Give It a Go!

by Bevan Graybill Professional Development Chair photos courtesy of YNPN National

Every year, a chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network hosts the National Conference. This summer, YNPN Twin Cities hosted the 3-day event, and I represented YNPN of OKC in Minneapolis. It was an amazing opportunity to meet other YNPN chapter leaders, learn what other chapters are doing, and explore a new city.

I also got to try my hand at teaching during the 2014 National Conference. With the encouragement and support of the other board members, I submitted a proposal to lead the workshop “To Be or Not to Be…a 501(c)(3)?” A YNPN Grand Rapids board member (and fellow attorney) and I ended up collaborating.



Our workshop discussed what YNPN chapters need to consider before applying for a tax-exempt status, the responsibilities that come along with the IRS designation, and what the application process looks like. (On a side note: The board of directors of YNPN of OKC recently decided to begin the application process to become a 501(c)(3). We’ll keep you updated!) All in all, our workshop was a hit. There will be an encore presentation of “To Be or Not to Be…a 501(c)(3)” during the YNPN Program Xchange August 7th.
The Conference reminded me of the Five Pillars of Leadership Development followed by National YNPN:

  • Access to training for specific skills and competencies
  • Space to exercise those skills
  • Access to networks
  • Individual coaching and support
  • Space for reflection and building emotional intelligence


The second pillar really stuck out to me: space to exercise your skills. Being a part of YNPN of OKC has given me the space to exercise my skills. Prior to the National Conference, I had never given a presentation on forming a 501(c)(3). Prior to YNPN of OKC deciding to incorporate and pursue its 501(c)(3) status, I had never started a nonprofit or filed an application for tax-exemption.
Sure, I have the educational credentials and I had discussed some of the tax and legal issues with members of the board in OKC, but I discounted my talents and expertise.

The take-away is this: every member of YNPN can teach something to another member, and every member of YNPN can learn something from another member. Next time the Professional Development Committee is planning an event, we aren’t going to hire some expensive, expert consultant to speak to our group. We are going to look to our very own membership for a subject-matter expert. Not me, you say? Don’t discount your talents and expertise. Give it a go!

If you have a skill and you would like a space to exercise that skill, contact YNPN of OKC. We have 4-5 professional development events during the year. Members have expressed interest in programs related to fundraising, what specific nonprofit organizations do, touring nonprofit organizations, professional writing, volunteer recruitment and management, and grant writing.

SAVE THE DATE! Young Nonprofit Professionals Network 2015 National Conference will be August 6-8, 2015 at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Arkansas. Road trip—yeah!