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Embarking on social good: Questions to ask and legal structures defined

main2.jpgAt some point during our lives, we may come up with a great idea to improve our society. These ideas often emerge when we identify an unmet need or gap in service. But then what?  Coming up with the idea can seem like the easy part. Figuring out what to do next, how to turn your passion into a reality, can be the daunting part.

Years ago, there was a go-to option for someone who wanted to pursue social good – becoming a 501c3. You had to fill out the 30-page application, pay a fee to the IRS, wait, then wait some more – sometimes upwards of a year — to finally get the go ahead to accept donations for your project.

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Hello from the other side: From interviewee to interviewer

main.jpgWhen I was seventeen years old, I had my very first interview for a sales position at a sports retail store in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m embarrassed to admit that I strolled in to that interview ten minutes late, wearing jeans, and with no resume. Even though I somehow managed to get that job (thank you, Rick, for giving that young kid a chance), I have thankfully learned a lot since then about preparing for interviews.

Like many things, interviewing is a skill that you can build with practice and preparation. Over the past couple years, I have enjoyed the opportunity to be the interviewer for a change. So in this post, I would like to share a few insights I’ve gained from being on the other side of the table.

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Member Spotlight | Meet Amanda "Cash" Cashman

cashman.jpgThere are so many incredible people in YNPN doing the mind-blowing world-changing work and with such a large and active member base, we know it’s not easy to meet everyone in the group. Heck, if anyone DOES know every single person in the group, let us know and we will have arts and crafts time to make an award just for you!

The YNPN Twin Cities Member Spotlight is intended to champion people in the group, highlight the work they do, and help create more connections between members. If you have a nomination for someone for the Spotlight, let us know.

This month we’re shining the light on Amanda “Cash” Cashman, Co-Executive Director of Students Today, Leaders Forever (STLF). STLF works with middle school, high school, and college students through service, relationships, and actions to strengthen leadership and energize generations of servant leaders.

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All about our evolving partnership with YNPN National

As we continue to celebrate the tenth anniversary of YNPN Twin Cities’ founding, we’re also excited to share how our partnership with YNPN National continues to evolve in new ways.

But unless you’re super connected, you may be asking the question, “Wait, there’s a YNPN National?”

Yes! In short, YNPN National is the catalyst connecting each of the 42 local YNPN chapters like ours. 

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Where in the World to Meet: Crowd Sourcing Edition

Meeting ClipartAfter 5 fun years of volunteering and serving on the board of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities, I’m now spending time developing other networking and professional development opportunities that are near and dear to my heart.

What’s filling the YNPN-TC-shaped space in my heart at the moment? The Minneapolis-Saint Paul Nonprofit Tech Club or MSP NP Tech Club. This group, supported by NTEN, is devoted to providing a place to meet and learn from fellow nonprofit techies and digital marketers and fundraisers here in the Twin Cities (you can sign up for updates here!).

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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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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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