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Results-Oriented Work Environment: Can it work for nonprofits?

The following blog is by Erin Sapp.

main.jpgWhen Minnesota giant Best Buy moved to a results-oriented work environment (ROWE)—no specified working hours, just particular job outcomes to be achieved—the rest of the corporate world held its breath to see what would happen. Now, five years later, Best Buy enjoys high rates of productivity, retention and employee-satisfaction. Having worked for a variety of nonprofits, public and private clients as an independent contractor, my career has been focused primarily on the outcomes of my work, rather than the hours I punch on the clock. I believe that the time is ripe to explore if ROWE could work in the nonprofit sector.

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Extra! Extra! Read All About It: The Insider scoop

Since the landing of the economic hurricane in 2008, professional development has remained a prominent buzzword for young nonprofit professionals (YNPs). With an overwhelming number of professional development opportunities in the Twin Cities, it was great to get the inside track on some of the advanced degree programs, networking opportunities, and trainings and workshops at YNPN-TC's  Insider event.

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Deciphering Organizational Culture

main.jpgOne of my first internships in college was working for a small nonprofit. I loved the work, but something felt a little…off. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Was it me? Was it my supervisor? The atmosphere felt disconnected, staff sometimes didn’t get along, and I couldn’t figure out basic norms and procedures—heck, I couldn't even tell you the dress code. What was wrong, I came to find out, was poor organizational culture.

What is it? Organizational culture, whether good or bad, is a difficult concept to comprehend. It's a mixture of written and unwritten values, norms, beliefs and practices shared by the people who make up your organization. More simply put, it’s the “personality” of your nonprofit.

Either way, it's a powerful force that dictates everything from how well you fulfill your mission to who makes the coffee in the morning.

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Strategic Engagement: Saying No, Negotiating to Yes

By Rinal Ray
follow me on Twitter: @uptownRinky

As YNPs, we have a lot to offer–fresh perspectives, young networks, eagerness to learn, and a willingness to roll up our sleeves. We’re ready to get out there and do good! And it’s that type of energy that institutions, organizations, campaigns, and people want to pull-in to their programs, boards, and outreach efforts. Win–win, right? 

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Managing work relationships: Why you should accept your boss’ friend request?

The following blog is by Dania Miwa

main.jpgFor many of us, social media can seem like a great space to vent and be totally candid about our everyday dealings. That’s why for me it’s always a struggle to give advice on when (and how) to set boundaries. How do you manage your public soapbox when the chair of your board is also a Facebook friend? Can you be yourself if your boss follows you on Twitter? Really, it all depends on your comfort level, work culture, and capacity at your organization. Nevertheless, I am of the firm belief that you can be friends with professional colleagues on your social networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter)—as long as you set boundaries.

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Share and Share Alike - Knowledge Transfer in the Nonprofit Sector

by Virginia Brown
follow me on twitter: @3manypuppies

Do you talk about knowledge transfer at your office? You should. It’s a tough concept, though – how to get what's in my head out and put it in someone else's.

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The World Cafe Model | A forum for gathering collective knowledge

main.jpgMy name is Catherine, and I'm an eventoholic. I LOVE events! Mention the possibility of attending an event, planning an event, or hosting an event, and I’m all over it. But this post isn't about me (or the potential events anonymous group I probably need to attend). This is about an exciting event trend I was first introduced to at a Torch event, and have continued to see at subsequent events: The World Café model.

What is it exactly? The World Café website explains this model as “an innovative yet simple methodology for hosting conversations about questions that matter. These conversations link and build on each other as people move between groups, cross-pollinate ideas, and discover new insights into the questions or issues that are most important in their life, work, or community.” So in other words, peer advice on anabolic steroids.

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Professional Development: 140 Characters At a Time

I’m a huge fan of Twitter. No matter your passion, you’ll likely find a like-minded community there full of influential and insightful people. This is no less true for the young nonprofit leaders’ community, where Rosetta Thurman (YNPNdc member) and Allison Jones (YNPN-NYC member) host a monthly conversation called #YNPchat. During this hour-long chat, young nonprofit professionals from all over respond to five questions on a set topic, and take this opportunity to engage with and learn from each other.

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In The Year 2000

by Nathan Magel
follow me on Twitter @nathanmagel

I spend a lot of time in coffee shops, conference sessions, and meetings galore trying to make sense of the crazy mixed up world we live in today. What does our current milieu of threadbare budgets, frenetic innovation, and the ever clarion call for measurable results mean for the work of our organizations? A question we’re all grappling. But for a moment or two, let’s shove away from our desks, quit clinking our iPhones, and look into the future. Yes, that’s right the future. As Conan would facetiously exclaim, all the way to the year 2000.

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A few good mentors

Emerging into your professional self is a lot of work. The through line isn’t apparent, and in that moment, it appears as if you’re just muddling along. But, you don’t have to muddle alone.

At the June Emerging Leaders Network Lunch  on mentoring, a friend who was in my cohort at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Leadership Institute identified me as one of her mentors. (I would have self-identified her as a peer with a certain skill-set.) Throughout our conversation about mentors and mentoring, it was clear that many of us simultaneously occupy both roles. 

In our jobs and as volunteers, we are often called on to help others. But at the same time we are also finding our way, developing and honing skills, and building our networks. This dynamic is one reason I find mentors and peer networks so appealing.

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