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Mind the gap

Take a look at the image below. 

What did you see? Where did your eyes go first? Chances are you saw an incomplete circle and your eyes first went to the gap in the circle. More importantly, I'm sure you had an urge to complete the circle. 

It’s not by accident that we tend to hone in on what’s missing or what’s wrong with something. From a young age, we have been conditioned to overlook what is right and instead spend an inordinate time fixing our shortcomings.

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You (yes, you!) need to learn how to read financial statements

I sat at my desk, door closed, pencil sharpened, a thick ream of financial statements stacked in front of my computer monitor. 

I turned over the cover of the first packet and the tiny lines of the spreadsheet printout wriggled tauntingly at me. I sighed, placed my pencil under the first line, and typed: “what is a balance sheet” into Google. 

How did I get here?

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Everyone can be powerful: 3 ways to practice power in your work

How effective do you feel in your ability to challenge the power structure? Where do you start? How confident do you feel in characterizing it? 

We in the nonprofit sector are some of the most familiar with the consequences stemming from society’s balance of power. We hear the stories of communities most affected, we see the downstream effects of decisions made from remote places. If we are to advance social, racial and economic justice, we need to understand, recognize, and wield the power we have more effectively in our work.

P.S. I don’t have all the answers. But I believe in the premise that everyone can be powerful.

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Dismantling White Supremacy in Nonprofits: a starting point

I have a confession to make; I no longer work in the nonprofit sector in Minnesota, nor do I live in the state. I recently made the big decision to pursue graduate school in order to further my own passions and learning. While I am enjoying this new and challenging journey, I still find myself deeply connected to the nonprofit sector, a place where I spent the majority of my 20’s working, learning, and growing.

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DE&I: Where do I even start...and end?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is big and complex. There are myriad of assessments, trainings, and articles about it--and I encourage everyone to explore the resources out there. However, it can feel impossible to know where to start. Unfortunately, there’s no panacea. It takes a lot of hard work and interrogation of an organization’s history, present situation, and the individuals within it to start making change.

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How creative writing fixed my staff meeting slump

Would you rather travel to the ocean floor or outer space? Which type of weather best represents your personality? What fictional character would you most like to go on vacation with?

These might not seem like typical opening questions of a weekly staff meeting, but for my colleagues and I, it’s habit. Every Friday when we gather to reflect on the past week and prep for the one ahead, we begin with a few minutes of creative writing.

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Making room at the table

There are plenty of articles and papers that lament the lack of diversity in the nonprofit sector, especially within leadership or board positions. While I agree that these are pertinent issues that need to be rectified, I also believe that each one of us has power in the spaces we occupy.

Sometimes we don’t need to wait for someone to make space for us at their table, because we have the power to make space for others at our table. As young professionals, it can be easy to think from a scarcity mindset and to be focused on our development. However, my mentors have both taught and demonstrated the power of paying it forward.

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Stipend pay: A cautionary tale

My first experience with stipend pay was in college. I was interning with a local non-profit, and I was paid a $600 stipend for a semester-long internship. I worked 15 hours/week for approximately 14 weeks. If you do the calculations, I was making $2.86 an hour. Little did I know, this was illegal. And here begins my cautionary tale.

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What makes a happy career?

Growing up, were you ever told that you needed to know what you wanted to be as an adult (like, ASAP), because, the sooner you knew, the better off you’d be in life? I sure was. Throughout my formative years I heard over and over again that I needed to pick a career (a lucrative one), and spend my life pursuing that career decision to be successful.

Talk about pressure. 

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Co-Creative Leadership

The world population is 7.7 billion people and growing. That’s billions of unique perspectives on how community systems function or could be improved. Yet, studies like this one from the American Psychological Association tell us that, amidst this vast pool of resources, we as humans are biased towards ideas that will validate our opinions rather than challenge them. Much like the similar-to-me-effect, this bias encourages people to discredit innovative ideas, losing out on potential solutions to the challenges facing the nonprofit sector and our communities.

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Our mission, vision and values guide all that we do at the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities (YNPN-TC).

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