Survey Says: We'd be MIA
without you 2!

Friday, April 3rd
5:30 - 8:00pm
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Mpls



* Notes from Creating Leader-full Spaces presentation at 2012 Nonprofit Leadership Conference.

* Facilitation resources on topics such as Open Space Technology and World Cafe, and groups such as the Public Conversations Project and the international Art of Hosting network.






We provide and promote opportunities for the development of young nonprofit professionals.

We envision a world where young nonprofit professionals:

• connect through purpose
• challenge to change
• lead together

Our values:

● We strive for respect and inclusiveness
● We seek opportunities to collaborate
● We respond to the evolving needs of our community


Workers & Nonprofits: Addressing Inequity Together

This article originally appeared on the YNPN National can read the original here.

YNPN Hawai’i member Paola Rodelas tells us about three labor issues nonprofit professionals should have on their radar and what they can do to advance labor rights and equality.

Few people know that labor unions are nonprofit organizations; they’re classified as 501(c)(5) organizations. Yet I get mostly quizzical looks when I tell my fellow young nonprofit professionals that I work for a labor union.

Some people have negative responses. Some say they had a union job once. Someone even asked me once if I’m a thug. But most of the time, people are clueless about what a labor union even is.

If you work in the nonprofit sector, chances are you directly or indirectly deal with labor issues. Considering how many nonprofit professionals work in social services and healthcare, I’m sure many of you care about important issues that affect underserved and underrepresented communities. I too worked for 501(c)(3) nonprofits because I was very passionate about social and political issues and creating real change.

Last year, I left a healthcare organization to work at UNITE HERE Local 5, a labor union in Hawai’i that represents hospitality and healthcare workers. I decided to work for Local 5 because this union understands that community issues are workers’ issues, and that workers’ issues are community issues.

To build a larger social and political movement made up of union members and non-members, my union and other community organizations formed the AiKea Movement. Since our launch in 2012, we’ve been tackling issues such as responsible development, marriage equality, immigration reform, environmental concerns, and more. Many of our key leaders are nonprofit organizations or employees.

Union member and non-member issues are not and should not be separate issues. Rather, we should unite together to fight the same beast of economic and social inequality. Here is a brief look at some of these important issues and why they aren’t exclusively workplace issues or exclusively community issues:

1. Living Wage

Labor unions have been fighting for a living wage since their inception, and the fight continues

  • Had the federal minimum wage kept up with inflation over the past 40 years, it would be $10.86 an hour today. About 3.8 million workers are paid wages at or below the federal minimum wage.
  • After graduating from college in 2010, I struggled to find a nonprofit job (or any job, really) and worked minimum wage retail and hospitality jobs for a year until I landed my first full-time job. I personally understand what it means to (barely) survive on minimum wage, and I’m sure many of you out there can relate.
  • My union has been fortunate to work with several nonprofit organizations advocating for raising minimum wage. We worked with faith-based groups, LGBTQ organizations, public policy advocates, etc. As a result, Hawaii’s minimum wage was just raised from $7.25/hour to $10.10/hour last week.
  • But we made it very clear that this is an issue that affects not just minimum wage workers, but the entire community. Local 5 workers make well above minimum wage. But when some workers struggle, we all struggle. We created an infographic on bank tellers’ low pay, highlighting how much they depend on government assistance as a result. Meanwhile, banks are cashing in billions in profits. Good jobs here means money spent here, taxes paid here, a better life here.

2. Benefits, Job Security, & other factors that make good jobs good

We have labor unions to thank for weekends, holiday pay, ending child labor, and more. But there is still much work to be done.

Discussions about living wage often stop there and neglect the other facets of a good job: full family medical coverage, paid sick days, guaranteed pensions, job security. There are also numerous other workplace challenges that workers face, such as the negative impacts of subcontracting, the rise in non-union temp and part-time work, and the decline in union membership nationwide.

But again, these are issues that affect our entire community and not employees. We’re currently combatting the issue of our hotel rooms being converted into luxury condos and timeshares, which cuts thousands of good jobs. Because of these lost jobs, we calculated that over $30 million each year has been lost in state and Honolulu city tax revenue. That’s money that could have been used for our schools, our roads, and more. Everyone loses out, not just hotel workers.

3. Community Issues

Workers are people; they have lives outside of the workplace. They face a myriad of issues that affect them in and out of the workplace. And with the decline in union membership across the country, it’s more important than ever for unions to support workers who are not members.

It is no secret that the U.S. is becoming increasingly diverse, and the working class especially reflects this. Immigrants account for more than 16% of the civilian labor force. Unsurprisingly, many labor unions have been actively supporting immigration reform.

Some labor unions have also been advocating for LGBTQ rights. My union and many others in Hawai’i supported marriage equality, which was signed into law last fall. Recently, UNITE HERE Local 11 organized celebrities and LGBTQ rights activists to boycott the Beverly Hills Hotel because it is owned by the nation of Brunei, where homosexuality is punishable by death by stoning.

What can nonprofits do?

  • Understand that nonprofit employees are working people. Even if you are not a member of a union, you are still a working person who may be facing the same types of workplace issues. You may also be working for a nonprofit that is fighting the same inequities that unions are. We must work together not just in coalitions, but as a cohesive movement.
  • Join us on the front lines, and also let us know about your campaigns. More voices and more boots on the ground are needed to create real change. Just a few ideas:
    • Join us at our rallies
    • Appeal to elected officials and other decision makers.
    • Write letters to the editor.
  • Stay updated on local and national labor issues and disputes. I used to work in nonprofit development and was surprised that many don’t check if the venues they are booking for events are under boycott. Recently, the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) in Seattle moved their gala from the boycotted Hyatt Olive 8 hotel to honor the boycott.
  • Last but not least, pay your employees a living wage and benefits. Don’t contribute to the growing inequity nationwide and worldwide. Reflect on how your organization is treating its own employees and volunteers.

Immigration reform, marriage equality, environmental justice, you name it—these community issues are all workers’ issues. And workplace issues like living wage and worker benefits are all community issues. Community support is integral to combating workplace issues and improving the lives of working people. And the support of working people is necessary to fix community issues. This is how we address inequity together.

Paola Rodelas is a Communications Specialist at UNITE HERE Local 5, a labor union representing nearly 10,000 hospitality and healthcare workers in Hawaii. She has been a YNPN member since 2012 and was involved with YNPN San Diego’s fundraising committee. After moving to Hawaii in 2013, she co-founded YNPN Hawaii. Prior to her work at Local 5, Paola worked at UC San Diego Health Sciences Development and was an active volunteer at the Pacific Arts Movement (formerly the San Diego Asian Film Foundation). She studied Ethnic Studies and Art History at UC San Diego, where she also attained her professional certification in Fundraising and Development.

People icon designed by Moh Kamaru from the Noun Project


The Scoop: June's News From and About Our Members!

Madeline Graham
is the new Communications Coordinator at EMERGE Community Development.

Lindsay Bacher will be the Development Director at NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, starting June 9.

Carl Atiya Swanson is now a TV Producer with the TV Takeover live special through Springboard for the Arts and Rewire.

Brian Gioielli is the owner and head bicycle driver for Geno's Gelato (be sure to find him out and about this summer!)

Congratulations to Amanda Bingham who is now the Marketing Manager at the databank.


An Interview with Linda Nguyen

(Originally posted on the YNPN National Blog)

Today we’re excited to share this interview with Linda Nguyen, who will be the keynote speaker for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Leadership Conference and Day 1 of the YNPN National Conference on June 26 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As the Director of Civic Engagement for the Alliance for Children and Families, Linda built and currently manages a national initiative that has enabled thousands of community residents across the U.S. to become advocates, leaders and activists. She has worked with the Alliance network to encourage nonprofit staff and board members to embrace civic engagement strategies in their organizations and neighborhoods and to work in concert with community to address key issues in health, education and economic security. Linda is responsible for identifying and nurturing talent, coaching human service organization staff, conducting research and serving as a national advocate for constituent voice.

In addition to her outstanding work with the Alliance for Children and Families, Linda is also one of the early founders of YNPNdc and YNPN National. We spoke with Linda about her experience helping to found YNPN, how organizations can elevate diverse voices, and a few of her favorite spots in the Twin Cities.

You’re one of the early founders of YNPN. What drew you to the idea for a network of young nonprofit professionals? How did you go from idea to reality?

I was looking for a job in the nonprofit sector when I first moved to DC in 2003. I knew very few people in the field. I searched for help online, and came across the YNPN (then only in San Francisco) website and saw that people just like me were looking to network with one another for job opportunities and professional development and networking. I connected with a few of those peers in DC, and after a few meetings, we launched YNPNdc. I think our first event attracted 10 people.

I think the lesson is Jump In. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed. So what, 10 people came to our first “event.” We cared about something and so we created an entity to address the needs we and others had. I then became involved in helping to build the national organization. The national board at that time was made up of local people starting up their own YNPN chapters and we knew we would be stronger if we built together.

What were some of the network’s values back then? Has the network changed in your view, particularly from a values perspective?

Our values “back then” (ha ha, the good ‘ol days) were focused around voice (giving young nonprofit professionals a forum and support) and local autonomy (YNPN chapters were self-starting and proud of it). I imagine these values are still present today, and I would think that engaging diverse voices would be a particular focus for the network.

Why has the idea of “exploring diverse voices” surfaced as such a timely topic?

We are standing in that moment of change where there will be as many young people as old people, as many white people as people of color, as many people with a decent standard of living as those without.

What do we do? We have to make sure that we are hearing from everyone, engaging everyone, and getting as many voices to the table as we are able. When you see these vast differences, you may feel daunted and even fearful. But it is within our ability, and especially for us in the nonprofit and social sectors, it is our collective responsibility that we are listening and attending to everyone. As Minnesotan Paul Wellstone said, we all do better when we all do better.

How do you think nonprofits are doing at addressing diversity and including members of the communities they work in?

Hmmm, results are mixed. Overall, I think there is more attention being paid to diversity, looking for diverse staff and partners, and including community members. I do think, however, that we have a ways to go in creating meaningful roles for community members to play in our organizations. Are they making decisions? Are they considered equals? Or are they tokens or checkbox fulfillments?

And what is the thinking behind diversity and including community members? Are we doing it just to do it, because it looks good? Or do we see that it actually enhances our work, our programming, our decision making?

Do you have any tips or advice as to how nonprofit leaders could do this better?

Try it. Seek out other leaders who seem to do this well. Talk to them; figure out how their approaches could translate to your work/organization.

Who are some leaders that you think are doing this particularly well?

LIFT. Check them out.

And finally, what’s the best experience you’ve ever had in the Twin Cities? Do you have any favorite spots to recommend to conference attendees?

Tough one! A lot of ties — from a ruckus late night karaokeing at The Saloon to exploring the Cedar Riverside neighborhood (near Pillsbury United Communities’ Bryan Coyle Center) for its friendly neighbors and enlightening murals painted by youth.

But I think my best experience was walking through Loring Park, above the highway on the Loring Greenway to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry. I did that walk last year with my mom and son and we had such a fun time!

To hear Linda speak on the theme of Exploring Diverse Voices and see a few of her favorite Twin Cities spots for yourself, register for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Leadership Conference on June 26 in Minneapolis.


Becoming Leaderly

Elizabeth Fei is a participant in the new Leadership Institute put on by YNPN-TC and EPIP-MN, which launched in April 2014.

On night one of the inaugural EPIP-YNPN Leadership Institute kick-off retreat, we experienced a World Café discussion, where I offered to play table host (mostly so that I wouldn’t have to switch tables). After hearing the amazing thoughts of my fellow cohort members, I was so humbled and weighed-down with the immense responsibility of capturing, then harvesting their oh-so-insightful nuggets. When it came time to share, I turned to my tablemates, silently asking their permission.

I was met with nods back:

“Go ahead.”

Even now, I feel this immense responsibility to “say it right” and fully capture the gratifying two-day experience. As I’ve learned through my work at the Minnesota Humanities Center: words matter. However, I’m going to imagine all of my new friends nodding at me and try to do justice to all of our experiences.

Also, for the record, I know leaderly isn’t a word. Sue me.

I’ll admit, on my way from work to the first evening of the Leadership Institute retreat, I was nervous. I’ve never been one for traditional networking events. Smiling at each other in stuffy suits, handing out business cards, regurgitating your perfectly-crafted (yet somehow never professional-sounding enough) elevator speech over and over has never really fit my introverted style. And, while in my experience nonprofit-y, philanthropy-y, civic-minded, socially responsible folks really do tend to have their passions for what they do shine through any situation, I still feel myself often falling into the trap of the smile-shake-hands-nod-a-lot-and-move-on waltz.

Instead of this typical dog and pony show, we were asked to bring in something that represented our leadership journey. We circled up and shared our stories. Desralynn shared her red lipstick—a reminder to herself to always be bold. Andy shared a socket wrench, through which he shared the metaphor that for him, leadership means always having the “right tool” the job. In an unforgettable moment, Eleonore “bared it all” and shared her tattoo of a bicycle, commemorating the first day she learned to ride a bike (just 3 years ago!), and her subsequent drive to keep pushing forward.

When it came turn to share my item, I shared my green, blue, and purple hair—a symbol for my desire to bring my authentic self to my leadership journey. Hearing people’s stories was inspiring, humbling, and eye-opening; truly a testament to the fact that there is no one way of approaching leadership.

The second day was spent with higher level visioning both of the program itself and, in my view, some great forward thinking about the future of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. We spent some time in small groups, first envisioning the future of our sectors (but backwards!) and then with our mentoring circles who will be our go-to groups for more intimate connections and support.

We spent our afternoon in open space discussions tackling some of our big questions and concepts including: Power Dynamics, Who Am I as a Leader?, Bringing Your Self to Work, Building Culturally-Competent Teams, and How to Turn Ideas Into Action. The thought that these big ideas were the things we’d be wrestling with during our 10 months together was both daunting and exhilarating.

As we wrapped up the day, I was spent. As an introvert, two days of deep thinking, broad visioning and relationship had me feeling like I needed some kitty snuggles and a long nap. We ended the experience as we began: in a circle.

I think that working in the sector that I work in, with competing priorities and aims and goals coupled with an innate drive to do good in my little corner of the universe, it’s easy to get caught up in the impossibility of it all. There are always emails to be answered. There is always one more meeting to plan. There are people out there whose voices aren’t heard. There are systems in place that seem impossible to repair or rebuild.

Sometimes even the trip to the microwave to heat up my questionable Lean Cuisine seems like too much.

Looking around the circle, I became overcome with this sense of pride and excitement. More than that though, in that moment, it felt accomplishable: this group of young, motivated, smart, savvy, and impassioned individuals can actually do this. We are leaders that will repair those entrenched systems and amplify the good work in communities. And, maybe that email inbox will get below 1,000.

“Go ahead.”

All right guys, I will.


First-Time Conference Confessions & Lessons Learned

Thanks to our wonderful partners, Minnesota Council for 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!

Article by Erica Winegar

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.

Along with over 700 colleagues, I attended the Nonprofit Technology & Communications Conference.

Now, as someone who's never attended one of these before, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Looking back, five things stood out from this experience:

  1. The technologically savvy still needs to remember to bring back-ups.
  2. Even at a conference, we all find ways to be creatively collaborative.
  3. The online conversation is just as important as the live ones. #Truth
  4. Networking happens only if you put yourself out there!
  5. Don't be afraid to go alone.

These may not seem like significant takeaways, but bear with me and I'll explain why I think these were noteworthy for me.

1) The technologically savvy still needs to remember to bring back-ups.
Because this was my first conference, I wanted to make sure to take great notes, learn best practices from my peers and follow along with each presentation, and make sure to engage with fellow attendees online. Notice how all three of these to-do items involve technology.

Despite bringing my laptop and charger, I quickly realized that while I was accomplishing the goals I set aside for myself, I saw that my note-taking, PowerPoint follow-along, and Twitter banter were going to be a thing of the past because I had nowhere to plug in and re-charge during any given session. I cried into the Twittersphere and it was there I learned a valuable takeaway from Jason Samuels: "Conference Pro Tip - Purchase a Portable Battery Pack." Duly noted for future reference, sir. (FYI: Like others at this conference, I took advantage of the long break between the morning and afternoon sessions and scouted out an area to plug in and charge my computer. Erica FTW.)

2) Even at a conference, we all find ways to be creatively collaborative.
One of the ways I learn and retain information best is by taking notes. Now imagine if you combine a lot of attendees' notes and then share the wealth. That's exactly what happened at this conference. I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to really using the power of Google docs but seeing this tool in action made me more of a believer...and I definitely appreciated being able to look at the Google docs to glean some quick tips and helpful notes from some of the other sessions I wanted to attend.

3) The online conversation is just as important as the live ones.
#Truth Confession: Besides being able to take notes at this conference, I actually brought my laptop so I had an easier time monitoring the awesome #mnnptech conversation that was sure to take place. Not only were the comments pretty amusing, but it was also another way to make sure I connected with others and--shocker--meet them in person, which segues right into my next conference lesson...

4) Networking happens only if you put yourself out there!
I'll be honest - I consider myself a shy person, but I really like meeting new people. What I'm about to say may make me sound a little old school, but even though it's really easy and fun to interact with people online through social media, it's always nice to put a face to the name.

It's slightly intimidating to just start a conversation with complete strangers, but I kept reminding myself that we all registered and attended for the same reason: We're in the marketing field and want to learn how to leverage technology for our organization's marketing needs. So, even though it was a little uncomfortable at first, the end result was making some truly great connections.

And lastly, one of the most important lessons that I hope encourages other shy nonprofit folks to jump in and attend conferences like these:

5) Don't be afraid to go alone.
Sure, it's always nice to have that security blanket of already-familiar peers, but it also potentially prevents you from putting yourself out there and meeting new people. Maybe this lesson was something I had to learn by going to my first conference but I think it was one of the most valuable takeaways I could have garnered from this experience.

One of the scenarios I dreaded was eating lunch...alone. Flashback to awkward moments from your youth and the fear of being unwelcome to join a table of your peers. Yikes. Luckily, this wasn't Mean Girls and I had lunch with a really nice woman from one of the organizations tpt has partnered with on a few different broadcast productions, a connection I likely wouldn't have made had it not been for my super-shy question of "May I join you?"

Attending this conference was a fantastic experience. Now that I've learned these five lessons, I feel like I'm ready to go to another one. Who knows, maybe you and I will have the opportunity to meet at the YNPN National Conference this June?

Erica Winegar
Senior Communications Coordinator - Minnesota Productions & Partnerships
Twin Cities Public Television

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