Really? Not six weeks after an expensive and unflattering campaign season and I want to talk about elections? Yes. Absolutely.
Because like it or not, they matter. A lot. To your 503b, your parks and trails, your public safety, and to your nonprofit career.
Now, this could be about how we all need to be more engaged in advocating for our organizations and their missions (after all, nonprofit organizations only scratch the surface of their advocacy potential, in part due to a lack of expertise). But it's not. This is your real world PoliSci 101 - how to get involved in your local political processes - told through the story of YNPN member Josh Reimnitz, the Teach For America-alum-turned-newest-member of the Minneapolis school board. Together, Josh and I will show how you can take a few more participatory steps into our imperative albeit slightly imperfect political sphere. It'll be painless. Maybe even poetic. Just promise us you'll give it a try in 2013.Read more
2013 is just around the corner, and our humble organization is Amped. Up. With the excitement of a mogwai on a late-night twinkie run, we’re looking forward to some big projects and exciting ways of doing what we do in the New Year. As it has been, so it will be that our ability to innovate is in who we are as an intentional and nutritious community. In this space, themes emerge, ideas come together, and from all that surrounds us, we create something greater. All it takes is the confidence we each have in our convictions, and the humility to constantly challenge them, combine them, build upon them, and let them grow.Read more
I hope you were able to join us October 29 for Five Minutes in Hell, YNPN-TC’s very first member-driven event. It encapsulated the best of what this network has to offer: the ability to share our many varying interests and ideas with each other, and that we can have a damn good time while we do it. Even from my vantage point of making sure the slides ran smoothly, I was learning a lot at every turn.Read more
I will make almost any excuse to get on my soap box. In fact, I am a master at making mountains of mole hills. For years and years, these skills were only really useful for driving my parents crazy. But recently, I learned to harness this energy to create my own powerful and infamous “peanut rant.”Read more
How many times have you heard this in your nonprofit workplace?
“Of course volunteers are free. We don’t pay them.”
“You’re overwhelmed? Just get a volunteer to help you.”
“Doesn’t spending money on volunteers defeat the purpose?”
The notion volunteers are free is a common misconception both in and outside the nonprofit world. While many of the costs associated with volunteers aren’t directly monetary, there are costs nonetheless.Read more
by Lauren Van Schepen
follow me on Twitter: @lvanschepen
I have been dreaming of fiduciary responsibilities.
Caught in the throes of YNPN officer and chair elections, board recruitment, a fast-approaching board election at my day job, and a recent ELN on board service, it's all I can think about at the moment. While it's essential to understand the legal requirements of a board member, and great to consider the professional development opportunities, I've been ruminating on my first year on the YNPN board and the things I’ve learned - things no one told me.Read more
follow me on Twitter: @3manypuppies
I’ve spent the last several months on a journey of self-discovery. And to know me is to know how cynical the tone of my voice is as I say that. And yet, despite my reluctance and skepticism, I have been journeying my little heart out. I’ve taken every self-assessment known to man (it feels like), upped time with my therapist, started a discussion group of women talking about this book so aptly blogged by a fellow YNPNer, got my book club to discuss TED Talks instead of a book this month and and and.Read more
This month’s Emerging Leaders Networking lunch featured Jeff Narabrook and David Zeller speaking on the subject of nonprofits and voter engagement. Many 501c3 nonprofit organizations err on the side of caution because they want to guard carefully their right to perform mission-related work as a tax-exempt organization eligible to receive tax-deductible gifts. Either public charities (aka 501(c)(3) nonprofits) do not know that they can or do not know the extent to which they can participate in the political process.
Federal law, as it stands, does not forbid public charities from involvement with government. The problem, as outlined in the book A Voice for Nonprofits, is that 501c3s are not actively engaging in the political process and speaking for their constituents to the extent that they are allowed by law.
So what can a nonprofit do to provide valuable information to the public in an election year without jeopardizing its 501(c)(3) status?
*Disclaimer: I am not an expert, lawyer, or IRS employee (although I consulted and learned from a few to write this post), so please do the proper research before acting on what you read here!Read more
Stakeholder engagement. There’s some nonprofit jargon that can easily overwhelm anybody. But it’s really just about who to involve in decision making, when to involve them, and at what level - all pieces that are essential to working with clients and others.
As a nonprofit consultant at Aurora Consulting, I talk with my colleagues about stakeholder engagement in relation to organization assessments, program evaluation, strategic planning, nonprofit governance, and many other areas. The questions of who needs to be heard from, what quality of information we need, how important consensus is, where will authority lie all become very important.Read more
It’s 2012. Can I get political or do I have to keep it under wraps if I call myself a professional?
A life of service in nonprofits often means addressing quality of life issues in the places we live and for the people and communities we serve. (Sometimes, it’s animals, trees or water we’re saving.) Even if you aren’t working on issues pertaining to people or for a political advocacy organization per se, the initiatives you support most likely have politics written all over them. As election season rolls around, your first instinct may be to jump right in and wave a flag of support for the issues on the ballot you care about most.
There is nothing wrong with showing your true colors, but how can you do that and still maintain professionalism in the workplace?Read more