One of the most exciting and challenging parts of being a young professional is transitioning from “the newbie” to “the one with experience.” Every transition brings a few growing pains; with a little patience and an open mind, every transition will make you ready for your future in the nonprofit world.
Recently, my job duties have grown immensely as a result of organizational change at work. I will admit, I have not quite figured out where my energies and time are best spent from day to day. However, I have learned a few things that are helping me maintain my sanity while I transition into my new position.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
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.Read more
If you’ve had any interaction with a nonprofit over the past five years, you know that it’s a time of never-ending change. Realignments, redistribution of talents, tightening belts, cutting costs, closing organizations, rebirth of organizations, shifting departments, shifting responsibilities — the list goes on and on. You may find yourself doing a completely different job than when you began, or you may be the new guy or gal who’s come on board as a result of these changes. So how do you navigate shifting seas? How do you choose your battles and still manage to stay afloat?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
Fit. Fit is everything, and everything feels better when it…well, fits!
What happens when you find yourself in a position that simply doesn’t fit? And I’m not referring to the early months (i.e., the learning curve) or even an especially demanding time. What I’m considering here is a time-tested, thoughtfully examined, nagging, grating, perhaps even terrifying conclusion: “This job is not the right fit for me.”Read more
The phrase “Leading from the Middle” has been popping up all over the nonprofit world lately. From articles to blogs to conference breakout sessions, it seems people are quite eager to teach us how to “Lead from the Middle.”
After doing some research, asking around, and even requesting a fellow YNPNer do an e-news piece on the topic, I have come to a conclusion: “Leading from the Middle” is a flashy phrase with little substance.Read more
May 13, 1953 – August 11, 2011
The following blog is by Bridget Ulrich.
In my experience, working for a nonprofit is a lot like being part of a family. The people you are surrounded with go beyond the average coworker. I believe this is because you are bonded by the reality of working towards a common good instead of a common goal. So what happens when a tragic loss shakes your work family to the core? I recently had the unfortunate experience of finding out.
Recently I wrote an essay for mnartists.org about the rising popularity of collaborative arts projects and a “Do It Together” vs. Do It Yourself ethos in the Twin Cities (Do It Together? Patience, cricket, I’ll explain). Although the article was focused on the Minneapolis arts scene, rereading it got me thinking about how the Do-It-Together concept could be applied to almost any creative or professional culture, including nonprofits. And lo and behold, just like that I had organically stumbled upon the perfect topic for this blog All. By. My. Self.
Err… hold on a second. That’s actually a stone cold, rock hard lie right there.
A few days ago magician-of-all-trades YNPN board member Chris Oien casually suggested the idea to me and I was sold. Do It Together, kids.Read more