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Pages tagged "Carl Swanson"


Living the Raffi life

main.jpgIt’s mine, but you can have some/ With you, I’d like to share it,” Raffi sang on stage at the Pantages Theater, and then stopped, with a twinkle in his eye. “You know, in Canada, we have universal health insurance,” he mused to the parents, before snapping back to the kids with a playful “I don’t know what I’m thinking about.”

I went to see Raffi in concert because I have a three-year-old who knows all the words to “Baby Beluga” and “Wheels On The Bus,” and because my wife is more organized than I am and got tickets. So why am I writing about Raffi for a YNPN-TC post? They say go with what you know, and right now, I know Raffi.

But I do feel a theme in our current conversations on this blog. The last two entries – Commarah Bashar’s “You Mad? Dealing with Anger Like a Pro” and Diane Tran’s “Noticing Now: Musings on Mindfulness” – both center on staying productive, focused, active, and emotionally intelligent in a field that can seem thankless and in a political environment that is an existential threat to many of us and to many of the communities we serve. So consider this the third blog in that series.

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Sustaining the future

25_WT_EU_CAMPAIGN_BEST_OF_web_900px.jpg“Foundations are really nothing without nonprofits," said John Fetzer from the Northwest Area Foundation at Pollen’s Sustain-A-What event. It was a good line to open with when speaking to a room full of nonprofit practitioners because who doesn’t want to feel like they matter? It definitely got tweeted out on the #sustainawhat hashtag, and set the tone for the rest of the talk – we were not gathered to be yelled at about earned income strategies or that we needed to act “more like a business.”

Because let’s face it, when people talk about nonprofit sustainability, that’s often what they are referring to – how are you going to make money that’s not a grant or donation? What is your clever strategy for monetizing your content or the populations you serve? How are you going to work in ways that make business people and lawyers feel comfortable about it? 

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We have an operating budget!

We've got big news.

No, we're not making any presidential endorsements. We are, however, beyond excited to announce that for the first time ever, YNPN Twin Cities has an approved operating budget and fundraising plan!

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Show US the Money

"The state of worrying where your next meal is going to come from – you have uncertain income or you have more expenses than you can manage and you have to juggle all these things and constantly being pre-occupied about putting out these fires – takes up so much of your mental bandwidth, that you have less in terms of cognitive capacity to deal with things which may not be as urgent as your immediate emergency, but which are, nevertheless, important for your benefit in the medium or longer term."

That’s research fellow Anandi Mani quoted in The Guardian on the hypothesis of a study showing the negative effects of financial worry on decision-making. In the study, two groups – one rich and one poor – were given two test scenarios. The first scenario presented an “easy” car repair costing $150, and the second scenario presented a “hard” $1,500 repair, and then both groups took IQ puzzle tests while pre-occupied with their scenario. Both groups performed comparably on the easy repair, but the poor group struggled in the hard scenario. The study found that “their average IQ was 13 points lower when they were thinking about serious financial troubles.”

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Negotiating FTW

Negotiation In ActionI am finishing up an MBA at the University of Saint Thomas, and one of my last classes is an elective on negotiations. I really enjoy it. The readings are on sports contracts and great diplomatic compromises. I enjoy both role-playing in the cases that we use for mock negotiations and the debriefing afterward, where the class analyzes cases from every point of view. These are enriching experiences.

There are some really useful skills that I've picked up in the class, many from Ron Shapiro's book, The Power of Nice. If you are looking for an approachable book on building your negotiation skills, I'd definitely recommend this one. It’s full of memorable guidelines and pithy insights from many years in sports and entertainment negotiation, and it’s a quick read. His “3Ps and a Big L” – prepare, probe, propose, and listen – is as useful and basic an insight as you’re likely to get, and it can be applied to any number of situations we face as young nonprofit professionals.

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Everyone Together Different

Everyone Different TogetherSeveral years ago, as part of the Artists In Storefronts project in Whittier, artists Sheila Regan and Anton Pearson created a striking image on the side of Rainbow Chinese Restaurant on Nicollet Avenue. Emblazoned across the side of the building, in moss-growing gel, were the words "EVERYONE TOGETHER DIFFERENT". The collaborative process of creating the piece, the ephemeral and delicate nature of its materials, the work to maintain it, and the power of the phrase have stuck with me as fundamental characteristics of a civil society. It is inclusive (EVERYONE); equitable (TOGETHER); and diverse (DIFFERENT).

Recently, the air has been full of conversations and actions on equity, diversity, and inclusion. You can’t have missed it, and it’s difficult to pinpoint where the current surge started, either locally or nationally. It is impossible to deny that diversity, inclusion, and equity, especially racial equity, are central to the conversations that we are having right now.

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