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Pages tagged "Skills-building"


Don’t go broke while managing your first website redesign

main.jpgIt’s true. Researchers have confirmed it, dogs have no concept of scale. In other words, a small dog does not realize how small he or she is. Hence the well-known phenomena of small-dog syndrome. So why am I bringing this seemingly random factoid up? 

Well, I’ve noticed a similar phenomena when working with web vendors. It can be hard for them to anticipate how long it will take to do work for you, especially if the work in question requires the creation of something that’s entirely new to them.

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Peer Immersion: My Journey through the EPIP-YNPN Leadership Institute

main.jpgA year and a half into working for a big nonprofit that deals with complex community issues, I was struggling to get outside of my networking silo. It was taking enough time and energy to build rapport with people inside of (and working in partnership with) my organization, so I rarely had the energy to network outside (with the occasional exception of some people connected to my work).

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Don’t Be An “Idea” Person

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ideation and implementation. Based on the ways I’ve heard nonprofiteers talk about these two concepts, it seems we’ve created a false dichotomy. How many times have you heard phrases like: 

  • “I’m no good at details. I’m more of an idea person.”
  • “He focuses on details and doesn’t see the big picture.”

To me, being a strategic, big picture thinker does not preclude you also being a project manager who tracks details like a boss. In fact, I often find that those with boots-on-the-ground implementation experience have better ideas. They are closer to the challenges and opportunities that are ripe for innovation.

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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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Knowing What Metrics Can (And Can't) Tell You

main.jpgDid you know that the amount of mozzarella cheese consumed in the United States correlates to the number of civil engineering doctorates awarded? It is true – check it out here (along with many other spurious correlations).  Statistics of varying ilk are everywhere, from Facebook's massive experiments on users to how we calculate the poverty line. Honestly, those numbers can be scary, especially when they are about our own performance at work. But, statistics can also be helpful in staying focused on what really matters.

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Tips for Everyday Project Management

Project Management OrganizationAs of late, I’ve been hearing a lot of requests for training on project management skills. Having been a project manager in fundraising for some years and having taken a lot of project management classes, I know that a variety of tools exist out there to guide people through project management. However, I find that even the “official” project management tools offered by the Project Management Institute, the association of professional project managers, can be overkill for everyday nonprofit projects.

So how do you sort through it all if you want to get organized? To help, I’ve pared down the list to focus on some tools that would be useful for common projects at nonprofits.

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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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Great captains of our lives: Emotional intelligence and leadership

main.jpgImagine, you’re at the office early, morning beverage in hand and you settle in for a productive morning. That’s when Tony (who has been driving you nuts for months) comes over asking the same questions about the same project in the same way since he started. Your pulse rises and you can feel the knots forming in your shoulders and neck. You consider your options: fleeing at lunch and working remotely the rest of the day or shaking Tony by the shoulders until he understands the answers you’ve given to him a thousand times in a thousand ways.

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Becoming Boss

by Leah Lundquist
follow me on Twitter: @leahlundquist

No millennial I know particularly wants to end up like Michael Scott, beloved by his employees in a pitiful way. No, we all want to be Tony Hsieh of Zappos, crushing organizational hierarchy in the name of productivity and passion. Or Liz Lemon, somehow getting a show on the air even while managing crazy, egocentric actors and immature, oftentimes lazy writers. But making the leap from the very lowest of the food chain to having people to supervise isn’t easy. We talk a lot about “managing up” as Millennials - what about when we start managing “down”? 

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