Learning from Loss in Your Nonprofit Family: Finding a Way from Ordinary to Extraordinary

Tim Nelson
May 13, 1953 – August 11, 2011

The following blog is by Bridget Ulrich.

In my experience, working for a nonprofit is a lot like being part of a family. The people you are surrounded with go beyond the average coworker. I believe this is because you are bonded by the reality of working towards a common good instead of a common goal. So what happens when a tragic loss shakes your work family to the core? I recently had the unfortunate experience of finding out.

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The Basics of Personal Branding

If you couldn't make our "Stand Up, Speak Out" event on personal branding last month, you missed some great advice from four talented professionals. But - never fear! We have footage of one of our speakers, Meghan Suszynski, presenting on the topic of visual branding. This was the most popular segment of the evening, and offers creative ideas on how to build your own visual brand.

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Good in Theory, Problems in Practice: YNPN National Survey Results

main.jpgAmidst all the conversations taking place around leadership development in the nonprofit sector, have you ever wondered what, specifically, young nonprofit professionals think? YNPN does. In fact, it recently released the results of the YNPN national survey on popular leadership development strategies. The report, entitled “Good In Theory, Problems in Practice,” outlines the opinions of young people in our sector, the takeaways from these opinions, and recommendations on how to put these findings into action.

YNPN-TC played an important part in obtaining these results. Many of our members took part in the survey, and we also held a focus group of Twin Cities young nonprofit professionals to get more detailed information.

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In Social Media, Forget the Flash and Do the Work

main.jpgThe following blog is by Jenna Wade.

Think you need a Justin Bieber or an Ashton Kutcher to get things done through social media? Not so, according to "The Effectiveness of Celebrity Spokespeople in Social Fundraisers," a new report from PayPal and Zoetica highlighted in this month's The Chronicle of Philanthropy, a print and online news source about the nonprofit world. The report shows that big-name celebrities are much less effective in raising money through social media than other kinds of spokespeople, such as  influential bloggers, passionate followers, and regular people.

It's an easy trap to fall into. "If only we could get Mr. X or Ms. Z to help us raise money or promote us on Twitter, then we'd really raise bank/get in the news/become Twitter rock stars." Okay, sure, you might get a couple of donations or a couple of new fans or followers. But it's not a silver bullet/quick fix/game winner. (Try to break that news to your executive director gently.) It's easy to understand this kind of wishful thinking— celebrity advertising sure does seem to sell a lot of [insert consumer product here.]

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Same Game, Same Players, Same Results: Engaging with the political machine.

main.jpgA pretty scary realization hit me this week. I was in a room with about 35 young leaders, and when asked how many people had considered running for office about ten people raised their hands. When asked how many of those ten had changed their minds because of the current state of politics, about seven people put their hands down. What does this all mean? Fewer and fewer people are interested in entering politics, which means the people left on the playing field are those with extreme points of view. In essence, more of the same.

Whether we like to think about it or not, politics and policy affect us all. The bickering at the state capitol and in Washington may seem far-removed from our daily lives, but the reality is the resolutions from those fights will have an impact on our personal and professional lives.

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Is "De Facto Diversity" Enough? Exploring International Community Building

main.jpgWe rarely ask ourselves "Is this enough?" unless we have a sneaking suspicion that our efforts, whatever they may be, are falling short.

When the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, it clearly applied to laws that imposed segregation, such as in public schools. The practice of segregation enforced by law, or de jure segregation, was a clear target for the forces of integration and equality.

However, there were also a number of schools that provided a more nuanced problem—de facto segregation. These schools were divided along racial lines simply by the makeup of their neighborhoods and communities. While legal segregation ended, de facto segregation has had a lasting impact on our schools and children.

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Mapping Your Professional Development

I’ve been exploring various creativity techniques lately, and one of those is mind mapping. It’s getting a lot of play these days as a way to exponentially increase not only the number of ideas you bring to a concept but also the connections between ideas that breed even MORE ideas. You start with one thing in the middle of the map—a goal or the name of a project, for example—and then start branching out with activities, concepts, or themes you associate with it. Ideally, by the end you will have not only numerous branches, but also a web of connections that lead to even more associations. It’s a great way to brainstorm that gets away from making a list on a flip chart.

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Spot the Difference: Nonprofits Versus For-Profits

The follow blog is by Jay Haapala

Whether you’re in the nonprofit sector because it’s your career goal or because you stumbled into it, congratulations and welcome. Inmain.jpg my experience, the differences between working in a nonprofit or a for-profit are sometimes misunderstood, if not misrepresented. Being able to recognize and articulate the differences between sectors is a vital skill. Let me take a moment to map them out for you.

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What's Your Story, Morning Glory? Personal Branding for Change Agents

Having a clear idea of who you are and what you care about, then representing yourself consistently online is the essence of personal branding. Not only can it help advance your career and build your network, it can also provide a stronger platform for communicating effectively about the causes you're passionate about as a nonprofit professional.

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Q & As | How Do I Lead from the Middle? And What Does that Even Mean?

“Leading from the middle” is one of those phrases we throw around in the nonprofit world, but never clearly define – hoping and trusting that no one will be forward enough to ask us directly what we mean by that. I sat down with Alfonso Wenker, the Director of Development & Communications at PFund, to discuss his experience with this buzzy phase of professional life.

What do you think “leading from the middle” means?

It is noticing and recognizing the strengths you bring to an organization, and putting that foot forward. You recognize the skills or connections that others on your team, even executives, do not have, and find places where you can contribute to those deficits. This means you do not default to “I’m not an Executive Director, so I can’t leverage this relationship, create this partnership, etc.”

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