Since becoming a single mom, I realize just how much the nonprofit sector relies on single moms to tell stories of our work, and it’s weird. I’ll admit, I probably didn’t notice this before having this experience myself, but now I cringe when people tell a narrative that aligns with their idea of an experience and not the person’s story. So I thought it would be helpful to write about what it IS like to be a single mom.Read more
I have a confession to make. I am no longer a fundraising professional, but I find myself continuing to care deeply about the ethics of raising money through the stories of program participants. Since leaving the world of fundraising, I have worked in digital marketing and am now in graduate school for public policy, but I just can’t leave it behind. Here’s why:Read more
On the first Thursday of December, I flocked to the Starbucks in City Center on 6th Street in the attempt to try to get some work done while fire alarm testing was conducted in my apartment building. As 9:30 in the morning came, the flurries fell as the line of drinks – caramel macchiato, chai tea latte, hot mocha – and their recipients, are recited in a somewhat poetic fashion.
It is an unusual sight for a Thursday morning – a packed Starbucks where the people are not worried about deadlines, or the fact that it’s the beginning of the workday. Whether it’s the two women sitting in front of me having a chat as I type on my iPad or two people at a window-side table discussing prospects, the coffee shop has been equated with the ability to nurture curiosity and enrich the spirit.
The YNPN-TC 2019 Membership Survey is now open!
The YNPN-TC Board annually surveys all members for feedback on your experience with YNPN-TC over the past year and asks for input on where we can improve. Your responses inform the board and volunteers as they plan and deliver programming and other offerings for you.
If you have not yet taken the survey, here are three why reasons you should.Read more
Recently, I played a game called Quiplash for the first time with a group of friends over a long cabin weekend. Over multiple rounds, the game presents prompts and asks two participants to each fill in a response with the goal of being as funny as possible. Then the rest of the participants vote on which response was best, with the submitter’s identity importantly remaining anonymous. After several rounds, a winner is declared based on who secured the most votes for their responses. We played several games, and I was shocked to win three times, more than any other individual, and almost consistently placed in in the top three.Read more
Nonprofit work is largely based on the belief that we should try to make our community, network, state, nation or world a better place. I’ve heard nonprofit workers talked about as a bunch of dreamers, idealists, and visionaries seeking to go against all the odds! With hard work, energy and the right attitude that anything is possible. Hooray! However, we see new and old societal ills persist in our communities, arts access can still be sequestered to those with wealth, and our nonprofit educational institutions can perpetuate systems of inequality. I think there is a link between a culture of optimism, and a failure to truly make progress. Allow me to provide a defense for the realists in nonprofits, and that a dash of a realist mindset with some optimistic drive may be helpful, particularly in these trying cultural and political times.
One day last fall, I texted my mom, “soooo…. I’m either getting fired or getting promoted.”
I had just gotten out of a meeting where I had the least amount of positional power of anyone in the room, and I had basically told everyone, including my boss’s boss, that the plan we were making didn’t hold true to our values. We weren’t trusting the people we served, and the plan would be flawed without that value at its center. I was calmly furious, my hands were shaking, and I questioned the wisdom of the experts at the table who had been working longer than I’d been alive. The result? My boss and coworkers raved about it, our program staff felt like the values of our work were supported, and we changed our plan.Read more
Content warning: police brutality
Happy holiday season, everyone.
As we reach one more year’s end and look ahead to yet another new year, I’m doing that thing that’s maybe expected, maybe common: thinking about things I hope can be better next year, and into the future.
And I just can’t shake one dominant thought.
We need to be more human with each other. I don’t mean be awful to each other – to follow our worst human impulses, or hew to the lowest common human denominator. I mean recognize our own and others’ humanity before anything else.Read more
As a CPA, one of the things I enjoy most about my job is getting to work with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations and seeing all the great work they do. In my opinion, one of the best opportunities to learn more about the issues affecting your nonprofit organization is at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) Annual Conference, which was held recently in St. Paul. I attended the conference and there was so much good information that I took two pages of notes! My favorite session was about generating monthly donors.Read more
It’s said that the formative years of human beings is 0-5 years, during which the brain is growing most rapidly and is extra vulnerable to trauma and stress. It is during this time that parents need to be hypervigilant, ensuring that their children have the right nutrition, are exposed to learning opportunities and given the freedom to move around, play and test their environment.
I want to suggest that there is also a formative time for employees in a new position. Based only on my own experience, I would argue that this critical time period is 0-12 months. In many ways, we are just like newborns when we start a new job: we have to adjust to a new environment, learn a new language (or, at least, a hundred new acronyms) and experience a steep learning curve. We are in a vulnerable position, one where we have to assimilate into the culture we find ourselves in rather than stake our claim or make our mark on the world. We have to crawl before we can walk.Read more