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I manage social media. I think we all need less of it

Woman looking at smart phone held above her headSocial media provides a space for generation and collaboration, of art and expansion, of advocacy and education, a way to broaden our horizons while letting the world know how the view looks from our individual vantage points.

Social media can help us live out our values. For example: I value knowing what my friends are up to. I value knowing what’s happening in the local and global community. And I value manatee memes.

But social media can also have an impact on our lives that conflicts with our values. We can find ourselves engaging with the world in ways that run counter to who we’d like to be, having an impact that’s not what we hope for.

By returning to the foundation of our values, we can identify the practices and principles through which social media will become a catalyst, rather than an inhibitor, for building a seriously significant life.

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Living the Raffi life

main.jpgIt’s mine, but you can have some/ With you, I’d like to share it,” Raffi sang on stage at the Pantages Theater, and then stopped, with a twinkle in his eye. “You know, in Canada, we have universal health insurance,” he mused to the parents, before snapping back to the kids with a playful “I don’t know what I’m thinking about.”

I went to see Raffi in concert because I have a three-year-old who knows all the words to “Baby Beluga” and “Wheels On The Bus,” and because my wife is more organized than I am and got tickets. So why am I writing about Raffi for a YNPN-TC post? They say go with what you know, and right now, I know Raffi.

But I do feel a theme in our current conversations on this blog. The last two entries – Commarah Bashar’s “You Mad? Dealing with Anger Like a Pro” and Diane Tran’s “Noticing Now: Musings on Mindfulness” – both center on staying productive, focused, active, and emotionally intelligent in a field that can seem thankless and in a political environment that is an existential threat to many of us and to many of the communities we serve. So consider this the third blog in that series.

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You mad? Dealing with anger like a pro

resist.jpegAnger is an emotion. That seems like an obvious statement, but with the way our culture uses anger, it needs to be said. Anger is not the anti-Gandhi boogie man, and though the narrative around it has been weaponized, it doesn’t always have to be a weapon. At it’s base level, anger tells you that what’s happening isn’t right, and it wouldn’t be effective to let it happen. It tells you to fight and resist, which is part of the reason I’m writing this blogpost. ‘Fight’ and ‘resist’ aren’t impulses we necessarily want to reject at this time (or ever), and they can be useful within the realm of mission-driven work. Enclosed are a few handles to get a grip on your fury in professional settings.

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Haven't Met Our New Board Members Yet?

Now that we've made it to April, we hope you've all had a chance to meet this year's new board members.  But if you haven't, take a look at who they are and be sure to connect with them to say hello!

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Nominate an Emerging Leader!

Each year, YNPN Twin Cities partners with Minnesota Council of Nonprofits to present the Catalytic Leader Award, which recognizes an emerging leader in our sector.  Nominations close on April 20th, so be sure to nominate someone today!

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Volunteer for YNPN!

Want to build your resume and network even further with young pros in the nonprofit sector?  Volunteer for YNPN Twin Cities!

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Noticing now: Musings on mindfulness

main.jpgI firmly believe we are new in every moment. We have never lived this long in these bodies, with these lives, on this earth, with the myriad and cumulative experiences we have had prior to this second. Or this one. Or the next.

What a thing to behold. And yet, in our fast-paced, externally-focused culture, it is something we are rarely trained or encouraged to regularly behold. Especially for young nonprofiteers, pouring so much of not only our heads but also our hearts into our work, it is essential to find ways to pause, reflect, and nurture our individual human capacity and the resulting resources we seek to share with our communities.  

So if we are to act based on identity-driven leadership and in accordance with our mind, body, and spirit, how might we invest in and cultivate these instincts and wisdom? The answer to our modern-day challenge, fortunately, is timeless and old as the ages: to practice.

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Ignore this professional advice

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Me: I should really try to follow this professional advice. 
Me to me: Ignore it.

Hey, I see you there. Setting goals, meeting them, just being generally reliable and competent. But... is that enough? Assertive, articulate, logical people are esteemed, and traditional professional advice is full of rules about how to behave more like them: Stop saying these 5 things; Never ask this question at work; Don’t get emotional; Don’t ruin your chances with these 7 behaviors; Take control of situations; and so on.

Some of us are left to worry that our speech, mannerisms, personality or emotions are undermining our own success. While I’m not sure it’s productive to write off ALL professional advice, sometimes Evil Kermit has a point. Here are 5 oft-heard directives I believe we can just stop worrying about.

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What does it mean to be a witness?

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I’ve been thinking about secondary trauma (sometimes called vicarious trauma or indirect trauma) and the nonprofit sector lately. Those of us enmeshed in the work of healing a wounded world are constantly exposed to images, stories, and descriptions of violence. Whether it’s against an individual or an entire people, we know the depth and degree of evils in the world many people actively avoid confronting. Our jobs require that we engage with violence against others and the Earth.

The ah-ha moment I had while reading Judith Herman’s classic book Trauma and Recovery is a moment I’ll never forget. There is a part where she asserts there are three parties involved in an act of violence: the perpetrator, the victim, and the witness. Most of us are familiar with the roles of the perpetrator and the victim, but few have heard of the witness. The witness does not have to be present at the time of the violent act, and they don’t have to know the victim personally. They can hear an account of violence, see a video documenting it, read a story or report, or see photographs. There are many ways to be a witness. 

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6 things I learned about my career from GRRRL PRTY

main.jpgAs a music lover in the Twin Cities, I’ve been a big fan of GRRRL PRTY and their fun, loud, unapologetic music. GRRRL PRTY is an all-woman rap collective made of Manchita, Sophia Eris, Lizzo, and DJ Shannon Blowtorch. GRRRL PRTY disbanded this summer so you’ll only be able to catch them at rare reunion performances. While you’ve got that GRRRL PRTY x BIONIK album on repeat, check out what I’ve learned from observing the artists of GRRRL PRTY over the last few years:

Note: I don’t know, and have never met, any of the GRRRLs - all of this is based on seeing them in the Twin Cities music scene over the last few years. Their own personal relationships are probably more complex than how it’s presented to fans like me.

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