In one of my first nonprofit jobs, I worked for a small organization. In my interview I remember being told that the staff was so close that they were like a family. As a recent college graduate just starting my professional career, I was excited by this idea. What could be better than a group of passionate advocates caring so much about creating social change in our community that they are brought together like a family? Unfortunately, I quickly learned that they were in fact like a family – an extremely dysfunctional and problematic family. This “family” narrative didn’t make it easier for me to connect with my job - it gave the higher-ups license to gaslight the staff making it harder to call out issues within the company. Since it was an organization steeped in white supremacy culture, anyone who spoke up was villainized. The treatment of the BIPOC staff was worse.Read more
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!Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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
Joining YNPN Twin Cities was the easiest thing I did upon moving to Minnesota a few years ago. After months of planning and orchestrating a cross-country move, I crossed off my top professional networking task simply by filling out a super short form and clicking a sign up button – no dues, no back and forth.
Within weeks of joining, I was at my first YNPN-TC event and plugging into a network which has since helped me make important professional connections, build professional skills, and be a part of a meaningful space for questions and conversations on how we can shape the nonprofit sector from within.
I knew there were other YNPN chapters across the country, and that there was an overarching YNPN national organization as well, but never quite knew how it all worked together.
In the time since, I’ve joined the YNPN-TC board and in my current role as National Liaison, I am passionate about helping our local YNPN members take advantage of being part of our national network as well!
Below, I’ve listed five ways I’ve learned to plug into the YNPN landscape beyond the Land of 10,000 Lakes:Read more
Some of you may remember a call last year by Nonprofit Quarterly and YNPN National to contribute articles to their Equity, Diversity and Inclusion reader. Throughout 2016, they’ve been publishing these incredible articles from young professionals, ranging from topics of representation in volunteer groups to doulas to looking at the structure of evaluation to supporting the ever mythical nonprofit unicorn: executive directors of color. You may ever recognize some of the authors - Al Heartly gave a dynamic presentation at 2016’s Five Minutes in Hell.
So read some articles, share with your coworkers, and let these thoughtful perspectives sink into your daily work in meaningful ways. The full list of articles is here or you can read them one by one:Read more