One day last fall, I texted my mom, “soooo…. I’m either getting fired or getting promoted.”
I had just gotten out of a meeting where I had the least amount of positional power of anyone in the room, and I had basically told everyone, including my boss’s boss, that the plan we were making didn’t hold true to our values. We weren’t trusting the people we served, and the plan would be flawed without that value at its center. I was calmly furious, my hands were shaking, and I questioned the wisdom of the experts at the table who had been working longer than I’d been alive. The result? My boss and coworkers raved about it, our program staff felt like the values of our work were supported, and we changed our plan.Read more
Content warning: police brutality
Happy holiday season, everyone.
As we reach one more year’s end and look ahead to yet another new year, I’m doing that thing that’s maybe expected, maybe common: thinking about things I hope can be better next year, and into the future.
And I just can’t shake one dominant thought.
We need to be more human with each other. I don’t mean be awful to each other – to follow our worst human impulses, or hew to the lowest common human denominator. I mean recognize our own and others’ humanity before anything else.Read more
As a CPA, one of the things I enjoy most about my job is getting to work with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations and seeing all the great work they do. In my opinion, one of the best opportunities to learn more about the issues affecting your nonprofit organization is at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) Annual Conference, which was held recently in St. Paul. I attended the conference and there was so much good information that I took two pages of notes! My favorite session was about generating monthly donors.Read more
It’s said that the formative years of human beings is 0-5 years, during which the brain is growing most rapidly and is extra vulnerable to trauma and stress. It is during this time that parents need to be hypervigilant, ensuring that their children have the right nutrition, are exposed to learning opportunities and given the freedom to move around, play and test their environment.
I want to suggest that there is also a formative time for employees in a new position. Based only on my own experience, I would argue that this critical time period is 0-12 months. In many ways, we are just like newborns when we start a new job: we have to adjust to a new environment, learn a new language (or, at least, a hundred new acronyms) and experience a steep learning curve. We are in a vulnerable position, one where we have to assimilate into the culture we find ourselves in rather than stake our claim or make our mark on the world. We have to crawl before we can walk.Read more
It is not surprising to anybody in the nonprofit world that we all end up doing a lot more than what our job description initially entailed. In many cases, organizations have too much work to get done with not enough hands to help, so we all end up pitching in. I am the first one to admit that I usually have a hard time saying “no” when my boss asks me to take on extra projects, or to take over projects from other staff members. It took me a long time to be able to say “I’m sorry, but I can’t”. I don’t say it often, but the first time those words came out of my mouth I panicked. What if my boss was mad because I said no? What if they thought I was incompetent?Read more
I’ve always been a high achiever, so naturally when I learned that I could earn extra credit for doing volunteer work related to my degree, I seized the opportunity. Within a matter of weeks, I landed an open position at the Walker Art Center that was a great fit for my hectic class schedule and love of contemporary art.
It didn’t take long for me to catch the volunteering bug.Read more
Last year, I was asked to present a workshop session on social media for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Essentials Conference. I couldn’t have been more confident. I had presented before, knew social media marketing well, and overall felt like it would be a breeze.
And then the session happened.Read more
I recently managed a Communications project for YNPN-TC with a group of badass young professionals. Our task seemed simple: update an existing document with YNPN-TC’s brand guidelines and create four new resource guides with social media best practices. I am going to reflect on the process of managing this project, what was challenging, and some personal and professional growth that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my career.Read more
The further I get in my career, the more I catch myself processing and integrating within myself all the experiences I’ve had so far – and then drawing conclusions about what it all means, and what is most important for me to work on next.Read more
I have been working in nonprofits for almost a decade. I can’t believe I am saying that out loud! Now that you all know I am getting old (not too old), I wanted to share a few insights on lessons learned. In the nonprofit sector, it can sometimes feel like you are giving too much of yourself. Program participants are draining you emotionally, someone is out-hustling you at work, money is tight at your organization, the community needs more than you have to offer and there is never enough time in the day to get everything done. I most certainly have felt all of these things and more. What I have learned from my time in nonprofits is that Everyone Leads.Read more