A Board Member’s Perspective on the Conference and Leaders Institute
This blog is a part of our monthly Board Member series.
With YNPN’s National Conference and Leaders Institute now a few weeks behind us (thank you, Portland!), chapter leaders are back to the important work of supporting the emerging nonprofit talent in their communities -- planning events, securing sponsorships, and recruiting new members to the YNPN family.
As some of these chapter leaders approach the end of their terms with local boards, they may also be tasked with passing along the wealth of information they’ve accumulated during their time with the chapter. In fact, an entire session at the conference was devoted to just this issue, titled “YNPN Long-Term Memory: Preserving Your Chapter’s Institutional Knowledge” and led by two expert leaders from our Chicago and Southern Nevada chapters.
In their session, they shared the nuts and bolts of making sure nothing falls through the cracks as chapter leadership changes (passwords, bank accounts, you know the drill), but also reminded the room that sometimes, for a chapter to evolve, some of the old ways of doing things need to be left behind.
YNPN’s national board struggles with a similar question as we map out strategies for finding and sharing our network’s national voice: how do we avoid re-inventing the wheel and build on our strengths as a network to reach the next level while letting go of some of the things that may be holding us back? What do we have to do in a new way to get from point A to point B?
"Five or more years from now, chapter leaders will have to be reminded of a time when there was no affiliation agreement, maybe asking how we ever got along without it, maybe asking to tweak it here and there to better fit the needs of a changing network, but always having faith in the chapter leaders that came before them and the spirit of that affiliation we’re making happen right now."
By the end of this year, each YNPN chapter will have signed an affiliation agreement that represents its serious commitment to realizing this network’s collective power, to going through the growing pains together, and to making the network stronger every step of the way. Five or more years from now, chapter leaders will have to be reminded of a time when there was no affiliation agreement, maybe asking how we ever got along without it, maybe asking to tweak it here and there to better fit the needs of a changing network, but always having faith in the chapter leaders that came before them and the spirit of that affiliation we’re making happen right now. Chances are, they’ll even be asking the exact same question that brought us to where we are today: “how can we make this great chapter, network and sector even better for the people who come after us?”.
Kari Mirkin is the Treasurer of the YNPN Board of Directors and co-founder of the YNPN Cleveland Chapter. She is a native of Youngstown, Ohio and lifelong history buff and museum junkie, has a passion for discovering innovative solutions to the challenges facing organizations that provide public access to education, the arts, and other historical and cultural assets. Read more about Kari's background here.