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The benefits of being a part of a network: A personal experience reflection

NetworkingThis past March, I had the good fortune to be sent to the NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) in sunny San Jose, California. It was set to be an intense three days of learning and networking, which I was a bit nervous about.

I had been to a couple NTC conferences with close co-workers before, but this year I was going with the President/CTO of our company. While getting a chance to get to know him a little better was great, I also figured I’d probably be spending much of the conference solo - and I was right.

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YNPN Twin Cities is officially a 501(c)(3) organization!

We have exciting news to share as we continue to celebrate our 10th anniversary -- YNPN Twin Cities is now officially a tax-deductible nonprofit organization!

Just last month, the IRS approved our application for 501(c)(3) status for YNPN TC as a tax-deductible nonprofit. As former board chair Brian Gioielli shared in a blog post last year, our board made the decision last year to seek this status to help build the infrastructure we need to strengthen our current work and grow into the future.

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Serendipity through stories

2016mcntech.jpgOn April 12, YNPN Twin Cities sent a dozen members to the MCN Nonprofit Technology and Communications Conference at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis as part of our scholarship program. The week after the conference, we hosted a debriefing gathering for the conference cohort so they could further connect and share about what they learned at the conference.

One member of the cohort is Amy Tix, operations coordinator at Firefly Sisterhood. Below, Amy graciously shares her "a-ha moment" from the conference with takeaways from keynote speaker Perla Ni.

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Is my class showing? Reflections on the class dynamics of fundraising

main.jpgOutside a fancy lounge in downtown Minneapolis, I duck behind a marble column and change my winter boots to dress shoes. I breathe heavily, having booked it from the lightrail, and bend to notice the crack along the front of my right shoe. 

I have researched the people I am about to meet inside, because that it is what fundraisers do. The people have Ivy League educations, wear neutral tones, and speak in low, even keeled voices. I prefer jewel tones, no one researched my public school education before this meeting, and my voice is a product of a confusing mix of messages about who a working class woman is to be: a fighter, strong, and also vulnerable to the whims of men around her, suddenly cut off and quiet.

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Hitting pause--reflecting on a hectic week

main.jpgIt was that kind of week again. Working 10, 11, and 12 hour days, driving away from the gas station with the gas cap still open, and trying to balance writing testimony for hearings at the Capitol, thinking about media opportunities for the end of tax season, and planning a fundraiser for a board I’m on. What’s more is that I also tried to stop drinking coffee again and switched to tea. Let’s just say that I ended up drinking coffee again by Thursday.

Maybe writing this blog post is therapeutic for me and a means to vent, but I actually think there’s something important to discuss. Nonprofits, doing the good work in the world, are often full of ambitious young people willing to say “yes” to everything because it’s difficult to pass an opportunity that could make a difference and/or further a career. (I obviously couldn’t say no to writing this blog!)

Pausing to reflect over the past week, there were three important learnings that really stuck with me.

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Why you should pay nonprofit employees more

What is your value?It kills me every time we celebrate the per hour value of a volunteer. Not because I hate volunteers, but because it exposes one of the biggest double-standards in the nonprofit sector.

Independent Sector rated the national per hour value of volunteer time at $23.07 - essentially, that’s what we’d pay someone if we averaged out all of the in-kind value from volunteers everywhere. In Minnesota, it’s even higher at $24.83.

But here’s the thing: that $24.83 equates to an annual salary of nearly $51,600. Why are we paying our nonprofit employees so much less?

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Career power up: Professional mentor

mario.jpgI’ve been fortunate to have several opportunities for professional development in the past few years, both within and outside of my workplace. Among the webinars, cohorts, workshops and trainings I’ve pursued, working with a mentor has been the most beneficial.

First, I have to say that I can’t believe mentorships aren’t more common. I know people who have had similarly positive transformative experiences with personal and professional mentors, but it feels like an arrangement that remains massively underutilized on the whole.

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Who will go all the way in our March Madness Book Bracket?

A few words of wisdom can be just what you need to aim for that next career goal, or achieve a personal best. But where can a young professional find excellent advice on demand?

Books!

In honor of March Madness, we put together a bracket of the top professional/personal development books as recommended by YNPN board members and members of the YNPN-EPIP Leadership Institute.

We need your help to pick our champion, so take a look at our bracket (and read below for more detail.) Then leave us a comment here with your picks, take it to social media to let others know, and add a comment of which books we left out by mistake! 

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Member Spotlight | Alyssa Whalon shares the most valuable piece of advice she's received as a young professional

alyssa_whalon.pngWe are excited to feature Alyssa Whalon in our monthly YNPN Twin Cities Member Spotlight! Alyssa is Associate, Philanthropic Services, at Scholarship America.

Read more about Alyssa's background with AmeriCorps VISTA, how she has used YNPN Twin Cities to make progress on her career path, the best advice she's received as a young professional, and just which Harry Potter house she'd be in if she was at Hogwarts instead of the Twin Cities!

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The cavity in nonprofits’ human capital

Make ConnectionsNonprofits are growing – you already know this… Back in 2012 nonprofits accounted for 11.4 million jobs – and even during the recent recession and recovery (2007 to 2012), nonprofit employment steadily increased each year. But did you know that when surveyed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund (in their 2015 State of the Sector Survey), 44 percent of respondents hired someone for a new position?  That’s right – for NEW positions!  

Human capital plays an incredibly important role for nonprofits – and getting the perfect employee can be a real challenge. Nonprofits typically don’t have recruiters or large human resource departments dedicated to finding top talent from the Ivy League, but nonprofits can find good fits, especially through informal local networks.

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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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