Celebrating Six Years of Blogging & the Next Chapter for Nonprofit Chapin

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I’ve been waiting to write this blog post for months. I’ve been waiting to make these career decisions for even longer. And today, on the sixth anniversary of this blog, I am ready to share what I’ve been thinking about for so long – my plans for the future.

Over my eleven years of working in fundraising and marketing for nonprofits I have learned so much. I’ve learned about the joys and the challenges of working in nonprofits, that there is always work to be done, and that at the end of the day, the work changes lives.

I’ve also learned to key in on the elements of work that I enjoy and that I’m really good at.

  • I have eleven years of experience of working in various roles in development teams, and have a real knack for thinking about efficient operations. I know how to effectively manage direct mail appeals, put together major gifts programs, write and report on grants, put on a gala, or maintain a donor database.
  • I love thinking about how teams work and supervising staff. Empowering nonprofit staff to do their best work – while taking care of themselves and their needs – is a real passion of mine.
  • I love working in periods of change and transition – I like thinking on my feet and introducing new solutions to problems. And I have a knack for being a calming force during a time of chaos.
  • I’d like to work with a greater variety of nonprofits. Ever since I got my Masters in Nonprofit Administration, I’ve been craving the ability to use the breadth of knowledge I received with a wide range of organizations.
  • I want more flexibility with my time. I’ve realized that when I work constantly, I get in a zone and more quickly burn out, not doing my best work. I want a better balance so that I can do better work.

I’ve taken a lot of time to think about all of this, and had a bunch of informational interviews with people who have worked in development for a long time, and have landed on my next career move:

I’m looking to move into interim development director work.

I’ll help manage your development team, ensure your daily operations are taken care of and that money is raised, and even evaluate your current development program and make some recommendations. I’ll help during your search, help make a smooth transition to your permanent development director and then leave you to succeed.

With the constant state of turnover that many nonprofits find themselves in with this key position, I hope to fill a real need. Just because you’re between development directors doesn’t mean you have to put additional pressure on your current team or redirect someone else’s time. I can come in and help make sure everything runs smoothly.

My last full time day with my current employer is April 7. After some time off, I’ll be looking for jobs like this. If you hear of anyone who might need something like this, please think of me! I’ll be relying on my community of support – and that certainly includes you – to get me plugged in where I need to me. Many thanks in advance!!

-N.C.

Year Four of Nonprofit Chapin & Tough Conversations

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Today marks four years that I’ve had this blog and let me tell you, my third year was definitely my hardest so far. As you may remember, I received my Masters in Nonprofit Administration in December 2013, right before my blog turned three. I was inspired and ready to tackle some important issues about nonprofit sector effectiveness. And then… life happened. I got wrapped up in the day to day happenings of being a Donor Relations Manager at a very busy nonprofit and almost all of my thought about nonprofit efficiencies switched to wondering how I could stay sane at my job. Then… things clicked.

I realized that while I still had passion and interest in sector-wide issues, the issues I was dealing with on a daily basis weren’t as pretty, and were just as important (or even more important) to talk about. As nonprofit employees, we have a very unique set of challenges and issues to deal with. In years one and two of this blog, I focused more on posting about that. Year three, as I hoped to continue my journey into academia related to the nonprofit sector, unfortunately fell short. But I want to make a renewed commitment to come back to this blog and talk about the nitty gritty of handling yourself as a nonprofit employee. How can we all work hard, thrive, and still go home with some energy? I’m still learning myself, but I hope I can start some dialogue here to get us on the path to some shared ideas.

So, thanks for being patient with me. In year four I hope to tackle some important issues that we all deal with, and bring to light some not-so-pretty subjects. That’s the only way we’ll all get through this journey alive, and at the end of the day, we all hope we get out better than alive! We hope to get out thriving!

-N.C.

P.S. I updated my layout, headshot, About Me blurb, and About Me page – what do you think?

2 Years & 100 Posts

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Two things to celebrate today! I started this blog exactly two years today, and this is my 100th post.

No pressure or anything!

I just want to take a moment to reflect on the past two years, what it’s given me, and the role blogging has had in my life.

In the past two years, I was accepted to and started the Masters in Nonprofit Administration program at University of San Francisco. I moved from San Diego to the bay area to pursue this program and move back to where my family is. I have had two different jobs, and am thrilled to share that I am starting something new in the coming weeks! My new opportunity, while still in development, is at a higher level than I’ve worked before. I have a successful career, am learning like crazy in my Masters program, and continue to rock it in the nonprofit sector.

Blogging has so much to do with this. Through this blog, I have connected with thought leaders in the sector. When at networking events, people commonly recognize my name and ask “Chapin – are you Nonprofit Chapin?” I started this blog as a way for me to process my experience and thoughts about my experience in the sector. And while I still do that, and that will always be the core of this blog, a strong consequence of this has been that others have recognized and appreciate that I put my voice out there.

I am so grateful to all of you, my readers, for your participation in my experience, whether it be silent or spoken. Thank you!

-N.C.

The Secret to Marketing to Millennials – There Isn’t One

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I’m excited to share that I was asked by Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention!: Helping Nonprofits Succeed Through Successful Marketing to write a guest post for her blog. The post went up on Friday and you can read it here. Since she’s asked me to do a series of posts from the Millennial perspective, I wanted to set the stage that the Millennial generation cannot and should not be generalized. In the post, I list some of the reasons this is the case, and what to do about it.

Readers, I want to share with you that the only reason this happened is because Nancy, who is a well known and respected nonprofit marketing expert, came across my blog and enjoyed my voice. I am thrilled to be entering this partnership, as I know it will be phenomenal for my name recognition and my professional development. I again want to stress the organic nature of this arrangement and the fact that you can easily get there too – simply by starting a blog! I write about whatever I want, whenever I want, in my voice… and it’s been recognized! Very validating!

Happy reading!

-N.C.

Celebrating One Year of Blogging

I’m commemorating blogging for one year with a blog redesign! I’ve changed my photo, headline, About Me section, and design of the homepage! I’ve even changed my Twitter bio to go along with everything. Please let me know what you think!

What a good exercise this was. Now that it’s been a year, I understand better what I’m passionate about and what comes naturally when I’m thinking about blogging. It wasn’t until I put it into words that I’ve really understood what this blog has become.

Nonprofit Chapin is not just about my experience working in the nonprofit sector. It’s framing my experience in the context of stress management and other important things to incorporate into your life as a nonprofit staffer. It’s about creating personal and professional vision. It’s about getting your needs met, whether that be in the professional or personal sense. It’s about putting you first – something I’m working on as we go! These are the things I’ve felt compelled to write about, and this is what the blog has become.

When I started this blog, I wanted to make sure to write everything from my personal perspective. I didn’t want to pretend to be an expert in the nonprofit sector, in Gen-Y, in anything. I wanted to write from my heart and see what happens. And the product has been something beautiful: writing about the aspects of personal success that aren’t necessarily so prevalent in the workforce – happiness, peace, and love, for yourself and others. These are the things I’m working on for myself, so I’m happy to have you alongside with me.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you are continuing to enjoy this journey as much as I am!

-N.C.

31 Day Reset: Day 17 – No Facebook, Twitter or Blogging for 24 Hours

I’m participating in the 31 Days to Reset Your Life program at Happy Black Woman. The program is designed to help you evaluate your goals and priorities and think of them in the context of your life today and how you might be able to refocus on what’s important. Read on to learn about my experience with the challenge!

Well, well. Isn’t this challenge timely after Day 16’s response! The exercise is really to not watch TV for 24 hours, but since I don’t have TV, I translated this exercise to non-social media activity.

My first instinct was to cheat. I told my boyfriend and accountability partner that I was going to start my 24 hours on Friday at 5:00, even though it was Saturday at 11:00. Friday was our four year anniversary so I had spent all evening cooking and away from the computer, anyway. No way, he said. Do an actual day, from wake up to bedtime.

So, I didn’t Facebook, tweet, or blog all of Saturday. I did read some emails because some family stuff was happening but I didn’t respond to anything. One of the hardest things to ignore was that I had a blog comment that was waiting to be approved. I know how I feel when I’m on the other side of that situation, so I felt bad.

Overall, it wasn’t too bad. I often use these sites to fill empty gaps in time; I definitely wanted to check it when I was waiting for my mom and sister in the car. But overall I was fine.

I did cheat once. We watched a movie. But we had been sitting within it for two weeks and hadn’t had time until then to watch it! I justified it by saying it had a pre-determined set of time, so it wasn’t necessarily wasting time.

-N.C.