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I’m On a Podcast!

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I’m very excited to share that I was recently interviewed as a guest on a podcast about social entrepreneurship! Check out the recording here. I had a great time chatting with Nathan about fundraising, the nonprofit sector, and other career hacks on his show, Social Entrepreneur with Nathan A. Webster.

Being on the podcast was a wonderful experience because it allowed me to reflect on some of the key moments of my life that have led me to where I am today. I got to share about how my mom shaped my approach to helping others. I talked about my experience interning at San Diego Grantmakers when I was in college, which opened my eyes to the path of fundraising for nonprofits. And I got to share the importance of one on one networking for long term success – that’s been such a huge part of my journey!

In addition to chatting about my path, it was fun to share tips I’ve learned along the way (resources I tap into and how I achieve my goals), my tendency according to Gretchen Rubin (I’m an obliger!), and even my love of The Real Housewives.

Take a listen and please share with anyone you think might benefit from what we chat about!

-N.C.

Make 2017 the Year of Self Care

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We’re one month into the new year – have your resolutions gone to the wayside? Are you back in the rut of crazy, stressful days working away, with no time to think or take a breath?

I thought that might be the case!

And so, I wanted to remind you all of this brilliant piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy: 10 Ways to Work Smarter in 2017 by Rebecca Koenig. Note the apropos use of the word smarter as opposed to harder. This piece has strategy and self-care all over it: two of my favorite words.

You should take the time to read about all ten ways, but here are some of my favorites and why:

  • Reserve time to work without meetings. I use time blocking in my calendar and it is the only way I stay organized and productive! I put most of the projects I’m working on as “Free” time in Outlook, but if there’s something you need to work on with no interruptions, you can always say you’re busy. A meeting with yourself is just as important (if not more) than a meeting with others.
  • Stop overusing social media at work. Can I shout this one from the rooftops? I’m definitely one to pop on all my social media channels during my lunch break, but if it’s not break time, it’s not Snapchat time. It’s easy to spend hours on Facebook, so don’t tempt yourself and don’t do it!
  • Build strong relationships outside of your office. Spending time with other people who work in the nonprofit world but not at your organization can be incredibly rejuvenating. It can make you feel like you’re not alone in your struggles, or make you realize how wrong something is. Either way, it’s a success. And it is very validating!
  • Accept imperfection. Made a mistake? Don’t beat yourself up about it. The more you stress over it, the more it creeps into the quality of your work. Mistakes are what make the successes even that much sweeter.

Brava, Rebecca Koenig. And here’s to a 2017 full of self-love!

-N.C.

Redefining Purpose-Oriented in the Nonprofit Sector

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I came across this fascinating post in The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Why Nonprofits Need to Give Workers a Sense of Purpose and thought, as many others likely did, what the heck? What’s more full of purpose than showing up to work and having every task, even the most menial, work toward a larger goal of helping others?

I read the piece and realized: this is a different kind of purpose. And I’m totally for it.

The author defines a purpose-oriented worker as the following:

“This group defines work as being about relationships, having a meaningful impact, and personal growth. They see work as a means to serve others and grow themselves. They need to get paid and be acknowledged, but that’s not what gets them out of bed each morning.”

Pay close attention to the inclusion of self-growth in this definition: that’s what is often missing in others, and that is what is a key takeaway here.

The author writes that 45% of all nonprofit workers land in this category, and they are exceptional. We should do all we can to encourage this attitude: one of personal growth and employee fulfillment. This is the way to attract and retain good employees, not just by giving raises across the board (although that helps too!). Investing in our people is the most important thing we can do as nonprofit leaders to ensure the success of the nonprofits of the future.

I encourage you to take a look at the piece – it’s a great read and a good reminder that no matter what sector we work in, taking care of ourselves is the most important thing.

-N.C.

Keeping Open Communication about the Good and the Bad

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Last month in the Opinion section of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, two sector leaders wrote a brilliant piece: Keeping Quiet About Wrongdoing at Nonprofits Only Makes Matters Worse. The authors describe how nonprofit executives shy away from constructive criticism and healthy evaluation of wrongdoing in their organizations, and the reasons this has a negative impact on the sector.

Nonprofit organizations, just like any other organization, need to be consistently evaluating their operations and ensuring things are not only legal, but well-running. Nonprofits are essentially funded by the general public, and therefore have a responsibility to spend money in a fiscally prudent way. The leaders of these organizations have a responsibility to make sure this is happening.

Instead of shying away from wrongdoings, they should face them head on and talk about them publically. Being critical of ourselves in the nonprofit sector can only improve our position and respectability amongst our peers in the other sectors. If we don’t hold ourselves to a high standard, who will?

-N.C.

 

Our Increasing Voice in the Nonprofit Sector

The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently published a list of 10 nonprofits to watch in 2012. While they are all great groups that I encourage you to read about, I want to call special attention to number 10 – Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN). If you’ve never heard of YNPN and you’re involved the nonprofit sector, you need to look them up (You can find their national information here and if you’re in the bay area, the local chapter’s website is here). YNPN provides training, resources, networking, and more. It’s traditionally been completely volunteer run and it’s free to be on their incredibly helpful listserv which has a plethora of job openings, local events, and advice. Whenever people tell me they’re interested in finding a job in the sector, that’s the first place I point them to.

As the article notes, YNPN has hired its first full-time employee in its fifteen year life. This is huge. Going from an all volunteer run agency to hiring staff is one of the biggest jumps a nonprofit can take. It’s truly a testament to the need for the work the group is doing – there really is a ton of possibility for the group – for advocacy, to enhance educational opportunities, to expand other resources… and the list goes on and on.

This is an exciting moment for us Millenials. The value of our voice in the nonprofit sector is continuing to increase and it’s gotten so big that we’re moving forward in a big way. The article eludes to her next steps, and I’m very excited to see where she and the agency go. Because the sky’s the limit when it comes to the young voice in the nonprofit sector.

-N.C.