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What's Your Story, Morning Glory? Personal Branding for Change Agents

Having a clear idea of who you are and what you care about, then representing yourself consistently online is the essence of personal branding. Not only can it help advance your career and build your network, it can also provide a stronger platform for communicating effectively about the causes you're passionate about as a nonprofit professional.

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Q & As | How Do I Lead from the Middle? And What Does that Even Mean?

“Leading from the middle” is one of those phrases we throw around in the nonprofit world, but never clearly define – hoping and trusting that no one will be forward enough to ask us directly what we mean by that. I sat down with Alfonso Wenker, the Director of Development & Communications at PFund, to discuss his experience with this buzzy phase of professional life.

What do you think “leading from the middle” means?

It is noticing and recognizing the strengths you bring to an organization, and putting that foot forward. You recognize the skills or connections that others on your team, even executives, do not have, and find places where you can contribute to those deficits. This means you do not default to “I’m not an Executive Director, so I can’t leverage this relationship, create this partnership, etc.”

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Secrets of the Cities - Nonprofit Style

If you attended our last happy hour event, NTWRK: Networking for People Who Love BINGO, you gained a wealth of information from other nonprofit folks about book recommendations, free meeting spaces, internships and more. You couldn't attend? Never fear. We've compiled the best of the NTWRK findings  - plus a few extras from volunteers and board members - to share with our entire YNPN-TC crew.

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Meet the New YNPN-TC Board Officers

main.jpgAs you might know, YNPN-TC is led by a board of directors, and on that board sit four officers: Board Chair, Board Vice Chair, Secretary/Treasurer, and National Liaison. In August, the board elected new officers who will serve the organization for a whole year.

So, what exactly does it mean to be an officer on this board? Well....

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Increase Your Capacity for Meaningful Connection...Sans Social Media

The following blog is by Jennifer Wall.

Quote.jpgElectronic communication can be pretty self-absorbed: What am I doing. Where am I right now. And who am I here with. But I am not here to disparage the limitations of status updates, 140 characters or the decline of spelling. They have their place and use…and limitations.

The definition of communication is broad and includes the act of transmitting information electronically, but I prefer the late 14c definition of communication: join, unite, participate in. Re-tweeting doesn’t count. Liking doesn’t cut it either. It’s just fun. Connection happens when you talk with me, not at me. 

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The Best Method for Managing Change

By Kelly Rowan
Follow me on Twitter: @kellykay30

According to Minnesota’s most famous muse, the times, they are a-changin’.

Change. We all face it. Sometimes it sneaks up on you and turns your world upside down in the blink of an eye. Sometimes you run at it full steam ahead with anticipation and open arms. Sometimes you know it's imminent and lurking, but consciously or not, you avoid it. The status quo is a known entity. And change is, well, exactly the opposite. But that's the point, right?

Overcoming a fear of the unknown is a big challenge that came up persistently at last week's Emerging Leaders Network lunch, where managing change was the topic of conversation. We experience a myriad of emotional reactions to the prospect of change, and we must, as leaders, be in tune with those around us in order to move that needle from fear to optimism for new opportunities and stronger programs, organizations and communities.

There are plenty of solid how-to guides for managing change out there, whether you're a seasoned leader guiding your team through a major organizational or departmental change, or an emerging leader looking for ways to offer unique contributions to keep things moving ahead collaboratively. The plethora of best practices and evolving models for organizational development and leading adaptively through change provide enough fodder for entire degree programs, so how to begin to address this topic in a short, punchy blog post?

I'll boil it down to one of the single most valuable exercises we can practice to manage change well. My favorite thing to do when tackling any big, overwhelming topic or issue is... to pause.

It's not easy. We are always moving, always forging ahead, striving to improve ourselves, our organizations and our whole life balance. But pause, we must. I'm sure of it. Get our butts up on that balcony.

It's only by doing this—taking the time to pause and reflect—that we can be fully aware of what's happening around us. We'll also be much better at considering the tools we have in our toolboxes, bolstering up our strengths and making note of gaps that may need our attention. 

While it's true that we occasionally encounter truly large-scale change, the change in an organization's identity for example, the most prevalent change I see us faced with is the increasing necessity to be more agile, nimble and flexible at our cores. We must be grounded in the constants, such as our values, and build up the infrastructure, systems and discipline to ensure we take the time to get our heads above the fray of our everyday activities to be adaptive leaders, from whatever position we find ourselves in.

What's been most helpful to you when effectively managing change?

Or let’s Do-It-Together: share a challenge you're facing head-on and let this network of smart change-makers and change-managers help you hammer out some solutions.

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Give your personal brand some moxie | Creative, doable personal business cards

You’ve heard it a million times. Get personal business cards.

You probably know you should have personal business cards (and many of you probably do), but have you ever thought about the value of having creative, memorable, impressive cards? Think of business cards not only as practical little networking tools, but also as an opportunity to leave someone a unique trinket that says “remember me!” You don’t have to be a graphic designer, illustrator, or “artist type” to create or deserve beautiful business cards. So treat your personal branding to a little surprise and revamp those bits of paper!

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Corporate to Changemaker: 7 Lessons for Sector Switchers

main.jpgI did it. I made one of the most elusive career moves out there: I switched from private to nonprofit sector.

Before I talk about my nonprofit journey, let’s go back a few years: spring semester freshmen year at college. I was a student at the University of Wisconsin and the newest recruit of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) Fraternity. TKE exposed me to the world of volunteering, which served as the backbone for my interest in the nonprofit sector.

After the shower of grad caps, I randomly landed in the telecommunications industry for more than four years–where I often found myself daydreaming about a career in the nonprofit sector. I asked for advice from mentors, friends and co-workers. Some believed I should volunteer while I worked my corporate job. Others told me to follow my dreams. In December 2008, I lost my telecom job and came face-to-face with the very question I was pondering: continue to work in telecommunications or embark on a fulfilling career in the nonprofit sector? 

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Organization Spotlight: Minnesota Rising and the Un/Conference

What is Minnesota Rising?

Founded in 2009, Minnesota Rising is a network of emerging leaders in Minnesota that works to build relationships, trust and a shared vision for the future of Minnesota. Minnesota Rising engages emerging leaders and young professional organizations to work toward that call both now and in the future.

Connect with them on their websiteTwitter and on Facebook.

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NTWRK: The New BINGO

Have you ever left a happy hour or networking event uninspired by the lack of connections you made? Just how valuable is a 20-minute conversation of small talk? And what's a business card good for if you aren't even sure what you’re looking for?

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