Every year around this time, I tune into YouTube to listen to smart and talented actors, politicians, and comedians share stories and give advice to the graduating class of the year. Even before I graduated from high school, I’ve been watching commencement addresses. Yes, I’m kind of a commencement geek who loves to get goose bumps during these inspiring speeches!
So what binds a moving and insightful commencement speech, a college graduate, and a young nonprofit professional together? I believe it’s the quest to figure out how to lend one’s skills, passions, and interests to build a more just and equitable world. In other words, what can we do do to make a difference in a deeply divided and broken world—or as Robert Di Niro put it in his speech at NYU, “a tragic dumbass comedy.”
Whether you’re a recent college graduate or work at a nonprofit, times of uncertainty, vast change, and great stress can be common. So pep talks, jokes, and advice from a diverse set of successful individuals can be just the pick-me-up that’s needed to build strong bridges into the future.Read more
"Ramadan Mubarak" means "Congratulations on the start of Ramadan!"
I always wish I could use a different tone to raise awareness about what Ramadan is. For practicing Muslims, Ramadan embodies the epic challenge of controlling your body’s physical demands so that you can focus on inner, spiritual rejuvenation. I usually turn this into a gripe about how we can’t drink or eat anything from sunrise to sunset and how the summer days are long and make for challenging fasts.*
While those things are true, they don’t capture the essence of Muslim reverence toward Ramadan. It’s a month that many Muslims look forward to. In the realm of the unseen, (bear with me non-religious folks) Muslims believe that the gates of heaven are open, the gates of hell are closed, and the devils are chained up during the month so that people’s ability to do good is maximized.Read more
What’s an Action Force you might ask? Well, we’re not 100% sure. And we need folks dedicated to Diversity, Inclusion, and Access to help us shape it. What we do know is that, while helpful, discussions and conversations about Equity can only take an organization so far, and they just scratch the surface of dismantling oppressive institutions. We want to take action, we want to shape the sector, and we want to start immediately.
We're currently looking for a leader for this new DIA Action Force. If you are interested in this position, click here to learn more about the committee’s work, and to read a position description for the leader we're seeking. The person taking on this leadership role won't be going at it alone! They will have the support of the YNPN-TC board, and we're also currently recruiting volunteers for the action force. If you know someone who would be a great fit for this leader position, please share this email with them.
If you're interested in getting involved more in YNPN-TC and in this capacity, please contact Cara Luebke at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, June 23.Read more
Author’s Note: I want to be clear that nothing in this blog is meant to imply that anyone (liberal or conservative) should feel forced to participate in the conversations that I propose here. It is up to each person and organization to decide if these types of conversations are appropriate for their cause, and they should consider what they will do to create an expectation of respect for and from all participants. This decision should be made only after organizations have conversations with their members and/or those in the communities they serve.
I recently watched President Barack Obama's panel with young leaders in Chicago. It was a 90-minute discussion with a tone of hope that has been missing from the news lately (if you haven't, watch it now).
When I said in 2004 that there were no red states or blue states, they're the United States of America, that was an aspirational comment. But I think it's ― and it's one thing... that I still believe [you see] when you talk to individuals one-on-one — there's a lot more that people have in common than divides them.
I, feeling inspired, volunteered to write my first YNPN-TC blog on an issue I've been thinking about a lot since the election: the need for people of different political ideologies to talk with each other and the role that nonprofits can play in purposely making spaces for these conversations. I was pretty nervous to write it given today’s heated political climate, but I strongly feel we must find ways to get out of "own little bubbles" and create meaningful dialogues through which we can recognize that the "other side" is human and not, just, a faceless enemy.Read more
As young professionals, we manage projects every single day. Whether it is planning for a staff meeting or the next big fundraising gala, we are constantly trying to spin more plates on fewer sticks. As I’ve advanced in my career, I have picked up tricks to help make managing both big and small projects easier. Here is my top three tips to help any project run a little bit smoother.Read more
I'm at home in the world of social media. Facebook, Twitter and other networks help me do my job, stay in touch with my friends, and fulfill my daily dose of manatee memes. But constant connectivity has consequences. The writing is on the Facebook wall: social media can impact our lives in ways that conflict with our values.
The speed of the social stream outpaces the joys of slow conversation. Outrage culture (not to be confused with justified anger) makes me more reactive. When I consume clickbait, I find myself engaging with people in ways that are less compassionate, nuanced, and appreciative. I act in ways that run counter to who I'd like to be, having an impact that’s different than I hope for.
This doesn't have to be the case. We can make social media a catalyst for generation and impact rather than something that controls us. Here's how I've stepped back from the brink and found balance in the world of social media.Read more
“It’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.Read more
Anger 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.Read more
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!Read more
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!Read more