to be in love with the world (cheesy, I know). But a younger, less dulled and numbed Rinal saw the beauty, magic, and awesomeness in ordinary moments and extraordinary opportunities. Somewhere along the way, I lost that (probably in law school). What I realize now is that in those youthful moments of wonder and awe with the world–whether it was a beautiful sunset, devastating setback, or the lovely smile of a friend–I was practicing gratitude. Without realizing it, I stopped, took it in, and expressed appreciation. And that filled me with incredible joy.

At the seminar I made a promise to myself to start seeking that again, actively making space for wonder. That means I leave my headphones and cellphone in my bag on my short walk to work so I can look up at people and things passing by. I prioritize being in places where I know I feel wonderment, even if it’s as simple as walking the track at the Midtown YWCA where I feel a part of community as soon as I walk through the doors instead of using my building’s lovely gym. It means I save up for a new experience in another part of the world.

That’s the thing about gratitude, it doesn’t have to be some drawn out exercise or daily reflection or tedious task. Let it be easy. Take a few seconds to stand still and marvel at those everyday epiphanies. Do it now. Yes, right now. Take a second. Close your eyes. In this moment, what do you have to be grateful for? 

Photo Credit

Tuesday
Nov252014

Innovations in Volunteer Management: The Core Four

By Ivy Stammer
Follow me on Twitter @mplswaytogrow

Volunteer management isn’t often an area many of us have formalized training in; yet it is an integral part of any nonprofit program. As young nonprofit professionals, many of us find ourselves involved in volunteer management in some capacity or another, and as it is one of the best places for an organization to innovate, it may be worth a deeper look.

At the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits annual conference, Mary Quirk, executive director of Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration, and Zeeda Magnuson, associate director of HandsOn Twin Cities, outlined some of the most notable changes in what volunteers are looking for, including shorter term commitments, building and utilizing work place skills, flexible hours, and group volunteering opportunities.

Here’s a closer look at some of my biggest takeaways from the conference:

Comprised of students, interns, young adults, job seekers, boomers and retirees, it’s no surprise volunteers in today’s fast paced world are more commonly seeking short-term opportunities. Organizations should aim to offer a variety of short-term assignments; arranging one-time or speed volunteering activities while also ear-marking projects volunteers can work on for up to three months. When starting out, consider breaking existing volunteer positions into smaller, shorter-term pieces, and scaling orientation and training to the position. Another great place for organizations to turn to when brainstorming possible volunteer opportunities are back-burner projects. What are the things you’ve always wanted to do, but just haven’t quite gotten around to?  Compile a list and break them down by the amount of time estimated to complete each task.

By tackling your half-baked ideas, volunteers are also more likely to be presented with opportunities to build upon their current skill sets. Play the role of a matchmaker. Consider asking prospects what their background is in and what skills they either possess or would be interested in building upon. A great place to turn for this is your current staff. Engage and enlist all current employees in identifying potentially skilled roles after testing in your department. One piece of advice set forth in the workshop and applied by the Minnesota Children’s Museum is to set the expectation, formally or informally, that volunteer management falls under everyone’s job description.

Top trends in volunteerism also include flexibility in hours. Busy schedules mean not only are volunteers looking for projects that can easily be done remotely, but also evening and weekend opportunities. It may be possible, and sometimes necessary, to adjust staff to cover volunteer support on evenings or weekends. One example highlighted in the presentation was a case study of Neighbors, Inc., a nonprofit providing emergency and supportive services to the communities of northern Dakota County. When Neighbors, Inc. found their volunteer base was made solely of individuals ages 75 and older, they realized it was time to “adapt or die.”  The first step they took was to work within their organization to make changes that appealed to larger groups of volunteers. Their prior structure required volunteers to commit to recurring two to three hour scheduled shifts. By shying away from this rigid structure, they were able to appeal to all ages and expand their group volunteering opportunities, nixing the long-term commitment.

The final shift we are finding amongst volunteers, as I’m sure we can all attest to, is the increasing interest in volunteering as a group. This is commonly seen not only with youth and civic groups but with corporations as well. Fostering new group experiences can lead to an increased access to connect with higher funding potential amongst both new and existing funders. After identifying potential group projects, organization should build partnerships with companies that have interests that align with your mission. For example, at Way to Grow, an early education nonprofit focusing on prenatal through grade three school readiness, one of our major corporate partnerships is with General Mills, a company that already has a vested interest in children.

Though initial restructuring and ideation can be time consuming, it can and often does reap great rewards. The first step, as with any case for change, is to make sure your organization is open to it. Research what other organizations have been doing, building case studies highlighting what has worked for them. In the end, just remember, we all are likely to be faced with the same choice, to adapt or die.

Ivy received a scholarship for the MCN Annual Conference as a member benefit of YNPN-TC. Thanks to Minnesota Council of Nonprofits for their partnership in providing discounted membership and scholarship tickets to YNPN-TC members.

Monday
Nov242014

Breakfast of Champions: Jennifer Ford Reedy

Words by Lauren Van Schepen // Photos by Marie Ketring
This post originally published on Pollen. Reposted with permission
 

Jennifer Ford Reedy, President of the Bush Foundation, is somewhat of an omnipresent leader — seemingly everywhere at once. You know the type: they speak at conferences, happy hours, and block parties. We hear their voices on issues like housing, transportation, social services, and healthcare. We see their work in education and racial disparities. We are certainly lucky to have them, but even luckier to have the rare chance to go beyond talking points to a different type of exchange.

A small group of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities members and Pollenites met with Jen at the Bush Foundation, to watch the sun rise over St. Paul, and — as the caffeine kicked in — pushed her to discuss what she considered “really hard” topics.

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Sunday
Nov232014

The Gifs of Leadership

By Eriks Dunens

It's been seven months since the EPIP-YNPN Leadership Institute—an intensive ten-month skill-building and networking cohort program for young nonprofit professionals—began. As a cohort, we've been teaching each other all sorts of useful things about work-life balance, tips for evaluation, ideas for managing up in our organizations, and—most recently—addressing how we can lead abundantly and resiliently. The following are five reflections I've had raised by our cohort's discussions and questions, in gif form. 

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