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Pages tagged "Conferences"


Maximize your YNPN-TC membership: How to create connections and change at a national level

Joining YNPN Twin Cities was the easiest thing I did upon moving to Minnesota a few years ago. After months of planning and orchestrating a cross-country move, I crossed off my top professional networking task simply by filling out a super short form and clicking a sign up button – no dues, no back and forth.

Within weeks of joining, I was at my first YNPN-TC event and plugging into a network which has since helped me make important professional connections, build professional skills, and be a part of a meaningful space for questions and conversations on how we can shape the nonprofit sector from within.

I knew there were other YNPN chapters across the country, and that there was an overarching YNPN national organization as well, but never quite knew how it all worked together. 

In the time since, I’ve joined the YNPN-TC board and in my current role as National Liaison, I am passionate about helping our local YNPN members take advantage of being part of our national network as well!

Below, I’ve listed five ways I’ve learned to plug into the YNPN landscape beyond the Land of 10,000 Lakes:

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An introvert’s game plan for a purposeful conference experience

introvert.jpgAs a self-described introvert, I’ve looked forward to conferences with great anticipation and a little bit of dread. Ranging from packed all-day affairs to week-long marathons, nonprofit conferences are a great way to learn and share dialogue with a group of people from diverse backgrounds and strengths who are passionate about the sector and their communities.

From my time as an AmeriCorps VISTA (yay PSO!) beginning my nonprofit career to positions with more leadership potential, I have attended a wide variety of conferences. When I register, I’m super excited to look at sessions, speakers, and hear which of my colleagues will be attending. But just a few days out, I inevitably think, “Gosh, I know there’s going to be so much to learn and so many people to talk to, but how am I ever going to be ‘on’ for this long?”

At the beginning of my career, I decided to attend conferences with a “play it by ear” attitude, and often left them at the end of the day with introverts’ guilt of feeling left out or that I wasted some really good opportunities to learn and make connections with new colleagues, mentors, potential future employers, and all around super cool people.

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The benefits of being a part of a network: A personal experience reflection

NetworkingThis past March, I had the good fortune to be sent to the NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) in sunny San Jose, California. It was set to be an intense three days of learning and networking, which I was a bit nervous about.

I had been to a couple NTC conferences with close co-workers before, but this year I was going with the President/CTO of our company. While getting a chance to get to know him a little better was great, I also figured I’d probably be spending much of the conference solo - and I was right.

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How the nonprofit essentials conference could have changed your life

Why should you attend a conference related to work that you aren’t required to attend you might ask? Give me ten minutes and I’ll tell you!

I attended the Nonprofit Essentials conference hosted by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits back in August with a scholarship from YNPN and the experience proved to be invaluable to me.

You never know who you’re going to meet anywhere in life, but especially at an MCN conference. I connected with so many people who showed up in other parts of my life but I never really got to know before. Case in point: I spent a good chunk of the day with one of my coworkers, from a different department, who I’d never really talked to before. Our discussions about the two conferences we attended together really got me thinking about my day-to-day work, what I truly enjoy, and how I can partner with her department more to not only be more effective but also have more fun at work!

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The Next Step, and the One After

main.jpgPressed shoulder to shoulder in a conference room, folders and chairs scuttled to the middle of the circle, we were asked a deceptively simple question; “What are you personally, and professionally, interested in?”  Starting with the first brave soul who was (and presumably still is) interested in sustainable transportation, they were handed the end of a spool of yarn. The follow-up, “Alright, who else is interested in sustainable transportation?” was met with a smattering of raised hands. The yarn made its way to a second person, and then a third. Church planting, podcasting, travel in New Zealand, mining in central Minnesota. A yarn web (a yeb?) was forming, giving real-time credence to the statement: There is no substitute for being in a room full people all saying “I need something.”

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Re-hashing #nplead2015

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Leadership 2025 conference was my third attempt at live-tweeting an event. This means I have only sent 95 tweets out into the world (does that disqualify me as a millennial?). I’m often still confused on this particular social media platform and sometimes unsure if I’m doing “The Twitter” right. Thus, one of the big conference highlights for me was when The Theater of Public Policy used one of my tweets in a short sketch during their lunch performance.

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Making the Most of a Lackluster Seminar

main2.jpgWe’ve all been there. You sign up for an info session at a conference or an event with a presentation that sounds intriguing and potentially groundbreaking. You sit down for the session, pen in hand, ready to take notes. Throughout the entire session you wait for something noteworthy – something so insightful you just have to tweet it, write it down, and take it back to the office to share with your colleagues or impress your boss. You wait, and you wait, and nothing. Turns out the session isn’t what you thought it would be. The information doesn’t apply to your organization or your job, or it covers information you’ve already heard a million times (social media 101, anyone??).

Recently I attended an event that left me feeling this way. So now what? Did I just waste an hour or two of my time? 

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Could You Be a Superhero in Disguise?

The following blog is by Maria Ward.

main.jpgLike many of you, I came to work in the non-profit sector because of my passion for social justice. Fresh from college and student-led advocacy groups, my head was filled with facts about inequality and injustice and my laptop plastered with bumper stickers.

When it came time to find a job aligned with my beliefs, however, I was at a loss. You can’t make a career out of just believing really, really hard in a cause, unfortunately. You have to gain some tangible skills to support the cause, skills which sometimes don’t feel all that connected to that passion that led you to nonprofits in the first place.

I tested out the nonprofit career paths that felt most connected to the passion I felt, dipping my toes in community organizing and direct service, areas where I could talk about the issues as a public figure. Much as I wanted to be the hero on the front lines, I found these jobs to be a mismatch to my personality. What kind of career could I build when I wasn’t a natural with a bullhorn or an extrovert with the energy to interact with people all day?

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Pictures, infographics, social media: Nonprofit Technology and Communications Conference recap

main.jpgIt’s only been a few short weeks after the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ 2014 Nonprofit Technology and Communications Conference, and I have already begun to put some ideas into action.

I’m the Volunteer Center Program Manager for Community Thread, a small nonprofit located in Stillwater. With a staff of 11, we do not have one person that is solely in charge of communications or technology. Rather, it is up to many staff, including myself.  I was thrilled to attend this conference, as I wanted to learn more about engaging the public through technology and communications. A few takeaways remain in my mind:

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First-Time Conference Confessions & Lessons Learned

Thanks to our wonderful partners, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, YNPN-TC was able to award 7 scholarships to the Nonprofit Technology and Communications Conference on April 10th. One of the lucky scholarship recipients shares her takeaways for our collective edification!

I've been working at Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) for a little over two-and-a-half years now, and on April 10, I reached a notable milestone: My First Conference.

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