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Co-Creative Leadership

The world population is 7.7 billion people and growing. That’s billions of unique perspectives on how community systems function or could be improved. Yet, studies like this one from the American Psychological Association tell us that, amidst this vast pool of resources, we as humans are biased towards ideas that will validate our opinions rather than challenge them. Much like the similar-to-me-effect, this bias encourages people to discredit innovative ideas, losing out on potential solutions to the challenges facing the nonprofit sector and our communities.

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Whether time is money or it's not, either way i'm in debt

Lately I've been taking a hard look at my money (and lack thereof).

To be frank, this is a radical departure from the days of refusing to check my balance and relying on the warning I would get from my bank coldly informing me that I’d gone below a certain amount in my checking account. (I’m writing this with the fear that I’m the only person who has ever done this, but also the knowledge I’m not. If you haven’t, bless. If you’re still doing it...now’s the time to adjust your habits.) I’ve fallen asleep, phone in hand, credit score glowing back at me while I dreamt of the perfect number (between 300 and 850, the higher the better), featuring a mix of types of debts with long histories, no late payments, and low credit utilization. It has taken over my brain.

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What it's like being a single mom

Since becoming a single mom, I realize just how much the nonprofit sector relies on single moms to tell stories of our work, and it’s weird. I’ll admit, I probably didn’t notice this before having this experience myself, but now I cringe when people tell a narrative that aligns with their idea of an experience and not the person’s story. So I thought it would be helpful to write about what it IS like to be a single mom.

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The need for responsible storytelling

I have a confession to make. I am no longer a fundraising professional, but I find myself continuing to care deeply about the ethics of raising money through the stories of program participants. Since leaving the world of fundraising, I have worked in digital marketing and am now in graduate school for public policy, but I just can’t leave it behind. Here’s why:

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Lessons from conversation

On the first Thursday of December, I flocked to the Starbucks in City Center on 6th Street in the attempt to try to get some work done while fire alarm testing was conducted in my apartment building. As 9:30 in the morning came, the flurries fell as the line of drinks – caramel macchiato, chai tea latte, hot mocha – and their recipients, are recited in a somewhat poetic fashion.

It is an unusual sight for a Thursday morning – a packed Starbucks where the people are not worried about deadlines, or the fact that it’s the beginning of the workday. Whether it’s the two women sitting in front of me having a chat as I type on my iPad or two people at a window-side table discussing prospects, the coffee shop has been equated with the ability to nurture curiosity and enrich the spirit.

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Three reasons to take the YNPN-TC Member Survey right now

The YNPN-TC 2019 Membership Survey is now open! 

The YNPN-TC Board annually surveys all members for feedback on your experience with YNPN-TC over the past year and asks for input on where we can improve. Your responses inform the board and volunteers as they plan and deliver programming and other offerings for you. 

If you have not yet taken the survey, here are three why reasons you should. 

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Funny girl: On humor, success, and gender

Recently, I played a game called Quiplash for the first time with a group of friends over a long cabin weekend. Over multiple rounds, the game presents prompts and asks two participants to each fill in a response with the goal of being as funny as possible. Then the rest of the participants vote on which response was best, with the submitter’s identity importantly remaining anonymous. After several rounds, a winner is declared based on who secured the most votes for their responses. We played several games, and I was shocked to win three times, more than any other individual, and almost consistently placed in in the top three.

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Defense of realists

Nonprofit work is largely based on the belief that we should try to make our community, network, state, nation or world a better place. I’ve heard nonprofit workers talked about as a bunch of dreamers, idealists, and visionaries seeking to go against all the odds! With hard work, energy and the right attitude that anything is possible. Hooray! However, we see new and old societal ills persist in our communities, arts access can still be sequestered to those with wealth, and our nonprofit educational institutions can perpetuate systems of inequality. I think there is a link between a culture of optimism, and a failure to truly make progress. Allow me to provide a defense for the realists in nonprofits, and that a dash of a realist mindset with some optimistic drive may be helpful, particularly in these trying cultural and political times.

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“I dissent”: Why you should vote no when no one else does

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.

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On being human

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.

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