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Breaking-up is hard to do

by Min Y. Chong
follow me on Twitter: @minychong

As nonprofit employees, our jobs aren’t just where we spend our days to make money and keep occupied. Our jobs are where we invest our time, energy, and passion. Our organizations aren’t just buildings and people that we spend the hours of 9 to 5 with. They are the communities for our causes and our constant collaborators. We choose to work in this sector to satisfy our hearts, our hopes, and our sense of justice. Our jobs are extremely personal and we feel strongly tied to them. As young nonprofit professionals, the bond is even more involved. These are our first organizations, mentors, causes, and often, the first places where we made change and witnessed the good the sector produces.

All of which is precisely what makes even the thought of leaving feel so terrible. Our coworkers and organizations have invested their extremely hard-earned and limited resources in us. They need and count on us to be there. But little by little, we outgrow our positions and start to need more. Even at our worst, our least inspired, satisfied, and driven, we still add value to our organizations. But is this how we best serve our missions or ourselves?

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3 Reasons Why You Should Have A Personal Website

Yes, “personal branding” seems like an overused, cliché buzzword being exploited in every workshop or conference session. Nevertheless, does personal branding actually matter? Yes. As young professionals, it matters even more. Personal branding defines and sets the pace of your career path early on.

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So that's how it's done? | 9 Tips for Building Your Network

main.jpgThe thought of networking intimidates many people, myself included. It requires you to put yourself out there, and that can be awkward. Having to go to an event  to furiously pass out my business card and provide my very best sales pitch for why you should add me as your contact on Linkedin makes me want a drink. Unfortunately, I’ve found that effective networking is essential to building a career. Fortunately, not all networking is intimidating and you often get to meet a lot of interesting people.

Last Friday’s room at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits was overflowing with folks who came to hear Trista Harris—executive director of Headwaters Foundation for Social Justice and founder of the New Voices of Philanthropy blog—for our monthly Emerging Leaders Network LunchHow to Build Your Network (from scratch!).

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Working together: Six of 1, 1/2 a dozen of the other

by Nathan Magel
follow me on Twitter: @nathanmagel

It's the late seventies. The air is filled with Kenny Rogers' gruff warbled yarns and the punchy funks and heart-rending swoons of the Commadores. Lionel Richie (Commadores) and Rogers are plump in their respective pigeonholes. Then, in 1980, "Lady" drops. Putting country music to R&B tracks, these two hairballs found a syrupy benign, and hugely successful denominator, firmly establishing Richie as a cross-genre powerhouse and Rogers as a bellwether of 80s adult contemporary.  

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Nonprofit Cross-training

Last month the Twin Cities Marathon was a must-run event for avid runners like myself. But because of a series of frustrating year-round injuries, I was forced to be just a spectator. I’ve been able to run again in these past few months, but most of 2010 I spent cross-training. Some friends convinced me to swim on a weekly basis, and I continued bike commuting. All of this kept me in some semblance of shape, even if I still struggle to keep up with my running buddies (checkout my blog for more on that).

A major part of any runners training regimen is (or should be) cross-training. Cross-training helps an athlete develop better overall fitness while reducing the potential for injury.

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Nonprofit Adolescence

by Min Y. Chong

As Young Nonprofit Professionals, many of us are going through an awkward phase of learning who we are, what matters to us, and what we want to be when we grow up. We are near the beginning of our careers where our options and potential are nearly limitless. Considering the scope of possible paths is both exhilarating and petrifying. This is a time of growth, experimentation, frustration, discovery, and contradictions. We are idealistic and burned-out, passionate and unimpressed, over-worked and anxious for more responsibility.

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My board of directors does what again?

main.jpgHow many board members should an organization have? It seems like an easy enough question, but when discussing a nonprofit board of directors one thing becomes clear, there is no one size fits all model for governance. At last Fridays Emerging Leaders Network Lunch, we dove into the topic “Nonprofit Board of Directors: Who are they?” And while we found that most answers to the questions raised didn’t have a clear cut answer, there are still some things everyone should know about the board of director.

One of the most important things to understand about any board of directors is that directors are required to carry out their duties and responsibilities under certain standards of care and attention. Board Source describes the three legal standards that have been established as:

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Capturing the spirit with a net

by Jeff Urban (guest post)
follow me on Twitter: @jeffurban

I feel very fortunate to have a number of friends that are very active and community minded individuals. Many of them I met through my years of involvement with the Leadership Twin Cities program. We get together for happy hour to try to solve the world’s problems. Okay, maybe we don’t solve problems, but we do discuss our community’s current issues and successes. After each happy hour I am:

  • Inspired and humbled by my friends and the difference they’re making in the community
  • Enlightened by the knowledge shared
  • Concerned about the difficult challenges our community faces
  • Reflective on what I could do to help
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How to Guarantee a Leadership #Fail

So I assume that you aren't reading this post because you really want to guarantee that you will fail at being a leader. However, if that is why you are reading this, well then you’ve failed because you won’t find that here. Congratulations! I guess you actually succeeded at failing?!?

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Money Matters: Understanding your organization's financial situation

By Catherine Beltmann

Nothing seems to intimidate or inspire fear in more nonprofit employees than the thought of having to read their organization’s financial statements–well except for those of us who actually know how to make those numbers make sense. At last week’s Emerging Leaders Network Lunch, we—with the help of Michael Anderson from Nonprofit Assistance Fund (NAF)—turned fiscal fear into projected growth.

I started working for the Citizens League in 2008, and only a month after being hired I found out—along with the rest of our staff—that an audit done by our new accounting firm had uncovered a deficit. It showed our expenses for the year would exceed projected income. How did we stray from the shallow end to deep financial waters? As it turns out, we’d done a really good job of raising restricted funds, but had not raised enough unrestricted funds to help cover general expenses. Our new firm determined that the financial statements we were using didn’t allow us to appropriately track our restricted and unrestricted balances.

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