By building strong networks of young nonprofit professionals, we hope to build even stronger communities. Nowhere is this more evident than in the results of the many Local Chapter Service Projects our members did this year. We loved hearing about how YNPNers are giving back to their communities and affecting positive change.
The Millennial Impact Report taught us that more millennials than ever look forward to group days of service. If your local chapter hasn't planned a service project for 2015 yet, it's never too late to start brainstorming! Here are just a few of the awesome examples of service projects we saw from our YNPN local chapters.
YNPN Austin has hosted a neighborhood litter clean up volunteer opportunity for members for the past four years. YNPN Chapter President Sarah Forbes wrote: "Members meet at a local cafe/bar, have a drink, then pick up trash in the neighborhood in partnership with local nonprofit org Keep Austin Beautiful. We make our way, cleaning up trash, to another restaurant/bar where we give out a prize to the member who cleaned up the "weirdest" piece of trash. The local bars provide us with drink discounts and we're working on ways to get the community more involved. The event is held during an art studio tour weekend called EAST so there are many people out and about, stopping to chat with us - it's a fun time to be providing a service like this. The drinking is optional of course!"
We love this tradition, and YNPN Austin has thought of some great ways to build relationships with local community and raise visibility.
YNPN San Diego hosted a blanket-making party. They supported a local organization, You Are Not Alone (YANA), by tying fleece blankets for comfort care packages for people living with cancer. You Are Not Alone (YANA) sends care packages all over the US to bring comfort, love, encouragement and warmth to people living with cancer, particularly while they are going through treatment.
Did your chapter host a service event this year?
We'd love to hear about it!
Each year YNPN supports the growth and learning of over 50,000 young professionals across the country. Our work, like many other nonprofit organizations, is made possible thanks to our funding partners whose contributions help to advance our efforts to create a more diverse and powerful sector.
This year we began working with two new funding partners: the Kresge Foundation & the Whitman Institute. We are so excited to begin our partnerships with Kresge and Whitman and to welcome them to the YNPN movement. We also deepened our relationships with the American Express Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, two long-term supporters of YNPN, and maintained close relationship with more recent additions to our list of supporters, Newman's Own Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Crosswicks Foundation.
To celebrate YNPN’s tenth anniversary, we launched an online fundraising campaign earlier this year. We are so thankful to all of our alumni, members, and friends who supported the campaign and helped us more than double our goal. The campaign and other outreach helped us increase the number of individual donors to YNPN to complement our foundation support.
As we reflect on 2014, we are so thankful for all of our funding partners. We appreciate the resources their support provides and we are honored by their commitment to helping advance our efforts to support the development of the next generation of leaders and the YNPN movement. Thank you all for believing in YNPN!
This year we celebrated our 10th anniversary as a network, and we can't wait to see what the next decade brings. To celebrate, we threw a huge campaign (#ynpn10), surpassed our fundraising goal (by double) and ate some cake!
Photographic proof that within every small child is a budding YNPN leader! Or at least we think so...
Check out our #ynpn10 campaign follow-up posts:
This year, we are especially thankful for you. Yes, you. Our YNPN members inspire us every day with their passion, energy and innovative ideas on how we can build a more powerful and diverse social sector. From planning leadership awards to networking power hours to panel discussions, you stepped up and took YNPN to new heights this year.
How has YNPN impacted your life this year?
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Special thanks to YNPN Grand Rapids, YNPN Triangle NC, YNPN Chicago, YNPN San Diego, and YNPN Austin for the photos!
On the 5th day of #12daysofYNPN, we are thankful for our five, extraordinary board members who rolled off this year. This year, five of our stellar board members rolled off to continue tackling their ambitions and transforming the social sector with their own talents and skillsets. We are so grateful for the time they spent serving YNPN in these critical, formative years: helping us establish a sense of identity, direction and purpose that will truly enable us to build a diverse and empowered social sector. They have brainstromed with us, fundrasied with us and encouraged us throughout the way.
When we think of you leaving, we look like this:
Because we'll miss you so, so much... but we're also Lorde-esque proud of you and know you're about to go create awesome change in the sector and keep serving!
Thank you, Lydia McCoy, Justin Keller, Darrell Scott, Cat Beltmann, and Stephanie Lin Miller!
The following guest blog was written by YNPN National Board Member, Jessie Bustamante. Thank you, Jesse, for sharing your lessons learned from the American Express Leadership Academy and how you're utilizing them months after the Academy wrapped up!
How often do you get to spend nearly 5 days solely focused on your own leadership development? Hmmm… probably never, right?
I was extremely honored to be one of eight YNPN Chapter Leaders across the country selected to participate in the American Express Leadership Academy at the end of October, 2014. If I tell you it was life-changing it’d be a lie because it was so much more than that and it’s hard to put into words how grateful I am for having this opportunity because of the YNPN network and the value that our partners, such as American Express, can see.
We spent one full week diving into various assessments, tons of lessons about feedback, team-building, conflict resolution, the list goes on & on!
Leadership assessments we completed:
- 360-degree assessment - a method of systematically collecting opinions about an individual's performance from a wide range of coworkers. This could include peers, direct reports, the boss, the boss's peers — along with people outside the organization.
- Myers-Briggs – personality inventory
- Change Style Indicator® - measures individual style in approaching change and situations involving change
- FIRO-B - a unique instrument that doesn’t actually “measure” anything. Instead, it provides a score that is used to estimate how comfortable an individual is with a specific behavior which includes Inclusion, Control & Affection(expressed vs. wanted behavior)
To give you an idea of my takeaways, here is the recap I sent my team:
“… I spent 5 days last week diving deep into my strengths and potential areas of “derailment” in my career.
The biggest take away I have is the self-awareness of how I can be the best leader possible and ensuring that I am effectively working with all of you to support your individual endeavors.
An area that I hope to make some changes are around incorporating regular feedback in meetings, conversations, etc. and providing more opportunities for growth for those in our office.
I am hoping you can help me by being open and honest when I ask for feedback so that I can be a more effective leader. This process will be ongoing and you will receive another brief survey in the next few months to see if you have seen any changes in my leadership behaviors.”
Just as I mentioned above, the goal after all of these assessments were layered on top of one another were to be self-aware. Self-aware of the fact that we all have strengths, but we all have “opportunities for derailment” as well. The only way we can be the best leader possible is to be aware of these & find ways that will help us navigate through the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly.
From here it’s up to us to put our new knowledge into practice be being aware of who we are and ensuring that we are leading environments that are effective, positive and supportive for all. For myself I learned that building and supporting my team was very important to my position and could use more of my time.
Therefore I have started using more solution-based questions and coaching questions to ensure that I am asking for the feedback I need from my team members and ensuring that they are given the chance to truly express themselves. I have been very open with those around me to let them know that I am listening to the feedback I received (specifically from the 360-degree assessment) and trying some new things to continue improving myself and how our team functions.
The Leadership Academy was just a continuation of my leadership journey, but definitely one of the highest points of my career. So next year when you see this opportunity come across your e-mail, be sure to take advantage of this and you’ll understand why I am on such a “high” right now.
Thank you, American Express & YNPN, for making this a reality for me.
Jessie Bustamante is the Executive Director for the American Lung Association in California – San Diego. She is an active YNPN National and YNPN San Diego Board Member because she knows the value of the YNPN movement and has enjoyed watching its growth over the past four years, but is more excited to see what the next 44 bring! Jessie is originally from Chicago before moved to Arizona where she completed her undergraduate and graduate studies and now resides in San Diego where she’s been for two years with her husband, Luis, and their Australian Shepherd, Cujo. If you’re looking for Jessie beware that she is training for a full marathon in May 2015 so you may be running to catch up with her… literally.
Connect with Jessie: Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / LinkedIn
The YNPN Launchpad Fellows program was developed as a way for talented folks who are interested in building their skills and experience in a very specific area to lend their time and talents to a fast-growing, dynamic organization. It allows us to provide professional development experience, while growing our internal capacity at the same time. This year, we were thrilled to welcome a truly talented and special group of Launchpad Fellows.
From planning conferences, to building up the leaders site, to helping raise funds, our Launchpad Fellows have already made a lasting impression on YNPN. We can't wait for the next eight months with them!
Get to know the team with our Launchpad Fellow bios!
Earlier this week, we shared the results of our #ynpn10 fundraiser, celebrating our first decade as a network and preparing for the decade to come. Today, our leadership team was kind enough to share some of the process behind the campaign and lessons learned. Their answers shed light on how to: attract millennial donors, deal with unexpected changes in plan and motivate change through powerful messaging.
1. Do you feel like you learned anything new about millennial donors as a result of this campaign? If so, what?
While many of our donors were millennials, we were actually really proud of the age diversity among those who supported the campaign. In addition to the members and chapter leaders that supported the campaign (who fall solidly in the millennial age bracket), we also had YNPN alumni (more of the Gen X crowd) and the parents and family members of YNPN members who supported the campaign. It was really great to see people of all generations recognizing the value of supporting emerging leaders.
I did notice, however, that our younger supporters were more likely to share that they supported our campaign and encourage others to support the campaign via social media. We suspected that might be the case, which is why it was really important to us that we chose a platform that made social sharing really easy and accessible. We ended up using Fundly, which was a dream to work with and which looked a lot like Kickstarter, something we thought would be familiar and accessible to a lot of donors, particularly millennials.
2. What aspects of the campaign do you think resonated with donors and elicited such a strong response? Was it the message, the communication method, or something else?
I think it was a combination of things. First, I think people were intrigued by our ambitious goal. “Really? You’re going to try to raise $10,000 in 10 days? Ok, I have to see this.”
We found that people were really energized by match days. This is one of the main reasons that our campaign was such a success. People are really motivated by that beat-the-clock element and I think also really enjoyed feeling like their money was having twice the impact.
I also think having a genuine milestone--a 10 year anniversary--gave people a strong reason to pay attention. We wanted to make sure that people were aware of what we’d accomplished in the last ten years and how we planned to continue to build on that success. We also have very specific things that we’re working on over the next year, like launching a national database, that gave people some concrete ways in which we’re investing in our network that they can join us in.
3. What is something that didn't work as planned with this campaign, and what lessons did you take from that?
Well, it’s funny that you ask. We actually thought for several weeks that a big celebrity (I mean, a household name) was going to be able to record a video for our campaign through a personal connection we had. But it was getting down to the wire in terms of planning out the content for all 10 days and whether or not we had this celebrity’s video was going to affect the order of the entire content slate.
So we ended up planning two content slates: one with (celebrity) and one without.
The celebrity connection fell through, but our content and the campaign went so smoothly because of that advance planning. It was a great lesson in the importance of doing all of the work upfront and preparing for a variety of scenarios.
4. In planning the campaign, did you draw inspiration or ideas from previous campaigns or other organizations?
Yes! We were in the midst of planning the campaign when Trish went to the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT) conference in Baltimore. Before that conference we had been planning a pretty traditional campaign--a couple of emails spread out over 4-6 weeks with folks making individual appeals at the same time.
While at the conference, Trish heard a presentation from the Progressive Technology Project of Austin, Texas on a couple of sprint campaigns they had recently consulted on. Trish emailed us from the conference saying, “Ok, I know this isn’t what we were planning, but hear me out…” When the rest of us on the planning committee heard the idea of doing a shorter, sprint campaign that would tie the 10 year anniversary to raising $10,000 in 10 days, we thought it was a great idea. We knew it would mean a lot more work upfront, but we loved the thought of how a sprint campaign could energize people.
5. Did YNPN's national reach and relatively young status (operating less than 15 years) negatively or positively impact the campaign elements? What lessons can be learned from organizations with similar operating characteristics?
I think our national reach only helped us. We’re really fortunate (for many reasons) to have a fantastic network of chapters and chapter leaders who believe in the value of what YNPN does because they experience it every day. Nearly 20% of our donations were from chapter leaders and we had at least one person donate from 22 of our 40 chapters. Several of our chapters donated to the campaign as an organization.
Even though we’re relatively young, we’ve served tens of thousands of young nonprofit professionals and many of those alumni still continue to support YNPN even as they’ve “outgrown” the network. More than 50% of our original $10,000 goal was raised from alumni of our National Board. I think similar network organizations and organizations that offer powerful experiences would agree that maintaining strong relationships with alumni can be a very effective fundraising strategy. I feel like “alumni engagement” is very hot right now and our experience on this campaign shows that there’s an obvious financial reason why it’s important.
But we also feel strongly that it’s important because the young nonprofit professionals of today are the executive directors, board chairs, and funders of tomorrow. One of our hopes is that as members move on from our network and the designation of “young nonprofit professional,” they don’t lose sight of the importance of developing the emerging leaders they work with. A campaign like this can be a reminder as to the benefits they gained from the network and the great experience they had as a YNPN member and leader.
Thank you to all who so kindly donated, and helped us surpass our goal. You are the reason we can create a powerful and diverse social sector, and we can't wait to see where the next 10 years take us.
In the final week of our #ynpngiving conversation, we wanted to provide a two-part summary of our #ynpn10 campaign. We are so grateful to the many individuals, local chapters, and National Board volunteers who championed our cause and made this possible. We designed the campaign around the number 10 -- attempting to raise $10,000 in 10 days to celebrate 10 years.
We had a couple of goals for the campaign: First, we wanted to celebrate a milestone birthday. Ten years as a national network is a big deal! We wanted to let people know that we were proud to have finished our first decade and excited about what was ahead for our second.
We were specifically raising money for the infrastructure that’s going to power that next decade of our work. Over the last three years, the number of YNPN chapters has grown by 60%! This year YNPN is making a big investment in people, data systems, and resources that are going to take our work to the next level.
What will the funds raised be used for?
YNPN is at a turning point in our development as a network. Over the last ten years, and particularly over the last three, we’ve experienced exponential growth. It’s clear that there’s a real demand for the services, resources, and connections that YNPN provides.
We want to make sure that we have the capacity to meet that demand, so this year we’re focusing on adding the resources and infrastructure that will keep our network sustainable. In 2014, we increased our staff from one person to three staff members. We’re also investing in a database that will be used by all of our chapters across the network. And we’re making a big investment in upgrading the services and support that we offer our local chapters.
We’re so excited about what these projects are going to enable us to do. We want to thank everyone who supported the campaign and we’re looking forward to continuing to build a diverse and powerful nonprofit sector for the next ten years and beyond!
On Thursday, we'll be sharing #ynpn10 Campaign Summary, Part 2: Lessons Learned. Stay tuned!
In our #ynpngiving conversation starter, we've been asking you lots of questions about where you give, why you give, and how you give. When we saw this year's Millennial Impact Report, we couldn't wait to dig in and see how your feedback compared to a larger survey sample. This year, the Millennial Impact Report specifically looked at millennials and corporate cause work -- how important was a philanthropic culture in the workplace? What type of philanthropic culture best motivates and engages millennial employees?
Here are our five takeaways from the report (and some sweet inforgraphics):
1. Millennials continue to factor in a company's cause work in job decisions. Even if they haven't given or volunteered in the past year, 27% of millennials still reported they were interested in a company's cause work during their job search. This number increased in relation to number of hours volunteered in the past month.
2. Millennials prefer volunteering in groups, while using individual talents and skill-sets to help others. This would explain the popularity of larger service projects for companies which utilize a diverse skill-set -- such as a Habitat for Humanity house build. Millennials are an extremely social generation, but they also see volunteering as a way to grow their own skill-set.
3. The longer a millennial is at the organization, the more likely they are to choose donating money over donating time to a company cause.
4. Company-wide service days aren't dead. According to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report, 81% of millennials who have been with a company for five or more years still value a company-wide day of service. This number increases among newer employees.
5. Millennials like a three-pronged approach to corporate cause volunteering: company-wide, department-specific, and individual. This was surprising to me, because 'sabbaticals' tend to invoke images of stiff professors and dusty research libraries. But a volunteering sabbatical? That's something I can get behind. What a refreshing idea -- exposing individual employees to diversity, ideas and processes which will allow them to come back as a more inspired, connected worker.
Sometimes, I think nonprofit companies forget their millennial employees are still looking for these things too: company-wide service days and hands on volunteering. As young nonprofit professionals, we can get so caught up in facilitating and providing the volunteering or giving experience for others that we lose track of making our own group (or individual) volunteering a priority. When working for a nonprofit, how can we make sure that we don't lose sight of that volunteer spirit in the midst of work ethic? Personally, this report was a wake up call that no matter how much I work for a nonprofit, those work hours can't replace my own volunteer hours -- while both are valuable, they meet a different need of my individual spirit. Maybe, even, nonprofit organizations need to pick a company cause that is outside their current mission or cause that they volunteer for yearly -- a way to engage staff in a new capacity as individuals, and reconnect with the interconnectedness of the sector. While this type of concerted volunteer effort of employees outside of a nonprofit's given mission or cause seems irrational, it could also spark new connections and innovations within the sector.
Do you disagree? What has been your most fulfilling company volunteering/giving experience?