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In defense of the nonprofit generalist

The following blog is by Stephanie Jacobs.

main.jpgHello, my name is Stephanie Jacobs, and I am a nonprofit generalist. 

I have worked for nonprofits for the past nine years, but I don’t have deep expertise in any particular field, nor do I have years of experience in one kind of job. I’ve worked for a humane society, an organization that serves senior citizens, a nonprofit consulting firm, and a grantmaker membership association. I’ve done everything from grant writing to program planning, and I’ve never done the same job twice. I know a lot about the nonprofit sector as a whole, the various positions and roles within the sector, and what part nonprofits play in relation to the other sectors.

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2011 YNPN National Leadership Conference: 20+ Faces, 20+ Takeaways

Some of us flew. Some us drove—10+ hours from the Twin Cities. And some of us took a brisk walk over to the 2011 Young Nonprofit Professionals Network National Leadership Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Regardless of the method, we all came with one overarching goal in mind: To become stronger leaders, a stronger network and ultimately a stronger sector. 

To see a list of locations for other YNPN National Leadership Conferences, please click here!

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The World Is Your Oyster - Ask For It

by Virginia Brown
follow me on Twitter: @3manypuppies 

Getting what you want was the theme at this month’s packed Emerging Leaders Network lunch. A crowded room meant two things: 1) Lots of people aren’t sure how to ask for– and get–what they want, and 2) I had to sit on a counter because they were out of chairs.

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A Surprisingly Wild Time in Apple Valley

main.jpgOverall Rating: 4.5 out of 5: Venue, originality and hands down the best way to experience a small piece of the Zoo make up for the drive out to Apple Valley. 

If you were looking to cure winter blues on Saturday, Feb. 19 all it took was a ride out to the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. Now if you’re thinking that no event is worth a drive out to Apple Valley, especially in the winter, believe me the same thought crossed my mind. But it was worth it! This dream worthy venue played host to the launch party of the Zoo’s newly formed young professional group, AZUL.

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Volunteering My Way to My Future Job

The following blog is by Aleisha Leemain.jpg

It was only 30 seconds and it wasn’t pretty, but I did it.

If you attended YNPN’s EDGE event on interviewing techniques and resume writing, I was the Nervous Nelly holding the microphone, wrapping up the discussion panel portion and transitioning us to a break. Public speaking might be a breeze for some, but I have an enormous fear of speaking in front of groups larger than two. How did I take on my fear and end up in front of 70 of you? Volunteering!

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Meet Our New Board Members Part I

main.jpgYNPN Twin Cities is led by a dedicated board of nonprofit professionals. In November, we put out a call for new board members and we were thrilled by the number of talented young professionals that responded. After a competitive nominations process, we're excited to introduce to you our newest board members.

In this two-part series, we asked the new board members to grill interview each other, so that we could get the nitty gritty on who they are. First up to bat, Alison Griffin and James Faghmous.

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My Thoughts on Race & Privilege in the Nonprofit Sector

main.jpgRace and Privilege. Two simple words with charged meanings that usually elicit an immediate reaction. It may be discomfort, fear, passion, or been-there-done-that attitude. Whatever your reaction, we want to TALK about it! And, we want to talk about YOUR experience. 

The nonprofit sector can be a change maker for the lives of many in our community through organizations that provide employment training for people with developmental disabilities, higher education access for traditionally underrepresented youth, energy assistance, legal services, among many others. We do good, and that’s why many of us were drawn to this sector. Despite the good, in every nonprofit position I’ve held over the last seven years, race and privilege have been an unaddressed issue. Whether it’s the educational gap between me and my clients in legal clinics, the lack of cultural understanding in work situations, or the opportunity to connect with students over a shared experience related to minority status–race and privilege are prevalent in our sector.

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You’re not a Vulcan, show your personality in your work

main.jpgThe following blog is by Jeff Achen (guest post)

She flung her foot up onto our table at the MCN NP Tech Conference and flashed her ankle tattoo. It was the Rebel Alliance symbol.

Sweet.

Her glittery Yoda t-shirt had first caught my attention and it led to our discussion of a mutual love of the gentle green Jedi master. It’s funny, but I’d have to say my interaction with this young woman was the most genuine social interaction I’d had the whole day.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t genuine in my chats with others. I had a great time talking with everyone. It’s just that we really connected for a few moments because of a mutual, if not over-the-top, obsession with Yoda. We connected because of something we both enjoyed. It was fun.

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Give it Some Gusto: Nuance in Word and Action

main.jpg"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
-Author Unknown

I once spoke with Eric Hoffberg—business and life coach—about his philosophy of intentionally coloring speech with nuance. He explained that providing detailed information, creating context, and explicitly relaying the subtler points in conversation make for a richer dialogue and deeper communication. 

Wiktionary defines something nuanced as “possessed of multiple layers of detail, pattern, or meaning.” While I agree wholeheartedly with Eric’s attitude, I would suggest that words are only the start to living more intentionally and with nuance. Words are powerful, but even more critical are the actions that ultimately result from thought and speech. 

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Make Your Voice Heard. Improve Our Sector. Take YNPN’s National Voice Survey Today!

YNPN's National Voice Survey Closes Friday. Make Sure Your Voice is Heard!

Over the past several years, a great deal of literature has been released noting significant leadership challenges for the nonprofit sector. This includes a looming leadership gap, intergenerational and diversity issues, as well as a base of young professionals somewhat hesitant to lead in the near future. With each issue revealed has come a compelling set of recommendations for how the sector can meet these challenges head on.

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