The thought of networking intimidates many people, myself included. It requires you to put yourself out there, and that can be awkward. Having to go to an event to furiously pass out my business card and provide my very best sales pitch for why you should add me as your contact on Linkedin makes me want a drink. Unfortunately, I’ve found that effective networking is essential to building a career. Fortunately, not all networking is intimidating and you often get to meet a lot of interesting people.
Last Friday’s room at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits was overflowing with folks who came to hear Trista Harris—executive director of Headwaters Foundation for Social Justice and founder of the New Voices of Philanthropy blog—for our monthly Emerging Leaders Network Lunch: How to Build Your Network (from scratch!).Read more
by Nathan Magel
follow me on Twitter: @nathanmagel
It's the late seventies. The air is filled with Kenny Rogers' gruff warbled yarns and the punchy funks and heart-rending swoons of the Commadores. Lionel Richie (Commadores) and Rogers are plump in their respective pigeonholes. Then, in 1980, "Lady" drops. Putting country music to R&B tracks, these two hairballs found a syrupy benign, and hugely successful denominator, firmly establishing Richie as a cross-genre powerhouse and Rogers as a bellwether of 80s adult contemporary.Read more
Last month the Twin Cities Marathon was a must-run event for avid runners like myself. But because of a series of frustrating year-round injuries, I was forced to be just a spectator. I’ve been able to run again in these past few months, but most of 2010 I spent cross-training. Some friends convinced me to swim on a weekly basis, and I continued bike commuting. All of this kept me in some semblance of shape, even if I still struggle to keep up with my running buddies (checkout my blog for more on that).
A major part of any runners training regimen is (or should be) cross-training. Cross-training helps an athlete develop better overall fitness while reducing the potential for injury.Read more
by Min Y. Chong
As Young Nonprofit Professionals, many of us are going through an awkward phase of learning who we are, what matters to us, and what we want to be when we grow up. We are near the beginning of our careers where our options and potential are nearly limitless. Considering the scope of possible paths is both exhilarating and petrifying. This is a time of growth, experimentation, frustration, discovery, and contradictions. We are idealistic and burned-out, passionate and unimpressed, over-worked and anxious for more responsibility.Read more
How many board members should an organization have? It seems like an easy enough question, but when discussing a nonprofit board of directors one thing becomes clear, there is no one size fits all model for governance. At last Fridays Emerging Leaders Network Lunch, we dove into the topic “Nonprofit Board of Directors: Who are they?” And while we found that most answers to the questions raised didn’t have a clear cut answer, there are still some things everyone should know about the board of director.
One of the most important things to understand about any board of directors is that directors are required to carry out their duties and responsibilities under certain standards of care and attention. Board Source describes the three legal standards that have been established as:Read more
by Jeff Urban (guest post)
follow me on Twitter: @jeffurban
I feel very fortunate to have a number of friends that are very active and community minded individuals. Many of them I met through my years of involvement with the Leadership Twin Cities program. We get together for happy hour to try to solve the world’s problems. Okay, maybe we don’t solve problems, but we do discuss our community’s current issues and successes. After each happy hour I am:
- Inspired and humbled by my friends and the difference they’re making in the community
- Enlightened by the knowledge shared
- Concerned about the difficult challenges our community faces
- Reflective on what I could do to help
So I assume that you aren't reading this post because you really want to guarantee that you will fail at being a leader. However, if that is why you are reading this, well then you’ve failed because you won’t find that here. Congratulations! I guess you actually succeeded at failing?!?Read more
Nothing seems to intimidate or inspire fear in more nonprofit employees than the thought of having to read their organization’s financial statements–well except for those of us who actually know how to make those numbers make sense. At last week’s Emerging Leaders Network Lunch, we—with the help of Michael Anderson from Nonprofit Assistance Fund (NAF)—turned fiscal fear into projected growth.
I started working for the Citizens League in 2008, and only a month after being hired I found out—along with the rest of our staff—that an audit done by our new accounting firm had uncovered a deficit. It showed our expenses for the year would exceed projected income. How did we stray from the shallow end to deep financial waters? As it turns out, we’d done a really good job of raising restricted funds, but had not raised enough unrestricted funds to help cover general expenses. Our new firm determined that the financial statements we were using didn’t allow us to appropriately track our restricted and unrestricted balances.Read more
by Leah Lundquist
follow me on Twitter: @leahlundquist
Against a lot of people’s better advice, I’m cracking the old textbook spine again. Well, actually, I’m ordering my eTextbooks or searching for open-source options this time around. Wow, how much has changed since I graduated from my undergrad over four years ago! And the changes aren’t just relegated to the logistics of how much we’re willing to pay for a textbook, but the very perception of the value of a graduate degree.
It’s a valid point. Akhila Kolisetty over at Justice for All dubs it our “higher education dependency.” For too long there’s been a sense that education trumps experience, and that the best next step you can take after your undergrad degree is to enroll into a master’s program. We hear: “Do it while you have the motivation!” and “You’re not going to want to do it later.” We do it for more income, to evade the entry-level positions, to get our dream job title, to build our networks, or the potentially worst reason of all–because we just don’t know what we want to do! In 2008, a whole new reason emerged–recession dodging.Read more
The following blog is by Erin Sapp.
When 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.Read more