Member Meet-up: Soul Music Edition
Wednesday, April 16, 7:00-11:00pm
Soul Birthed Us, feat. local artists
Honey, 205 E. Hennepin Ave, Mpls

Emerging Leaders Network Lunch
Friday, April 18, 12pm - 1pm
Personal Finance for Nonprofit Professionals
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

YNPN-TC Karaoke Member Meet-Up
Wednesday April 23
The Hole Sports Lounge (2501 University Ave SE, Mpls)

We'd Be MIA Without You
Thursday, April 24th
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 3rd Ave S., Mpls
Enjoy a scavenger hunt in the museum and learn about volunteering with YNPN-TC!

Save the Date: YNPN National Conference
June 26, 27, & 28
Minneapolis/St. Paul
For more info, click here!



* 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.


It's in the cards: A gamer’s guide to professional development

by Chris Oien
follow me on Twitter: @coien

Like fellow board member Jamie Millard, I proudly identify as a gamer. But my personal favorites differ a little: instead of getting immersed in a massively multiplayer online game, I’m more likely to crack open a strategy card game like Magic: The Gathering, the premiere and still best example of the genre.

So when I was rereading Jamie’s post on video games for professional development, I was nodding along and pondering the similarities and differences in my experience. Since different games stretch your brain in different ways, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned from years of drawing seven cards and mulling over the proper sequence of plays, and how that can apply to my and your professional life.

Have a game plan

One of the biggest breakthroughs you can have playing any strategy game is to move from simply making the move immediately in front of you to thinking about how it will play out several turns down the road. What will it lead you to do the turn after? How does that change if your opponent plays something you know they’re likely to have? Can you win if your opponent has a certain card, or is it time to get aggressive and hope that you can beat them before they draw it? If you can answer those questions, you’re far more likely to emerge victorious. 

In the professional realm, one place this comes up is for those on the job hunt. Most people know the outlines of what they’re supposed to do: go to networking events, have informational interviews, update LinkedIn. But stories of people who ask for informational interviews and then have nothing to say are plentiful. Just showing up isn’t enough. If you think ahead to others’ likely thoughts and motivations, and have something to offer them, only then will you really get somewhere.

Take responsibility

Because there’s natural built-in randomness in any card game, it’s easy (and often cathartic) to rage after a loss about how your opponent drew the exact right card at the right time while you drew nothing for five straight turns. But after a while, you start to realize that there’s more to it than that. Did you play the wrong card on turn five? Or neglect to play around a card you should have thought your opponent might have? Or maybe there are cards in your deck that aren’t holding their weight and need to be replaced. Asking these questions is the key to making better decisions, which is when you start to notice your luck magically improve.

It’s the same story at work. When a sticky situation comes up, it’s easy to say it’s unfair. That might very well be true. But guess what? It doesn’t matter what’s fair or not. All that matters is what you’re going to do given where you are now. That might mean having a difficult conversation with a coworker, asking for new or different responsibilities, or even finding a new job entirely. What it definitely does not mean is sitting around feeling sorry for yourself while allowing the same thing to happen over and over.

Focus on what matters 

One of the trickier strategy game lessons I’ve had to learn is that everything is a resource, including your life total. Losing a bunch of life in a turn can feel nerve-wracking, sacrificing a bunch of cards now to prevent it can leave you in an even worse position next turn. By the same token, throwing cards at an opponent to put him or her down to a low life total is a one way ticket to failure if you run out of ways to finish them off. The goal is to win, not to end the game with the most resources or highest life total possible, and you have to play accordingly.

The next time you’re stressed out on the job, ask yourself what you’re really trying to accomplish, and how much the things keeping you busy are helping you get there. It’s easy to fall into a culture of stress, where everyone keeps as busy as possible because it feels like the easiest way to prove your worth. But the most deeply ingrained tasks and traditions can be a distraction or even actively harmful to what you know needs to be achieved. Identifying those is one of the best ways to bring about transformational change from any position in an organization.

What lessons are you picking up from your favorite pasttime? If you pay a little attention, you might be surprised at how much there is to learn.

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Mind the gap: Wage inequity and you

By Lauren Satterlee
Follow me on Twitter: @lauren_ita

It's Equal Pay Day today - what does that mean? That's how long white women have to work into 2014 to earn what white men did in 2013 (women and men of color have greater pay inequity and have to work further in 2014 to make up the difference).

In Minnesota, we tend to pride ourselves as state that fosters strong, healthy communities and looks out for our most vulnerable residents. Although we do stand ahead of many states in community health and well-being in some measures, we still face challenges prevalent across the country and world, including a gender wage gap. Women make a fraction of the wages of their male counterparts, even with identical training and experience.

The #ynpnwagegap event on April 1 at the Nicollet tackled this subject. The event opened with Debra Fitzpatrick from the University of Minnesota's Center on Women and Public Policy, which convenes and connects across divides to bring down barriers to gender equity and build broad-based public responses. She and her colleagues at Gender Justice have done extensive research and work on the gender wage gap and its causes and its implications for our communities.

The Center’s recent update on the Status of Women and Girls in Minnesota states women represent two-thirds of those in the state earning at or below the minimum wage and continue to be the majority of those living below the poverty line. Compared to about thirteen years ago, the average income for single mothers in Minnesota and across the country has declined significantly, whereas the median income for most families has stayed the same. Women earn an average of 80 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts in Minnesota, and the gap is even larger in rural areas and reaches to 40% for women of color.

The event gathered steam as we broke into small groups for facilitated discussion on topics including gender dynamics in the workplace, wage negotiation, exploring notions of gender difference, and being an effective ally to others. The group shared tips on how to effectively navigate wage negotiation, how to question our own ingrained assumptions on the roles of women and their competence in traditionally male-dominated fields, and the daily impacts of these assumptions on the opportunities available for women. These assumptions and expectations can impact hiring choices, but also the more intangible beliefs that our young women hold about their own abilities. On average, high school girls match male performance in science and math coursework, but don't perform as well on high-stake pre-college tests, which demonstrates the power of these assumptions. Pushing this analysis further, the group also discussed the false dichotomy of traditional gender roles and exclusion (and discrimination) of people who are transgender or who do not identify with either gender. 

What can you do to help improve gender economic equity in Minnesota? For starters, you can advocate for regular wage reviews at your organization or company. This can encourage institutional responsibility for equitable wages, and not leave the responsibility lying solely on the shoulders of individual women at the negotiation table. The Minnesota Council of Nonprofit publishes a Salary and Benefits Survey every two years to help organizations maintain fair and competitive compensation practices. You can also take an online assessment to learn more about your own gender assumptions.

Right now, you also have a political opportunity let your voice be heard on the topic! Legislation is currently proposed to comprehensively address these issues in Minnesota. Gender Justice and the Center on Women and Public Policy are two of the founding members of the Minnesota Coalition for Women's Economic Security, which is advocating for the adoption of the Women's Economic Security Act. The Act is a set of bills that will improve economic security of women in Minnesota, and ultimately improve the lives of all Minnesotans. Specifically, the legislation includes bills to: close gender pay gap; increase the minimum wage to $9.50; expand access to high-quality, affordable childcare; expand family and sick leave for working families; protect women from discrimination in the workplace; enhance protections for victims of violence; encourage women in non-traditional, high-wage jobs; help women-owned small businesses succeed; and help older women be economically secure. Take action and contact your legislators to express your support of this legislation.  

Don’t forget to check out the #ynpnwagegap Twitter feed from the event.

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By Carl Atiya Swanson
Follow me on Twitter: @catiyas

Several years ago, as part of the Artists In Storefronts project in Whittier, artists Sheila Regan and Anton Pearson created a striking image on the side of Rainbow Chinese Restaurant on Nicollet Avenue. Emblazoned across the side of the building in moss-growing gel were the words ‘EVERYONE TOGETHER DIFFERENT’. The collaborative process of creating the piece, the ephemeral and delicate nature of its materials, the work to maintain it, and the power of the phrase have stuck with me as fundamental characteristics of a civil society. It is inclusive – EVERYONE – equitable – TOGETHER – and diverse – DIFFERENT.

Recently the air has been full of conversations and actions on equity, diversity and inclusion. You can’t have missed it, and it’s difficult to pinpoint where the current surge started, either locally or nationally. It is impossible to deny that diversity, inclusion, and equity, especially racial equity, are central to the conversations that we are having right now.

A quick glance at MN Compass shows just how much Minnesota’s diversity is changing. Minnesota may not be as racially diverse as other states, but people of color now make up 18% of our population, up from 1% in 1960. This includes many new immigrants who are moving here and starting new lives, businesses, and nonprofits. MN Compass also shows how much work remains to be done. Although Minnesota’s overall poverty level was 11.4% in 2012, the rate among people of color was 27% overall, 38% for African-Americans, 32% for Native Americans, and 26% for Hispanics.

So building and engaging ‘Everyone Together Different’ is critical. It is also hard – especially with so many entry points to, levels of comfort in, and abilities around having this conversation. It is work that YNPN Twin Cities continues to develop; March’s Emerging Leaders Networking Lunch focused on Diversity in Philanthropy and our April 1st event looks at Closing the Gender Wage Gap. But there is still much to do. In that spirit, I wanted to share some thoughts which for me – as a nonprofit professional, artist, new dad, possessor-of-privilege, and human being –  create a framework for having this conversation and action.

Organizations are people

All organizations, regardless of whether they seem huge, monolithic, or entrenched, are made up of individuals. As a young nonprofit professional, you are one of those individuals, whether you are in an office of two or 2,000. Minnesota Philanthropy Partners recently recommitted to racial equity by releasing a new framework in Facing Race. The framework includes a page of useful definitions and a simple two-page Hiring Guide that recommends some basic questions to help employers make sure that the people joining their organization come from a diverse background.

Another set of questions that has formed a part of my conversations on the topic focuses on who is in the room or at the table and the power they have. When we talk about specific communities, are their members represented in our conversations? If we are a service nonprofit, are the populations we serve represented by our employees? Are those employees in positions of power? Addressing the internal dynamics and culture of our organizations is a key step in making change – for more, see the Minnesota Council on Foundations Diversity Framework.

If you see something, say something

One of the wonders of the age that we live in now is the power of the internet. That connective power creates a forum for sharing stories, building support, and finding resources. When the Ordway decided to remount Miss Saigon last year over the protests and objections of the Asian-American and allied communities during the previous two stagings, organizers put together the Don’t Buy Miss Saigon campaign to protest the decision. They also put together a Tumblr for people to share their stories of identity that weren’t represented in the play and partnered with activism site 18MillionRising to create a national campaign to protest Miss Saigon. By creating a web of entry points and resources, they produced an archive of their actions that others can engage with and use as a model. Similarly, the YWCA of Minneapolis’ Racial Justice Department hosts an ongoing workshop series around confronting and dismantling racism (from overt racism to manifestations of privilege and microaggressions), which gives us more resources to help speak out.

Embrace the discomfort

We’re going to talk about disparities. We’re going to talk about injustice. We’re going to talk about history and systemic disenfranchisement and privilege and power. This is not comfortable or easy, and as the unfolding story of professor Shannon Gibney at MCTC shows, there is resistance to having this conversation. “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor;” wrote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” but that, “it must be demanded by the oppressed.” If we are to make and support that demand, then we’re going to have to be willing to feel uncomfortable. I believe we’ll be better off for it. Just look at the effectiveness of the conversation campaign that Minnesotans United waged in 2012.

Show up

This is my go-to phrase in life. If you want to build something, share something, or get something done, show up. Malcolm Gladwell opined that the revolution will not be on Twitter, just like it wasn't going to be televised, and despite the connective and archival power of the web, he's probably right. We don't get things done unless people get in a room together. This can be difficult. We all lead busy lives, and signing an online petition takes far less time and personal energy than going to a community meeting, discussion, or rally. The good news? Being together can be totally joyful! Co-creating a better future, working through the discomfort, and sharing who we are with each other – our hopes, fears, cultures, values, food, dances, human experiences – this is where we celebrate ‘Everyone Together Different’ and build that future together in solidarity.

I write this knowing that I am often failing to live up to much of it. But I believe that culture and life is not a zero-sum game and that I have to start somewhere to be a part of change.

There are a great many resources, organizations and events not mentioned in this post. Please share them in the comments!


photo credit to Sheila Regan, artist


Great captains of our lives: Emotional intelligence and leadership

by Anthony Parrish

Imagine, you’re at the office early, morning beverage in hand and you settle in for a productive morning. That’s when Tony (who has been driving you nuts for months) comes over asking the same questions about the same project in the same way since he started. Your pulse rises and you can feel the knots forming in your shoulders and neck. You consider your options: fleeing at lunch and working remotely the rest of the day or shaking Tony by the shoulders until he understands the answers you’ve given to him a thousand times in a thousand ways.

Now – pause… 

Those responses are just a basic fight or flight response mode. It kept our ancestors safe, that emotional jump to respond with our fists, or to run away. While you might not be aware of this kind of reaction, it infiltrates our lives every day. As Vincent van Gogh put it, “Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives, and we obey them without realizing it.” And while anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm, you certainly wouldn’t want those little emotions driving your crisis decisions.

As aspiring leaders, we can’t just let our emotions run away with us; we are the captains that remain calm in the face of a storm. Taking a minute or even a second to recognize when those basic instincts are taking over can be the difference between leadership and dictatorship. The recognition that this happens to everyone is the first step in understanding how to better communicate and collaborate… essentially, how to lead.

Once you have that self-awareness, you may want to encourage others around you to give their all and to put their heart into the mission of your organization. Yet, at times, it can seem that enthusiasm simply isn’t there. When that is the case, take a moment to do the following exercise:

First, consider empathy, helpful advice, personal sacrifice, respect, innovation, cooperation, and basic information. Every day you decide to hold back or give away these (and more) in your work. When you don’t feel valued in your position, are you giving empathy to your coworkers? Will you give personal sacrifice when you feel unappreciated, unsupported, and unhappy? Will you give innovation and cooperation to a leader that doesn’t respect you?

Now consider what you give away when you feel valued. Are you more likely to feel empathy for others when it is being reciprocated?  If you wouldn’t give away those items when you aren’t feeling valued, what makes you think your peers would act differently? As a leader, consider the way your team is valued when you want to take them to the next level. Communicate with them, ask them about it, and understand their drive.  

Emotional intelligence is necessary to lead in today’s nonprofit sector. Not only does it allow you to increase your own potential, but then your ability to affect change is multiplied by your collaboration and cooperation with others. Bill Gates said it succinctly, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Build your emotional intelligence and high impact leadership naturally follows.


Anthony took advantage of his YNPN-TC member benefits and received a discount on MAP for Nonprofit's leadership training on emotional intelligence. Thanks to our partners, MAP for Nonprofits, theDatabank and Minnesota Council on Nonprofits, for their YNPN-TC member benefits!

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Public Policy 101 for the Nonprofiteer

by Rinal Ray
follow me on Twitter: @uptownRinky

These days, I spend some time at the Minnesota Capitol complex. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who knows the ins-and-out of the political process and political maneuvering. I’ve realized in the last few weeks, I’ve got a ways to go before I can spout off different political scenarios and predict  how a particular piece of legislation will move through the legislature.  What I do know is that nonprofits and YOU have an important role to play in statewide policy making. Together, we can make a policy difference that will impact the lives of real Minnesotans. Most policy decisions are informed by lobbyists, interested parties, and constituents who voice their opinions to legislators. It is part of the democratic tradition and helps find real solutions to help real people.

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