Taking the Alternative Route: The Upside to an Unexpected Journey

Wednesday, June 17th
6pm - 8pm
Northside Achievement Zone, Minneapolis
Register Now

Emerging Leaders Networking Lunch: Pairing Passions and Projects

Friday, June 19th
12pm - 1pm
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, St. Paul


* Notes from Creating Leader-full Spaces presentation at 2012 Nonprofit Leadership Conference.

* Facilitation resources on topics such as Open Space Technology and World Cafe, and groups such as the Public Conversations Project and the international Art of Hosting network.






We provide and promote opportunities for the development of young nonprofit professionals.

We envision a world where young nonprofit professionals:

• connect through purpose
• challenge to change
• lead together

Our values:

โ— We strive for respect and inclusiveness
โ— We seek opportunities to collaborate
โ— We respond to the evolving needs of our community

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The Twin Cities chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network is a community of nonprofit staff, volunteers, supporters, and allies: current and future leaders who want to connect with others in the social sector.



Quality, Not Quantity

By Pa Thao
Follow me on Twitter @pathaonaz

I’ve gotten used to sounding apologetic when I explain to people what I do for a living. After all, I have a Master’s degree in Public Policy from one of the best policy schools in the nation. How could I possibly just be an assistant? I get defensive, and feel like I have to justify my decision to take a job that would not impress any of my peers. Since starting, I had feared this job wouldn't allow me to learn any tangible skills, and I would leave it having accomplished nothing.

Was taking this job a mistake?

This fear started to run my life and I spent much of my spare time looking into opportunities for professional development. I figured if I wasn’t getting what I needed from work, I’d go out and find it. It didn’t really matter what exactly I was doing, as long as I thought it would appeal to a future employer. Keep in mind, I’m already part of two amazing organizations: I serve on the board of YNPN TC and on the Executive Team of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL). For some reason, I had it in my head that I needed more, more, more!

I don’t think I’m alone, right? In high school, we were told that we needed to be "well-rounded" in order to be a competitive applicant for college, and in college we were pushed to engage in every opportunity, so we would stand out in the job market. 

For many of us this pressure didn't cease when we left academia. In fact, there are books about it! Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller, “Lean In,” challenges women to tenaciously go after what they want in the workplace, be it a promotion, a raise, or some other benefit. We have to work our tails off to get anywhere. In my case, my endless pursuit of professional development was how I was “leaning in".

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Culture Transformation Part 1: The Importance and Diagnosis of Culture

By Iris Hoover
Follow me on Twitter @HooverIris

In my last post, 'An Approach to Dealing with Resistance in Your Organization', I discussed how change in your organization could cause resistance, and I suggested strategies to work through it. This post will focus on culture in an organization and why it is important to understand the culture of an organization before, during, and after implementing change – a Part 1 if you will. Part 2 will focus on what you can do during organizational change and how to ensure culture change sticks. It is important to remember that an organization does not have culture; it is the people that create, form and maintain a culture. Culture can dictate if an acquisition, merger, or organizational change goes successfully, and it is vital to understand how structural changes will impact said culture.

To understand culture and its impact on organizational change, we must first know what it is. The culture of an organization encompasses the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of the people within that organization; often referred to as "the way we do things around here". While people within an organization uphold the culture, it is the leadership, polices, procedures, and structures that dictate and reinforce the culture. A new leader that is hired as CEO or other high-level leadership position can shift the organizational culture by the policies and practices they change and implemented. This is demonstrated within companies like HP or 3M, where various CEOs have instituted their own practices and changed the organizational structure. 

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Show US the Money

By Carl Atiya Swanson
Follow me on Twitter @catiyas 

"The state of worrying where your next meal is going to come from – you have uncertain income or you have more expenses than you can manage and you have to juggle all these things and constantly being pre-occupied about putting out these fires – takes up so much of your mental bandwidth, that you have less in terms of cognitive capacity to deal with things which may not be as urgent as your immediate emergency, but which are, nevertheless, important for your benefit in the medium or longer term."

That’s research fellow Anandi Mani quoted in The Guardian on the hypothesis of a study showing the negative effects of financial worry on decision-making. In the study, two groups – one rich and one poor – were given two test scenarios. The first scenario presented an “easy” car repair costing $150, and the second scenario presented a “hard” $1,500 repair, and then both groups took IQ puzzle tests while pre-occupied with their scenario. Both groups performed comparably on the easy repair, but the poor group struggled in the hard scenario. The study found that “their average IQ was 13 points lower when they were thinking about serious financial troubles.”

The study concluded that constant financial worry and uncertainty undermines decision-making ability and has an isolating, destructive effect. Many who work in social services see this as a matter of course with their jobs. Many of us in the nonprofit sector experience it on a different, organizational level – where concerns about things like funding, the source of the next grant, individual donations and rising overhead fuel a scarcity mindset and a culture of head-down worry, leading to poor decision-making focused on the short-term.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. One of our worst instincts about money is to keep it to ourselves. When you are in an organization trying to do as much as possible with your resources, sharing how money comes into the organization and where it is going helps an organization to better. One of the simplest ways for this to happen organizationally is through transparency, or radical transparency as it has come to be known. This transparency can be as detailed as knowing the performance reports of one’s colleagues, but starts with everyone knowing where the money is coming from and where it goes.

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What Can Gratitude Do For You?

By Anthony Parrish

If you work in nonprofits, then at some point you will bump into the people that fund nonprofits. What is the most important thing you can do in that moment? Thank You! It does not matter if you are at a gala, touring a site, or working on a project for your executive director, take a moment to express true gratitude to that partner. Donors are much more than a fiscal sponsor. They are (if you treat them right) lifelong advocates for the same mission you are passionately working for day-in and day-out.

Before you (or your organization) do anything else, acknowledge that a donor donated! When you buy something on Amazon you don’t have to wait days or weeks to know they appreciate your business – there is a email in your inbox the very minute you make the purchase. When someone buying toilet paper in bulk gets more acknowledgement than a donor trying to change the world does, there is something seriously wrong. So talk to your co-workers and figure out how you can prioritize that recognition. 

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Exploring the Twin Cities on a Budget


By Hannah Toedter

Being a transplant from “way up north,” I have discovered how important it is to get to know the city in which you live in order to feel at home and connected. It is important for us as humans to take a moment out of our busy schedules to relax and take in the city in all its beauty. 

So, here you will find a list of five ways you can explore the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan area, while not hurting your wallet:

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