It's been seven months since the EPIP-YNPN Leadership Institute—an intensive ten-month skill-building and networking cohort program for young nonprofit professionals—began. As a cohort, we've been teaching each other all sorts of useful things about work-life balance, tips for evaluation, ideas for managing up in our organizations, and—most recently—addressing how we can lead abundantly and resiliently. The following are five reflections I've had raised by our cohort's discussions and questions, in gif form.Read more
Change. Meaningful, lasting, effective change.
Over the past few months, the topic of change has been a major focus of the Emerging Leaders Networking lunches. In culmination of the series of lunches dedicated to this theme, Stephanie Jacobs, Program Director at the Nonprofits Assistance Fund, ignited a discussion around the ways nonprofits work towards real change.Read more
How many times have you heard someone say, “Own it”? It’s motivational - go forth and spread your ideas! Be confident and powerful!
But leadership is not necessarily about projecting this kind of forceful power. At last month’s Emerging Leaders Network Lunch, Susan Campion reminded us of the importance of not owning our ideas. Campion, a consultant and change agent, spoke to the group about what it takes to get our ideas heard. Asking how to get my idea heard, she says, is actually the wrong question. It is too egocentric and closes us off to hearing and incorporating other ideas that could improve or trump our own. If we really want change, we need to innovate and listen.Read more
Let’s talk about the one word guaranteed to send shudders down the spine of many a nonprofit professional: meetings. You’re going to have a lot of them, and after you take that important step of joining a board of directors, you’re going to have more meetings that don’t involve a bunch of people who are coming to the same building for work every day.
Once you start trying to get work done with people across varying schedules and locations, travel time to those meetings starts to add up, and before long, you might find yourself sacrificing productivity through all the driving (or biking!) back and forth. Mitigating this issue is something we are working on internally at YNPN Twin Cities, which is one reason I was glad to see our April Emerging Leaders Network lunch with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits focused on connecting virtually. Brendon Liner of Nology led this part of the conversation, where I learned about some tools I’m itching to try out some time.Read more
This month’s Emerging Leaders Networking lunch featured Jeff Narabrook and David Zeller speaking on the subject of nonprofits and voter engagement. Many 501c3 nonprofit organizations err on the side of caution because they want to guard carefully their right to perform mission-related work as a tax-exempt organization eligible to receive tax-deductible gifts. Either public charities (aka 501(c)(3) nonprofits) do not know that they can or do not know the extent to which they can participate in the political process.
Federal law, as it stands, does not forbid public charities from involvement with government. The problem, as outlined in the book A Voice for Nonprofits, is that 501c3s are not actively engaging in the political process and speaking for their constituents to the extent that they are allowed by law.
So what can a nonprofit do to provide valuable information to the public in an election year without jeopardizing its 501(c)(3) status?
*Disclaimer: I am not an expert, lawyer, or IRS employee (although I consulted and learned from a few to write this post), so please do the proper research before acting on what you read here!Read more
It’s conference season in Minnesota’s nonprofitland, and how to present at them is a hot topic at YNPN, such as at last month’s Emerging Leaders Networking lunch. A recent e-news piece of ours offers some great tips on how to make your presentation shine once you’re doing one, but how does a young nonprofit professional secure a gig like that in the first place?Read more
Have you ever seen a request for conference proposals and thought, “Hey, I should do that,” only to find a million excuses to miss the deadline? I’m a terrible public speaker. They wouldn’t accept me anyway. What could I teach a group of experienced professionals?
You’re not the only one. Presenting at conferences or seminars can be a daunting task, particularly for young professionals who may be addressing a more experienced audience. But, fortunately, there are brave souls who have gone before us and – despite being younger and less experienced than some of their peers – presented at a professional conference.Read more
By Kelly Rowan
Follow me on Twitter: @kellykay30
According to Minnesota’s most famous muse, the times, they are a-changin’.
Change. We all face it. Sometimes it sneaks up on you and turns your world upside down in the blink of an eye. Sometimes you run at it full steam ahead with anticipation and open arms. Sometimes you know it's imminent and lurking, but consciously or not, you avoid it. The status quo is a known entity. And change is, well, exactly the opposite. But that's the point, right?
Overcoming a fear of the unknown is a big challenge that came up persistently at last week's Emerging Leaders Network lunch, where managing change was the topic of conversation. We experience a myriad of emotional reactions to the prospect of change, and we must, as leaders, be in tune with those around us in order to move that needle from fear to optimism for new opportunities and stronger programs, organizations and communities.
There are plenty of solid how-to guides for managing change out there, whether you're a seasoned leader guiding your team through a major organizational or departmental change, or an emerging leader looking for ways to offer unique contributions to keep things moving ahead collaboratively. The plethora of best practices and evolving models for organizational development and leading adaptively through change provide enough fodder for entire degree programs, so how to begin to address this topic in a short, punchy blog post?
I'll boil it down to one of the single most valuable exercises we can practice to manage change well. My favorite thing to do when tackling any big, overwhelming topic or issue is... to pause.
It's not easy. We are always moving, always forging ahead, striving to improve ourselves, our organizations and our whole life balance. But pause, we must. I'm sure of it. Get our butts up on that balcony.
It's only by doing this—taking the time to pause and reflect—that we can be fully aware of what's happening around us. We'll also be much better at considering the tools we have in our toolboxes, bolstering up our strengths and making note of gaps that may need our attention.
While it's true that we occasionally encounter truly large-scale change, the change in an organization's identity for example, the most prevalent change I see us faced with is the increasing necessity to be more agile, nimble and flexible at our cores. We must be grounded in the constants, such as our values, and build up the infrastructure, systems and discipline to ensure we take the time to get our heads above the fray of our everyday activities to be adaptive leaders, from whatever position we find ourselves in.
What's been most helpful to you when effectively managing change?
Or let’s Do-It-Together: share a challenge you're facing head-on and let this network of smart change-makers and change-managers help you hammer out some solutions.
Whether you’ve researched grant opportunities, written a grant application or received funding from a foundation, you know that foundations play an important role in supporting and sustaining the nonprofit community. But, how much do you actually know about foundations? Do you know what distinguishes a private foundation from a public foundation? Or, how many foundations are located in Minnesota?
No? Neither did I, so for May’s Emerging Leaders Network Lunch, Stephanie Jacobs from the Minnesota Council on Foundations joined us to help clear up a little of the mystery that seems to surround foundations. Here's the scoop.Read more
At last week’s Emerging Leaders Network lunch, we talked a lot about how to handle current or prospective employers and colleagues looking you up on social networking sites. Several suggestions bounced around the room: Direct professional contacts to your LinkedIn profile instead of Facebook, restrict certain Facebook updates to a more select group of people, maintain two different Facebook accounts (I’m not a big fan of that last one). And then we started talking more extreme measures: Ramping up privacy settings to 11 to be unfindable, or even altering your name so it doesn’t look like you at all.Read more