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

 

Annual YNPN-TC Ugly Sweater Happy Hour
Tuesday, Dec. 9th
5:30-8:30 pm
Red Stag Supper Club, 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
Nov192014

When It’s Okay to Quit

By Amelia Colwell Reedy
Follow me on Twitter: @ameliareads 

I need to quit something. It’s a something that is a net good thing for the world–it brings me extra income, it accomplishes positive things for people–but it is a something that is not good for me.

Lately, I’ve been challenged to think about the dangers of people pleasing and its negative health consequences. Fellow do-gooders, nonprofit professionals, and people pleasers of the world, I’m here to tell you: if something isn’t feeding you, it’s okay to quit. That thing–that volunteer gig, that second job, that thing that helps you 10 percent but runs you ragged–can survive without you. I am replaceable, and you are replaceable. That’s a really freeing thing if you’ll let it be. 

When contemplating whether to quit an extracurricular time suck in my teenage years, my dad gave me this advice, “Think of not quitting. How do you feel? If you feel anxious or exhausted, it may be a sign that you need to quit.”

Maybe the thing you need to quit is a person–a draining friend, a controlling partner. Maybe it’s an addiction or a time waster. Maybe it’s a noble thing that keeps you from buying that cocker spaniel you’ve always wanted or conquering that next step at work. 

People might not understand. But it is important to understand yourself, above all else. It doesn’t matter if someone else understands. If you want to discern whether an activity or gig is right for you, take some time to reflect. Be absolutely selfish for a minute. Does this contribute to your life’s narrative? Is this accomplishing good things for you? Is it giving you the skills you want to develop? If the answer is no, consider quitting.

In her book The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show, Ariel Gore writes: 

"If you've abdicated your right to create your own life story, vow to take it back. If you're ruled by your possessions, give them away. By a toxic lover, diplomatically take your leave. By addictions, wean yourself with compassion, and if that doesn't work, go find a quiet shelter on a mountaintop, far from liquor stores and dealers. Welcome angels as you breathe through your parade of demons." 

It is hard to say no, or rather, it’s hard to say no after you’ve first said yes. I find myself chasing possibilities at full speed and six months later, pausing to wonder how I got started on this thing. I am trying to cull out the things that don’t contribute to the narrative I want to tell people about my life.

So here we go. Say it with me now, “I quit…”

Tuesday
Nov112014

The True Meaning of Give to the Max Day

The True Meaning of Give to the Max

By Andy Brown
Follow me on Twitter @andybrownMN
 

Give to the Max Day is an annual charitable giving event hosted by GiveMN. The event draws attention to the thousands of nonprofit organizations and schools serving communities throughout the state and encourages philanthropic giving. Last year, Give to the Max Day raised over $17 million for Minnesota organizations in 24 hours.

Give to the Max Day has become something of a holiday for me. I race to my inbox early on the morning of Give to the Max Day to tally up donations to my organization the same way I used to race downstairs to see what Santa had brought me. The energetic buzz around my office on Give to the Max Day is infectious—coworkers shout over cube walls when big gifts come in and create complex high five gestures to congratulate one another. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

As can be the case with holidays, the true meaning of Give to the Max Day has been obscured. For those of us working at nonprofits, Give to the Max Day is surrounded by words like “strategy”, “outreach”, “multichannel” and “leverage”. It has become an essential part of any nonprofit’s fundraising strategy, and for good reason. For many organizations, that 24-hour period constitutes a large portion of their annual revenue. But in the rush to make the most of the day for the organizations we serve, I think we’re all missing the point a bit.

A few years ago I was chatting with a colleague about plans for Give to the Max Day. He was working to create a series of videos wherein staff from his organization explained why they gave…to a different organization. This approach may seem counterintuitive from a fundraising perspective but his explanation was simple: “We want to encourage people to give to the causes they care about. If that’s us, great. If not, we want them to find another way to support the community.”*

That, to me, is the true meaning of Give to the Max Day. It’s a time for us to come together to make a difference—not as individual organizations or even as a sector—but as a broader community. Leaderboards and grand totals get in the way of what makes Give to the Max Day so successful: it’s a chance to be a part of something bigger, no matter who you are or how much you’re able to give. That is the true purpose of philanthropy.

Give to the Max Day is a convenient way to handle your year-end giving in just a few clicks, but this year, I encourage you to think about the day more broadly. Browse for a new organization to support. Join a mailing list of an organization that piques your interest. Share your cause of choice in your social networks. Whether or not you work in the nonprofit sector, take a moment to consider what Give to the Max Day means to you. I think you’ll find that it’s less about making a donation and more about contributing to a movement in philanthropy and community. After all, ’tis the season to give!

*This is by no means a direct quote; the conversation happened three years ago and I’m doing my best to paraphrase.

Thursday
Nov062014

Top 5 Nonprofit Buzzwords of 2014

By Leah Lundquist
Follow me on Twitter @leahlundquist
 

I know it’s only early November, but-let’s face it–stores are already decked out for Christmas, so it doesn’t seem too early to do a 2014 retrospective. As a board, YNPN Twin Cities has committed in our new strategic plan to being and supporting other members in being thought leaders in sector-wide conversations.

So, in order to get that conversation going, I’ve developed a list of 5 “buzzwords” or terms that I think are highly relevant to what has gone on in the nonprofit sector–and in particular in Minnesota’s sector–in 2014.

The top 5 nonprofit sector buzzwords in 2014: 

1. Hashtag Activism / Slacktivism: With the virality of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, lots of questions have been raised around whether it matters if charitable giving is the result of meaningful engagement with a cause or a gimmicky, peer-pressure induced action. However, with ALS announcing that the viral fundraising phenomenon raised donations by 1,000 percent, there’s no doubt that this made an impact in charitable giving in the U.S. in 2014 and that other nonprofits will be looking to viral fundraisers as a source of fundraising inspiration in the coming year.

2. Privacy, Cyber Security: With the hacking of the Chase Corporate Challenge and GoodWill Inc. this year, cyber security has officially moved beyond being a concern of corporations. It should make all of us in the nonprofit world start being very critical of how much and which data we collect and store from stakeholders.

3. Board Nonfeasance: With the Community Action of Minneapolis debacle all over the news this fall, it’s a good reminder of the fiduciary responsibility of serving on a board. It’s also a call to defend the sector from those who would use an issue like this to paint the whole sector as easily corruptible.  

4. B Corps, Social Impact: Legislation allowing for companies to classify themselves as B-Corps passed in Minnesota this year. The jury is still out whether this is really a boon to the nonprofit sector or not.  In the meantime, conversations about quantifying and investing in social impact continue. The Low Income Investment Fund has created an open-source social impact calculator that uses high-quality research to put a dollar value on the benefit of affordable housing, equitable transit-oriented development (TOD), early childhood, education and community health centers. This is no doubt that conversations around social impact are influencing how foundations give.

5. #FundThePeople & Living Wage: For us “NextGen” leaders, it’s exciting to see this push to encourage foundations to invest more heavily in talent the sector (we’re also happy to see Minnesota-based Bush Foundation shows up in their list of foundations who do currently invest in talent!). And speaking of investing in talent, it’s interesting to note that some states are exempting nonprofits from their new living wage laws. Minnesota does not offer a nonprofit exemption, but instead stratifies wage by organizational size. How other states are setting up the law begs the question of why nonprofits are not being held accountable for being strategic or equitable in recruiting and maintaining talent.   

Other buzzwords of interest: Student Debt continued to be a hot topic this year with Obama delivering on some promises to shorten the debt forgiveness period for individuals working in public service. Bitcoin also seems to be a fringe topic in fundraising that might become something more in 2015?

What is missing? What are some buzzwords you saw as important in the sector in 2014?

Photo Credit

 

Sunday
Nov022014

It’s Time to Vote!

By Kat Kempe
Follow me on Twitter @Katzilla
 

Fall is my favorite season. I love sweater weather, chai tea, and golden leaves against a brilliant blue sky. But my very favorite fall tradition is still yet to come: Election Day, November 4. As people who care for our communities and the common good, voting is one of the most important things we can do—it is the ground floor of democracy. 

Who we put in office has significant implications for our communities and the people our organizations serve. Elected officials have a say in the policies and funding of everything from housing to food assistance to transportation to education. If we truly want to make systemic change to these and the any number of issues nonprofits across Minnesota care about we have to take the first step and go to the polls.

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Tuesday
Oct282014

Fighting

By Taylor 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. 

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