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Changing ain’t easy

bank.jpgChange. It’s a word that carries a lot of connotations these days, many of them political. And while we can certainly learn a lot about change in the context of politics (Change is not instantaneous! Change can’t happen on campaign slogans and good vibes alone! Change is actually kinda hard to achieve sometimes!), I’m going to focus on change that affects all of us on a much more intimate (hubba hubba) level—professional change.

A good friend shared this blog by Eklund Consulting with me recently, and it was seriously one of the raddest, most feel-good things I’ve read in a long time. That may sound a little weird since the thesis is essentially “change blows,” but don’t let the downer message fool you. If you look at it the right way, the main point of the blog is actually a much more powerful upper than ten cups of coffee or [insert illicit substance here] could ever be: change is hard.

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What's So Scary About Fundraising?

by Kelly Rowan
follow me on Twitter: @kellykay30

As emerging leaders in the nonprofit sector, a solid grasp of fundraising basics serves us and our organizations well, no matter our department or role. But like so many things that are crucial, fundraising isn’t always appealing. So…why is fundraising so scary? What do we really need to understand about philanthropy’s role in our organizations? How can we build our skills and experience related to fundraising?

A group of young nonprofit professionals gathered to explore these questions for the February Emerging Leaders Networking Lunch. Attendees shared lots of great questions, resources, and insights related to fundraising. Here are some highlights, with a generous dose of my own commentary.

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Have you fallen out of love with your nonprofit job?

main.jpgValentine’s Day has come and gone. By now, the flowers you received are brown and drooping, and the weird fruit-filled chocolates are the only ones left in the box. Is this what your nonprofit job sometimes feels like?

Let’s be honest here. Sometimes it’s hard to work at a nonprofit. The board agendas, work plans, white papers, fundraising letters, metrics, phone calls, and meetings seem endless. And occasionally you can’t help wondering if it’s worth it. You could be making more money. You’re sick of being short-staffed. And your work—alleviating homelessness, poverty, global warming, illiteracy—can be overwhelming, frustrating, and more than a little depressing.

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Board of Buddies: Making your friends a force in your professional life

main.jpgIn their excellent book Superconnect, Richard Koch and Greg Lockwood emphasize the “strength of weak links,” recognizing that we can yield “enormous dividends” by reaching out to the acquaintances in our lives. This is the half of networking we’re always told to work on—as we build our group of professional acquaintances, we increase the chances that one of them will lead us to that perfect new opportunity or connection. There’s certainly some truth to this.

But the authors of Superconnect pay short shrift to the other half to networking (or as we should really be calling it: connecting). It’s not just about expanding your group of random “weak links.” It’s about habitually strengthening the bonds you have with your closest connections. When your good friends know what’s going on in your life, it makes it easier for them to offer support, accountability, and ideas. 

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Nonprofit Spotlight | The LEAD Project and "A Toast to LEAD" Benefit

An Interview with Peter Wagner, LEAD Board Member

What is The LEAD Project?

main.jpgLEAD was founded in 2006 and stands for the Leadership Emergence and Development Project. Our goal is to engage young professionals in the charitable and philanthropic communities of the Twin Cities.

How do you achieve your goal?

LEAD’s goal, and our mission, is to engage young professionals in the Twin Cities nonprofit community. We host various events that are all aimed at creating relationships between the young professional community and the nonprofit community through skills-based volunteer opportunities. We host several different types of events including Board Bootcamps, PhilanthroFairs and large scale charitable events. To learn more about our events click here.

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The Scoop| News from Our Members

There's change happening all around our network, and we aim to keep you in the know through our ongoing e-news column, "The Scoop." Share your updates for March by emailing bridge@ynpntwincities.org.

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Getting to Know the New Crew - Part 2

We’re thrilled to introduce three of YNPN’s new board members, Aisha Eady, Krysten Ryba and Sara Shaylie. Here they are saying a quick hello and highlighting an event they are looking forward to in YNPN’s 2012 season. You and folks you know are invited to come on out to sharpen your skills and connect in person with them and other great YNPNers!

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Myth Busting: Nonprofit executive salaries

Most young nonprofit professionals are not yet executive directors, but the policies and attitudes around nonprofit executive salaries already affect us. Negative perceptions and underpaid talent devalue our entire sector and make it an undesirable place to devote one’s career.


Recent data from the 2011 Daring to Lead report supports the sentiment that most executives are underpaid: the median nonprofit CEO salary falls between $50,000 and $75,000 a year, an average of 20–40 percent less than his or her foundation/government/business sector counterpart.

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Sunshine and Showers: The highlight reel

“I have no idea what I’m doing.”

It was a thought that sat right smack in the front of my 19-year-old mind as I, a credulous improv comedy “actor," woodenly blurped random sequences of words to the blank, slightly pitying faces of the audience before me. Needless to say, I am no longer an improv comedy actor. And needless to say, it can be tough to know what to do when you don’t know what to expect next.

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Confessions of a new board chair

Can I be honest? Sometimes a new leadership opportunity doesn’t feel like a thrilling adventure, or a great next step in your career path. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a long-awaited chance to use your skills.

Sometimes it feels just, well, scary.

Maybe it’s unexpected. Maybe you don’t feel prepared. But there you find yourself and you have a choice. Say no, or face your fears and accept the challenge.

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