Raise your hand if you got your start in the nonprofit sector as an AmeriCorps member. I did, my spouse did, many of our YNPN Twin Cities members did, and maybe you did too.
I served two terms in AmeriCorps and can directly trace my career trajectory back through my current grant writing position to a corporate fundraising job and back to my AmeriCorps gig in corporate volunteer coordination experience. My spouse served as an AmeriCorps member with a conservation organization and is now a certified arborist, providing field support to AmeriCorps members in a full-time position at that same nonprofit. We are living proof AmeriCorps provides relevant entry-level experience to people looking to start careers in the nonprofit sector.
AmeriCorps is valuable in training entry-level staff and helping people get a foot in the nonprofit door, which is why we need to raise the living stipend.Read more
I consider myself progressive, but in an attempt to understand opposing views, I read Science Left Behind by Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell. Instead of placing politics on a left-to-right spectrum, the authors used a triangle to distinguish between liberals, libertarians, progressives, and conservatives. The three points on the triangle were Freedom, which liberals and libertarians most value; Equality or fairness, which progressives most value; and Excellence, which conservatives most value.
Excellence, they said, was made of self-determination and personal initiative. Conservatives want people to be able to excel if they choose and think the best should win. They oppose too much regulation and like competition. At one point, the authors stated that, "We might even begin to make the case that progressives are engaged in an undeclared war on excellence itself."Read more
Minnesota is a great place to be a volunteer… There is a robust nonprofit community with plenty of meaningful opportunities. The latest numbers (from 2015) have 35.4% of residents volunteering ranking Minnesota 2nd in the nation!
Yet Minnesota ranks 12th in volunteer retention at 68.5%. How is it that nearly a third of all Minnesotan volunteers do not return?Read more
We’ve all heard it, I’m sure. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Right?
Whether or not you’ve heard this aphorism, I’d be willing to bet you’ve experienced it. I sure have – in different sizes and types of organizations, and in different ways within those organizations.
But never have I been more frustrated by this truth than when it relates to the lack of a culture of philanthropy in a nonprofit.Read more
First YNPN blog post of 2017. First thought: You survived 2016.
We may be battered from a rough year (don’t even get me started on why… you’re already on the internet, so it should be clear as day).
But thanks for coming back to work.
It’s easy for work to feel just like … well, work. But being a part of a nonprofit, you are the starry-eyed workhorse that has been seeking justice and impacting our community every day. And not everyone has the same opportunity to do that as a job.Read more
I don’t really follow sports, so the bulk of my athletic knowledge comes from movies. (I watched my mom’s beloved Cubs win the World Series this fall with at least part of my brain thinking, “Oh, they’re playing baseball, like in A League of Their Own.”) When I caught up recently with the 2011 film Moneyball, based on the book about the use of sabermetrics in baseball, I wasn’t expecting to care much about its stats-heavy story -- much less find an analogy that I’ve returned to frequently in my life. But the movie’s central concepts have continued to come up in my work when I think about team-building and what I and my colleagues bring to our jobs.
Moneyball’s story focuses on Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), general manager of the struggling Oakland A’s and a former MLB player himself. As a high school student, we see in flashbacks, he was singled out by major-league scouts impressed by his well-roundedness: He was equally good at hitting, running, and fielding. That promise led him to give up a scholarship to Stanford… but then his big-league career fizzled.
The insight that eventually leads to the Oakland team’s success under Billy Beane is this: Players who are good at everything don’t necessarily help a team win. Scoring the most runs is what really matters, and players getting on base is what helps teams score runs. The most important stat in this view is “on-base percentage” -- so a player who draws a lot of walks could be more valuable than a power hitter who’s inconsistent.Read more
The other day, I was asked about my favorite winter activity. My obvious answer was being inside, sipping a warm drink, and binge-watching TV shows. While my response was met with laughter, I was being serious. In addition to Minnesota winters being the worst (and don't act like they're not...), there is just something about losing myself in a high-quality TV series that I find so enjoyable.
Outside of taking a much-needed break from reality every once in a while, I’m convinced that watching these TV shows is actually helping me become a better nonprofit leader. I know that might sound silly or even ridiculous, but hear me out! With the right lens and mindset, there is a lot we can take away from some of TV’s best characters. So, here is a list of some of my favorite characters and what we can learn from them. And don’t worry, this is free of any major spoilers.Read more
Have you had an internship experience that was unpaid? For many of you, especially those in the nonprofit sector, that answer will be yes. According to a 2010 study by Intern Bridge, Inc., 57 percent of internships at nonprofits were unpaid, compared with 48 percent in government and 34 percent at for-profit businesses.
YNPN Twin Cities has teamed up with leading capacity building nonprofit organizations, Pollen Midwest, Springboard for the Arts and Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, to change the way that paid and unpaid internships are promoted on online job boards and within our sector. Now on MCN’s, Springboard for the Arts’, and Pollen Midwest’s job boards, paid internships will be listed separately from unpaid internships, which will be found in a different section or with the volunteer opportunities. This change allows internship seekers to search only for paid internships and promotes to the nonprofit sector that paid internships will attract more competitive, qualified candidates. YNPN Twin Cities approached these three capacity building organizations to make this change because we saw our members and college students had a difficult time sorting between unpaid and paid opportunities - a big difference when you’re building your work experience.Read more
Come have lunch with me.
No, seriously, it’s really that simple. I want you to come have lunch with me.
Let me tell you my reasoning behind that.
As nonprofit professionals, we understand the benefit of community and how it helps make our work meaningful. Many of us have seen first-hand how awe-inspiring it can be to have the feeling that our work is so much more impactful when it is community-led and community-driven. YNPN ensures that community building has the components of diversity, inclusion, and access in order to guide our actions and programming as YNPN members. However, how often are we individually undertaking these values in our own professional and personal lives? The idea is simple to understand but much more difficult to execute.Read more
Some of you may remember a call last year by Nonprofit Quarterly and YNPN National to contribute articles to their Equity, Diversity and Inclusion reader. Throughout 2016, they’ve been publishing these incredible articles from young professionals, ranging from topics of representation in volunteer groups to doulas to looking at the structure of evaluation to supporting the ever mythical nonprofit unicorn: executive directors of color. You may ever recognize some of the authors - Al Heartly gave a dynamic presentation at 2016’s Five Minutes in Hell.
So read some articles, share with your coworkers, and let these thoughtful perspectives sink into your daily work in meaningful ways. The full list of articles is here or you can read them one by one:Read more