How creative writing fixed my staff meeting slump

Would you rather travel to the ocean floor or outer space? Which type of weather best represents your personality? What fictional character would you most like to go on vacation with?

These might not seem like typical opening questions of a weekly staff meeting, but for my colleagues and I, it’s habit. Every Friday when we gather to reflect on the past week and prep for the one ahead, we begin with a few minutes of creative writing.

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Making room at the table

There are plenty of articles and papers that lament the lack of diversity in the nonprofit sector, especially within leadership or board positions. While I agree that these are pertinent issues that need to be rectified, I also believe that each one of us has power in the spaces we occupy.

Sometimes we don’t need to wait for someone to make space for us at their table, because we have the power to make space for others at our table. As young professionals, it can be easy to think from a scarcity mindset and to be focused on our development. However, my mentors have both taught and demonstrated the power of paying it forward.

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Stipend pay: A cautionary tale

My first experience with stipend pay was in college. I was interning with a local non-profit, and I was paid a $600 stipend for a semester-long internship. I worked 15 hours/week for approximately 14 weeks. If you do the calculations, I was making $2.86 an hour. Little did I know, this was illegal. And here begins my cautionary tale.

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What makes a happy career?

Growing up, were you ever told that you needed to know what you wanted to be as an adult (like, ASAP), because, the sooner you knew, the better off you’d be in life? I sure was. Throughout my formative years I heard over and over again that I needed to pick a career (a lucrative one), and spend my life pursuing that career decision to be successful.

Talk about pressure. 

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Co-Creative Leadership

The world population is 7.7 billion people and growing. That’s billions of unique perspectives on how community systems function or could be improved. Yet, studies like this one from the American Psychological Association tell us that, amidst this vast pool of resources, we as humans are biased towards ideas that will validate our opinions rather than challenge them. Much like the similar-to-me-effect, this bias encourages people to discredit innovative ideas, losing out on potential solutions to the challenges facing the nonprofit sector and our communities.

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Whether time is money or it's not, either way i'm in debt

Lately I've been taking a hard look at my money (and lack thereof).

To be frank, this is a radical departure from the days of refusing to check my balance and relying on the warning I would get from my bank coldly informing me that I’d gone below a certain amount in my checking account. (I’m writing this with the fear that I’m the only person who has ever done this, but also the knowledge I’m not. If you haven’t, bless. If you’re still doing’s the time to adjust your habits.) I’ve fallen asleep, phone in hand, credit score glowing back at me while I dreamt of the perfect number (between 300 and 850, the higher the better), featuring a mix of types of debts with long histories, no late payments, and low credit utilization. It has taken over my brain.

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What it's like being a single mom

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.

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The need for responsible storytelling

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:

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Lessons from conversation

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.

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Three reasons to take the YNPN-TC Member Survey right now

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. 

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