I sat at my desk, door closed, pencil sharpened, a thick ream of financial statements stacked in front of my computer monitor.
I turned over the cover of the first packet and the tiny lines of the spreadsheet printout wriggled tauntingly at me. I sighed, placed my pencil under the first line, and typed: “what is a balance sheet” into Google.
How did I get here?Read more
How effective do you feel in your ability to challenge the power structure? Where do you start? How confident do you feel in characterizing it?
We in the nonprofit sector are some of the most familiar with the consequences stemming from society’s balance of power. We hear the stories of communities most affected, we see the downstream effects of decisions made from remote places. If we are to advance social, racial and economic justice, we need to understand, recognize, and wield the power we have more effectively in our work.
P.S. I don’t have all the answers. But I believe in the premise that everyone can be powerful.Read more
I have a confession to make; I no longer work in the nonprofit sector in Minnesota, nor do I live in the state. I recently made the big decision to pursue graduate school in order to further my own passions and learning. While I am enjoying this new and challenging journey, I still find myself deeply connected to the nonprofit sector, a place where I spent the majority of my 20’s working, learning, and growing.Read more
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is big and complex. There are myriad of assessments, trainings, and articles about it--and I encourage everyone to explore the resources out there. However, it can feel impossible to know where to start. Unfortunately, there’s no panacea. It takes a lot of hard work and interrogation of an organization’s history, present situation, and the individuals within it to start making change.Read more
Would you rather travel to the ocean floor or outer space? Which type of weather best represents your personality? What fictional character would you most like to go on vacation with?
These might not seem like typical opening questions of a weekly staff meeting, but for my colleagues and I, it’s habit. Every Friday when we gather to reflect on the past week and prep for the one ahead, we begin with a few minutes of creative writing.Read more
There are plenty of articles and papers that lament the lack of diversity in the nonprofit sector, especially within leadership or board positions. While I agree that these are pertinent issues that need to be rectified, I also believe that each one of us has power in the spaces we occupy.
Sometimes we don’t need to wait for someone to make space for us at their table, because we have the power to make space for others at our table. As young professionals, it can be easy to think from a scarcity mindset and to be focused on our development. However, my mentors have both taught and demonstrated the power of paying it forward.Read more
My first experience with stipend pay was in college. I was interning with a local non-profit, and I was paid a $600 stipend for a semester-long internship. I worked 15 hours/week for approximately 14 weeks. If you do the calculations, I was making $2.86 an hour. Little did I know, this was illegal. And here begins my cautionary tale.Read more
Growing up, were you ever told that you needed to know what you wanted to be as an adult (like, ASAP), because, the sooner you knew, the better off you’d be in life? I sure was. Throughout my formative years I heard over and over again that I needed to pick a career (a lucrative one), and spend my life pursuing that career decision to be successful.
Talk about pressure.Read more
The world population is 7.7 billion people and growing. That’s billions of unique perspectives on how community systems function or could be improved. Yet, studies like this one from the American Psychological Association tell us that, amidst this vast pool of resources, we as humans are biased towards ideas that will validate our opinions rather than challenge them. Much like the similar-to-me-effect, this bias encourages people to discredit innovative ideas, losing out on potential solutions to the challenges facing the nonprofit sector and our communities.Read more
Lately I've been taking a hard look at my money (and lack thereof).
To be frank, this is a radical departure from the days of refusing to check my balance and relying on the warning I would get from my bank coldly informing me that I’d gone below a certain amount in my checking account. (I’m writing this with the fear that I’m the only person who has ever done this, but also the knowledge I’m not. If you haven’t, bless. If you’re still doing it...now’s the time to adjust your habits.) I’ve fallen asleep, phone in hand, credit score glowing back at me while I dreamt of the perfect number (between 300 and 850, the higher the better), featuring a mix of types of debts with long histories, no late payments, and low credit utilization. It has taken over my brain.Read more