I recently left a job where I got in a lot of arguments. I argued with coworkers over projects we were working on. I argued with myboss over the direction of the organization. I participated in heated arguments with the whole team about our strategy, processes, branding, and messaging. Sometimes the arguments ended with laughter and decisions on how to move forward, and other times they ended with everyone frustrated.
My time there reinforced the fact that collaboration is far easier said than done. People assume that collaboration — or strategy of any kind — means laying out on a plan, and then enacting that plan step-by-step. That kind of agreement is rarely possible, though. Collaborating with diverse groups of people on complex issues requires giving up certainty and control.Read more
Being a mom has emphasized my desire to have the career I want.
I want a career that is fulfilling, challenging, worthwhile andflexible. I am equal parts motivated to be my best self for my child and to go after what I want. I have a sense of urgency to find what I truly desire more than ever. Let’s just say I had a bad case of “mom guilt” when I came back from maternity leave. I felt crushed that I was spending so much time at work and leaving my child with another person all day. I felt I was going to miss all the big moments and he would surely grow up to resent me.
Then, I shifted my thinking.Read more
While 2017 brought activities and events to the YNPN-TC calendar as usual, a quieter but no less important process took place behind the scenes: strategic planning.Read more
I was hoping we could talk abundance. Living abundantly, thinking abundantly, creating abundantly. But I’m finding that we can’t get there if we don’t first address scarcity.
Truthfully, in my searching there’s just not a whole lot of reference material about abundance that isn’t an afterthought to scarcity (do a google - you’ll find an abundance of scarcity). So I’m here to add my writing to the pile, because it seems that’s just where we’re at right now. In one job I had I worked semi-remotely, connecting to my co-workers all over the country daily over Gchat or Skype. I thought it was awesome. Sending emojis, gifs, or just simple hello’s were all great ways to connect…Read more
Working in the nonprofit industry can be an incredibly rewarding experience but, like any job, it can also be incredibly draining. So, with that in mind, I’m committing in 2018 to focusing on my personal health and wellness as well as my professional development and success. And I am, of course, doing this in the most cliche way possible: a list of New Year’s Resolutions which I would like to share with you.
Changes are coming our way. The new tax bill influences charitable giving on a fundamental level, which will change the way that we, nonprofit professionals, approach our work. Bear with me - the beginning of this post may seem boring, but it’s important to understand the basics before you can fully comprehend how the new tax plan influences the nonprofit sector.
We all have a story that led us to our careers – the careers where we feel are our calling.
For me, my calling was journalism – after finding public radio in the middle of the night as a result of insomnia during a major health issue. Yet, changes were unfolding as I graduated. As people consume news in the digital space, revenue has been impacted and jobs are hard to find. The additional competition for jobs made me wonder continuously if I made the right choice to pursue work in this field. I found myself not only uncertain, but seriously discouraged, and frightened.
In the attempt to make sense of events, I went on social media. Along the way, I was able to connect with friends and colleagues in the industry, and meet new people and get their views on how they see journalism, the media and their work – and see what inspires them. As uncertainty became a constant, so did the search for that perspective and inspiration.Read more
NOTE: This blog is an expansion of a speech I gave at “5 Minutes in Hell,” YNPN-TC’s annual event for people who want to practice public speaking (my slides are available on Google Drive and a video of the full speech is at the bottom of this post or on YouTube). For those considering submitting a speaking proposal in future years, I highly recommend it! You won’t find a more supportive practice venue.
There is no one answer to what a communications job looks like, especially when it comes to nonprofits. While large organizations can have entire teams where each person has their own subject area or expertise, small nonprofit organizations often have only one staffer (or part of one) who is responsible for getting the word out about everything the organization does.
Communicators have all kinds of duties: writing, social media, websites, emails, graphic design, media outreach, among other things. For some organizations, the communications staff is also responsible for development and fundraising, while others house these duties in separate departments.
At our core, however, all communications professionals have the same goals: We want to make sure the people who need our organization’s information get it in ways they understand, and we want to make sure our organization looks good.
These goals can mean that communications professionals care about strange things like fonts and colors and images, and we sometimes say certain words should or should not be used.
In this blog, I am sharing some of the largest “pet peeves” communications professionals have in the hopes that non-communicators can learn and work more effectively with their communications staff, and we can eliminate the communications-programs-development divide.Read more
As nonprofit professionals, many of us love to pat ourselves on the back for doing positive work and putting forth a solid effort. Don’t get me wrong – more often than not, it’s well deserved. We do this incredible work with our nonprofits despite the fact that as a sector, we have considerable room for growth in financially compensating our professionals. That being said, sometimes we are too quick to congratulate ourselves and overlook how we may be contributing to pervasive societal norms.
This is apparent with the many recent revelations of sexual misconduct perpetrated against women all across the country. While I’m hopeful to finally see a growing public awareness of an issue that has existed since the beginning of time, I often find myself unimpressed and concerned by the visceral reactions of many men. Even men who try to say the right thing have a tendency to distance ourselves from the issue, which can elicit harmful effects regardless of our intentions.
Every single person is responsible for helping to rid our communities of all forms of sexual misconduct. No one is excluded from this conversation, and I believe that men must stop distancing ourselves from these issues. Here are four basic pieces of advice that I’m going to assert that all men need to internalize immediately.Read more
A recent project of mine was to incorporate community voice into a set of recommendations to the MN Department of Education. As it winds down, I am reflective on the process of community engagement to strengthen not only our recommendations, but this process overall.
My work has been driven by the importance of community engagement and why it matters. While it may be easier and faster to rely on experts and research to develop and push forward a new policy or plan, those directly affected and impacted rarely understand the rationale. For example, in my project, it was important to explain what the education services were to families who were skeptical they did not serve their children. I learned about the perception problem and the lack of communication between schools and families.
I have come to value the practice of “patient urgency”: the patience to present knowledge of the problem and the potential solutions, while maintaining urgency to keep the process moving. Community engagement, sometimes called stakeholder engagement, can easily drag on without consensus. But shared ownership creates a sense of empowerment and pride. Communities feel heard, their needs are addressed, and true compromise is reached.Read more