As a self-described introvert, I’ve looked forward to conferences with great anticipation and a little bit of dread. Ranging from packed all-day affairs to week-long marathons, nonprofit conferences are a great way to learn and share dialogue with a group of people from diverse backgrounds and strengths who are passionate about the sector and their communities.
From my time as an AmeriCorps VISTA (yay PSO!) beginning my nonprofit career to positions with more leadership potential, I have attended a wide variety of conferences. When I register, I’m super excited to look at sessions, speakers, and hear which of my colleagues will be attending. But just a few days out, I inevitably think, “Gosh, I know there’s going to be so much to learn and so many people to talk to, but how am I ever going to be ‘on’ for this long?”
At the beginning of my career, I decided to attend conferences with a “play it by ear” attitude, and often left them at the end of the day with introverts’ guilt of feeling left out or that I wasted some really good opportunities to learn and make connections with new colleagues, mentors, potential future employers, and all around super cool people.Read more
“Foundations are really nothing without nonprofits," said John Fetzer from the Northwest Area Foundation at Pollen’s Sustain-A-What event. It was a good line to open with when speaking to a room full of nonprofit practitioners because who doesn’t want to feel like they matter? It definitely got tweeted out on the #sustainawhat hashtag, and set the tone for the rest of the talk – we were not gathered to be yelled at about earned income strategies or that we needed to act “more like a business.”
Because let’s face it, when people talk about nonprofit sustainability, that’s often what they are referring to – how are you going to make money that’s not a grant or donation? What is your clever strategy for monetizing your content or the populations you serve? How are you going to work in ways that make business people and lawyers feel comfortable about it?Read more
I quit my job today.
It wasn’t a bad job. It didn’t have a horrible boss or nightmare coworkers. In fact, I should have been loving it. I had my own desk with a window, flexible hours and a salary with benefits. I was one of the lucky ones. I had a job in my field guaranteed the day I walked across the stage and was handed my diploma. It was the epitome of a successful college career. What more could I ask for?
But, after classes ceased and the mundane work days all too rapidly began to blend into a depressing spiral with an unforseeable end, I panicked. What had I done? How did I get to this point? Was this going to be my life for the next 20 years?Read more
Hello, my name is Erica, and I have a Type A personality. To say that I can be obsessive is an understatement. It’s why I always volunteer as note-taker in meetings. It’s why I had memorized every lyric of Hamilton a week after buying the soundtrack. It’s why I frequently dive into new creative hobbies…most of which only last for about a week of intense investment. But one obsession that has stuck with me has been a desire to put my life down on paper.
Like many adolescent girls my journaling began with a penchant for the dramatic. The middle school diary was a place for dissecting crucial issues like where to sit during lunch, what crushes had spurned my imaginary advances, and the reasons that Orlando Bloom should be worshiped. I wish I had these manifestos to look back on today, but with my embarrassed page-ripping and need to cleanse any lapses by tossing the previous failed attempt, nothing remains today but memories like smeared jelly roll pen.Read more
Quotations enthrall me. The pithiness of the statements. The motivational, instructive, and validating natures of the strings of words. The sense that the somebody quoted is somehow larger than life, made infinite by their sustaining message that was gloriously earned the hard way. There is a timelessness to this stated wisdom, and we are reminded that our human experience isn’t quite so different from what others before us saw, learned, and shared in the course of their journeys around the sun.
What endlessly fascinates me is how quotes are, in precisely the same moment, universal (in that they evoke a sense of shared resonance for myriad people across time and space) and unique (they spark something entirely different and specific to each person based on their life experiences and circumstances). Much like a river, I’d wager that no one experiences a quote in exactly the same way.
To test out my theory, I’ll share a couple of quotes about leadership below from which I have drawn inspiration and insight, and you let me know in the comments how you experienced the quote and the particulars of how it resembles your life. Here goes!
At some point during our lives, we may come up with a great idea to improve our society. These ideas often emerge when we identify an unmet need or gap in service. But then what? Coming up with the idea can seem like the easy part. Figuring out what to do next, how to turn your passion into a reality, can be the daunting part.
Years ago, there was a go-to option for someone who wanted to pursue social good – becoming a 501c3. You had to fill out the 30-page application, pay a fee to the IRS, wait, then wait some more – sometimes upwards of a year — to finally get the go ahead to accept donations for your project.Read more
When I was seventeen years old, I had my very first interview for a sales position at a sports retail store in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m embarrassed to admit that I strolled in to that interview ten minutes late, wearing jeans, and with no resume. Even though I somehow managed to get that job (thank you, Rick, for giving that young kid a chance), I have thankfully learned a lot since then about preparing for interviews.
Like many things, interviewing is a skill that you can build with practice and preparation. Over the past couple years, I have enjoyed the opportunity to be the interviewer for a change. So in this post, I would like to share a few insights I’ve gained from being on the other side of the table.Read more
There are so many incredible people in YNPN doing the mind-blowing world-changing work and with such a large and active member base, we know it’s not easy to meet everyone in the group. Heck, if anyone DOES know every single person in the group, let us know and we will have arts and crafts time to make an award just for you!
The YNPN Twin Cities Member Spotlight is intended to champion people in the group, highlight the work they do, and help create more connections between members. If you have a nomination for someone for the Spotlight, let us know.
This month we’re shining the light on Amanda “Cash” Cashman, Co-Executive Director of Students Today, Leaders Forever (STLF). STLF works with middle school, high school, and college students through service, relationships, and actions to strengthen leadership and energize generations of servant leaders.Read more
As we continue to celebrate the tenth anniversary of YNPN Twin Cities’ founding, we’re also excited to share how our partnership with YNPN National continues to evolve in new ways.
But unless you’re super connected, you may be asking the question, “Wait, there’s a YNPN National?”
Yes! In short, YNPN National is the catalyst connecting each of the 42 local YNPN chapters like ours.Read more
After 5 fun years of volunteering and serving on the board of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities, I’m now spending time developing other networking and professional development opportunities that are near and dear to my heart.
What’s filling the YNPN-TC-shaped space in my heart at the moment? The Minneapolis-Saint Paul Nonprofit Tech Club or MSP NP Tech Club. This group, supported by NTEN, is devoted to providing a place to meet and learn from fellow nonprofit techies and digital marketers and fundraisers here in the Twin Cities (you can sign up for updates here!).Read more