As a white Minnesotan and American, I feel I must acknowledge this blog is being published shortly after eight women, six of whom were Asian, were murdered in a mass shooting in Georgia (if you haven’t already read it, the YNPN-TC statement is available here). Rather than thinking of this as an isolated tragic incident, we must recognize what UMN Professor Erika Lee testified to Congress on Friday: “...unfortunately, [anti-Asian discrimination and racial violence] is very American.”
White Americans have stood by and benefited as Anti-Asian and xenophobic rhetoric have been strategically weaponized throughout our nation’s history. To support and stand with Asian communities now, we must feel an individual and collective responsibility to vocally reject and condemn anti-Asian racism, to intervene in and report any instances of xenophobia and racism we witness, and join with others to change the white supremacist culture and institutions that allow this hatred and violence to continue. Only then could we hope to declare violence against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders “un-American”.
As I discussed in my earlier blog, I chose to do my final research for my strategic communication masters on the need for ethical/equitable storytelling practices for communicators due to questions that have come up during my career about the power and responsibility I hold as a nonprofit communicator. When I’ve talked to other communicators, I found others who (like me) have an uneasy feeling about the way our sector takes an individual’s words and story, repackages it, and then uses it as a story of our organization’s success. However, as I’ve had these conversations, I have found that many of these individuals are no more certain than me about what to do about this. How can we create the types of short and tight stories and messages we need in today’s fast-past social media world while also sharing everything an individual wants in a story? Additionally, even if we are convinced, how can we get buy-in from our supervisors and organizations?Read more
Like all of us, YNPN-TC has spent much of the last year navigating multiple pandemics and evaluating how our work fits into a changing landscape. It was, in some ways, the perfect time to take a step back and create our new Strategic Plan. YNPN-TC’s mission has not changed. We are still here to provide and promote opportunities for the development of young nonprofit professionals, and our Strategic Plan informs how we carry out that mission. We adopt strategic plans on 3-year cycles, so our new plan will guide our work from 2021-2023.
This plan serves as a north star for our board members, volunteers, and all others who contribute to or participate in YNPN-TC. When we make decisions around things like programming, budgeting, and communications, this plan will help us stay accountable to our overall vision.
Our strategic planning process revealed a couple main themes. First, a desire to get back to basics and focus on quality over quantity. Second, a need to hold ourselves accountable to ensuring that all facets of our work actively push to dismantle white supremacy culture in YNPN-TC and the nonprofit sector. With that, we are excited to share our new Strategic Plan with you!Read more
When ringing in the New Year on December 31st, 2019, many people joked about having 20/20 vision. However, no one could truly predict what 2020 would bring. Did you have your graduation canceled? Was an internship put on hold due to the pandemic? Have you spent far too many hours alone with your pet (who is likely still wondering what the heck is going on)? The ongoing pandemic has undoubtedly challenged all of us in different ways, and for some, we have had (or will have) our first taste of starting a job or internship remotely during a pandemic. So...what now and how, you ask? Read on for a few (hopefully) helpful tidbits of advice for navigating this uncharted territory from someone who’s walked the walk!
I’ve heard the writing advice that to emphasize a moment in a scene, spend more time on it. I’ve found myself digging into the pieces of my day that are different from pre-COVID times, the parts I’ve come to love that are slower and more deliberate. I’m spending more time thinking about these moments, in anticipation that they will likely go away or evolve into something else.
All my life, I’ve been taught that you have to “be strong” either for yourself or for the people around you. Showing emotion made people look at you with pity and treat you like you were a child.
“Awww, look at Alishia crying again.”
“You’re always so dramatic.”
“If you want to get ahead, you have to be tough and not let people know they got to you.”
“Why can’t you just let it roll off your back?”
I know I’m not alone in hearing these things. In the 2016 election, we heard time after time about Hilary Rodham Clinton’s temperament and whether or not she was friendly enough to be President. The assumption is, she’s a woman and all soft and squishy, she can’t be strong enough, be “professional” enough to be an effective leader. The assumption is that showing vulnerability at all is a weakness. Well, my friend, if you haven’t heard this before, let me tell you that being able to show vulnerability is not a weakness. It’s a strength.
Despite what we’re calling unprecedented, challenging times, for many of us daily work seems to carry on as normal. Even before the pandemic, many of us were intimately familiar with never-ending to-do lists. Now, as the nonprofit sector is increasingly strained, many have taken on more work with fewer resources. In a culture that favors productivity, even as we’re marching through hell and high water, there is always another email to send and task to complete.
It’s important to establish practices that can help hack the to-do list, identify what is truly important, and cultivate a feeling of fulfillment — both at work and in life. I am admittedly no pro, but I’ve gathered a few of these actionable items that have helped me along the way.
You’ve completed a year’s worth of grants, appeals, social media posts, and e-blasts. Treat yourself for your hard work right now! We need it.
But if you’re working remotely because of COVID-19, you’re probably used to spending all day behind a screen. How can you write conversationally when you’ve gone days without face-to-face contact? Try borrowing some ideas from the art of speech writing!
Public speaking principles are useful because they’re designed to hook audiences, ignite emotions, and pack meaning into a limited time frame. Even if you never step on stage to speak (in-person gatherings? What are those?), your writing will benefit from these principles. Below you'll find some core ideas, how they apply to nonprofit writing, and inspiration from skilled public speakers.
With COVID-19 continuing to plague the state, and the timeline for everyone getting vaccinated still months away, it looks like we will be working from home for the foreseeable future. And I don’t know about you, but working virtually from a one bedroom apartment can sometimes be exhausting. Fortunately, my nonprofit has implemented seven practices for improving our team culture that could transfer to your nonprofit:Read more
I moved to Eastern Europe two months before Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, and I relocated to the Twin Cities in September 2020. Plenty of jokes have been made about how I managed to “escape” nearly all of Trump’s presidency, and I’ve grown accustomed to chuckling uncomfortably while knowing that this isn’t really true. The Trump presidency impacted countless aspects of my four years living abroad and taught me several valuable lessons about how people overseas view America.
This past summer in the Twin Cities has been revolutionary.
As many organizations made the important pivot to working from home to minimize the impact of a global pandemic, our community suffered the tragic murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police Department officers, and residents were activated to hit the streets demanding justice.
Mutual aid distribution sites sprung up overnight to aid South and North Minneapolis communities who lost important neighborhood storefronts, which eliminated access to groceries, household goods, and critical medications.
And we carried on because our work didn’t stop. For many, it intensified.
The problem with ignoring pain is that it doesn’t go away. We just start to work around it, maneuvering in maladaptive ways.