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Pages tagged "Leadership"


Five Lessons From Five Minutes in Hell

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. 

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Myth Busting: Why volunteers aren’t free

main.jpgHow 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.

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Journey of Nonprofit Leadership and Self-Actualization: A Haiku

by Virginia Brown

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.

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Diversity dilemma: What would you do?

What Would You Choose?This post comes on the heels of YNPN Twin Cities’ August Diversity, Inclusion, and You: an Open Space Conversation event. The following post, a real account from a young nonprofit professional, is published with express permission. Identifying details have been omitted.

This post is similar to a Choose Your Own Adventure story. It’s very similar, except you won’t be protecting the jewels of Nabooti, hunting a Yeti in the mountains of Nepal or deep diving in search of Atlantis. Nope. Your mission is of a more mundane but no less daunting variety.

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Facing partnership overload? The good and bad of our collaboration culture

As nonprofit employees in one of the friendliest states in the nation, we can’t help it—we love collaborating. In most cases, this is a really, really good thing (there’s a reason why “Allied for Action” is the theme of the MCN/MCF conference this year). We solve problems faster and gain unexpected knowledge from the best collaborations. I’m currently part of a multi-organization partnership that is firing on all cylinders, and it’s incredibly motivating.

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The Nonprofit Olympics

main.jpgSo what do the Olympics have to do with working in a nonprofit anyway?

I unabashedly love the Olympics! The global spirit, ceremony, fanfare, and anticipation of athletes representing far corners of the world stir in me excitement, joy and wild rooting usually reserved for strategic planning! Seriously. As I’ve been watching the games these last two weeks, I have marveled at the supernatural feats of Olympians. But I know they are just humans – at the top of their game.  In addition to their raw talent, incredible commitment, endurance, and strength, I also admire how they play the game, their triumphs and defeats.

There’s a lot we young nonprofit professionals can take away from the Olympics.

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How to make better decisions with stakeholder engagement

main.jpgStakeholder 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. 

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Out of Your Field: How to Be Successful Without Expertise

main.jpgI openly acknowledge that I am the outlier at my organization.

As Communications Coordinator at Nonprofits Assistance Fund, I do not dream budgets nor get excited over financial statements. In school, I never took a single stats or finance class. While I have learned to read a balance sheet or a loan document over the past year, I am by no means the “go-to” person on those topics. In fact, I can tell you with utmost certainty that I will never be a finance guru. My roots are planted deep in the arts and humanities, where my passion grows from words and design standards.

Despite my lack of affinity for all things finance, it’s my job to tell the story of this organization focused on just that: the nuts and bolts of nonprofit finance. How do I do it?

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Creating Leader-full Spaces

by Leah Lundquist
follow me on Twitter: @leahlundquist 

YNPN Twin Cities was fortunate to get a visit recently from YNPN National’s first ever formal director, Trish Tchume. She is an all-around amazing leader and has been doing ridiculously great things for YNPN’s sector-wide visibility. That being said, the emergence of a formal director for an organization that has been in existence for 15 years—with a highly distributed leadership structure—raises an interesting question: how doorganizations strike the elegant balance of structuring just enough of a container for great ideas and action to flow in and out, but not so much that individuals feel like cogs in the machinery? 

Trish and a few of us from the YNPN Twin Cities board co-led a session at Minnesota’s annual Nonprofit Leadership Conference on this topic. The idea for this session came out of a nationwide study YNPN National undertook last year to test out the most heavily promoted strategies for leadership development in the nonprofit sector. They found that, compared with the other strategies posited in their survey, shared leadership didn’t have a lot of energy behind it.

 

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Leveling Up: Video games for professional development

My friends know that I don’t have a lot of time for video games anymore, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t select mornings when I wake up at 4:00 a.m. to get a few hours of pew pew pew in before heading to work. Originally I thought part of my career would be to build awareness of female gamers, and I did get one article published, “Why Women Play Games,” in a nonprofit magazine. While passion for games helped introduce me to nonprofit publishing, it wasn’t until writing this post that I realized just how much my virtual worlds have helped max out my real-life XP bar. 

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