by Emily Reed and Carrie Sauer
We’ve got BIG news! Times two! But to put it in context, first a little history...
By being a member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Oklahoma City, you’re actually a part of a much larger organization: the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network nationwide. YNPN as an idea came about in 1997 in San Francisco, and the national YNPN officially incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 2004. There are now over 50 chapters and start-up-level affiliates across the nation, Oklahoma City being one of the newer ones. We held our first event in March 2013 and were recognized as an official chapter just six months later in September.
Big News Part 1
On July 1 of last year, the IRS rolled out a new, simplified form for small non-profits like us to apply for 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, the Form 1023-EZ. Establishing a paid membership program allowed us to save for the user fee and submit this new Form, which was approved less than a week after submission!Read more
There are so many wonderful ways to connect with other nonprofit professionals in the OKC area. We at YNPN of OKC hope to serve a very specific group of nonprofit professionals – those with 10 years or less experience in the field.
This includes people who are just graduating college and starting their first career, or people making the switch from another sector to the nonprofit sector after a previous career in another industry.
So to be clear—your AGE isn’t particularly important! “Young” simply refers to the amount of time you’ve been in your nonprofit career. So if you’ve been in the workforce for 30 years, but only started working in the nonprofit sector 3 years ago, then YNPN of OKC is just for you!
Young Nonprofit Professionals Network is actually a national organization with 42 local chapters (including startup chapters which are still going through the official YNPN chapter approval process) throughout the United States. Between the national network and our local OKC chapter, there are lots of benefits of getting involved.
- Building your personal network with fellow young nonprofit professionals: Besides meeting new folks at YNPN of OKC events, getting involved with a YNPN chapter gives you connections with other YNPN chapters as well. If you were to move to another city with a YNPN chapter, the YNPN of OKC National Liaison could connect you with people on the board of the YNPN chapter of the city you’re moving to, and they could connect you with people in your particular area or sector of the nonprofit world. With your YNPN connections, you could have a network before you even unpack your first box!
Connecting with nonprofit professionals around the country: If you’re not moving anytime soon but would like to establish relationships with young nonprofit professionals around the country, there are many opportunities at different levels of involvement with YNPN:
- Join a discussion on the YNPN LinkedIn group.
- You can join a YNPN of OKC committee or the board, which provides opportunities to interact with other chapter leaders around the country through conference calls and email discussions.
- You can attend the YNPN National Conference. Just let a YNPN of OKC Board Member know if you’re attending so we can coordinate what sessions to attend/travel accommodations.
- Experience and education at a low cost (usually free!): When you’re just starting a new career, it’s often difficult to find ways to gather experience in areas outside your day-to-day job. At YNPN of OKC, we hope to provide volunteer opportunities on committees and on our board so you can learn something new. Want to try fundraising but you’re a programming manager at your nonprofit? Come volunteer with us!
It’s our goal to provide low cost (if not free) workshops after work in a variety of areas so that you can either learn more about your area of work or explore other areas in the nonprofit field.
The best part about YNPN of OKC is that while we try to provide something for all young nonprofit professionals in the area, we are constantly growing and changing. If there is an event or workshop or service you think that we could provide that we don’t currently, we want to hear from you! If you have any ideas or questions for our National Liaison about opportunities to connect with other people around the country, send us a note through our contact page.
The most common question I have received when I tell people I am passionate about social media is: “Do I need to have a personal AND professional profile?” As in, “Do I need to have a personal profile that posts recipes and a professional profile that only posts fundraising information?” This is most commonly asked of me in regards to Twitter, but can apply to almost any social media platform.
I say only one profile is necessary, and I have three reasons why below. These reasons are assuming 3 things:
That you’re following the basic guidelines and norms of each social media platform– never post pictures of your puppy on LinkedIn, and if you post nothing but professional news on your Facebook, your friends and family will more than likely hide your posts, etc.
Second, that you are following the number one rule of social media: to engage in conversation. If you’re just throwing information out onto the interwebs to have your words out there, much of this post will make no sense.
And third, that you are using common sense on social media. Never post anything that you would not want your grandmother or your boss to see.
So here are my 3 reasons to have both personal and professional information on your social media profiles.
Reason #1: It makes you more likable.This goes back to the basic “social” rules of “social networking.” Who’s more likable: the person who seems to do nothing but work all the time, or the person who has interesting stories to tell of their travels, hobbies, family, or friends? The same applies to social media. People are more likely to engage with you on social media if you’re posting on a variety of topics.
Reason #2: It makes you seem human.We’ve all had these moments: you’re waiting with your boss for an important meeting to begin and in the meantime you’re making small talk. Suddenly, your boss reveals that last night she went to the AC/DC tribute concert, and you see her in a completely different light from the woman you had just seconds ago imagined to be chained to her desk 24/7. Now you are less afraid to approach her about that new project you’ve been dreaming of.
The same thing applies to social media. Check out the Twitter account of Senator Cory Booker. He is a super important person with lots at risk with his public image – yet he has a Twitter account with the perfect mix of professional and personal content that makes him seem more approachable by his constituents.
Reason #3: It’s more fun!Conferences are getting better and better at engaging hashtags on Twitter and Instagram to allow attendees to connect. Picture this: you’re at a conference, and you have just heard the keynote speaker, who is the visionary leader of your area within the nonprofit sector. She is open to speaking with attendees after her presentation, so you make your way to the stage. You have read this speaker’s book, her blog, you have Google alerts set up for their name so that you can read their articles as soon as they’re published. You really want to make a good impression on this person, and not by just asking a thoughtful question.
You get to the front, you shake hands with the visionary, and instead of some boring old question about the changes in your field, you ask, “So how is your dog doing? I saw on Twitter last week that you had to take him to the vet. I have a dog with health problems, too.”
Ta da! You just connected with this visionary leader on an entirely different level than probably anyone else who is meeting that leader for the first time today. You were able to do this because the leader had a well-rounded social media presence. If the leader had ONLY posted her articles to her Twitter and nothing else, you would have had no conversation to base your first #irl (in real life) meeting.
While you used this tactic to connect with this visionary leader, think about how many more people can connect with YOU if you have a more well-rounded social media presence.
The bottom line is that I think you are completely defeating the purpose of social media if you keep your professional and personal profiles separate. You’re curbing the possibility for real conversations with people, both in the nonprofit sector and beyond.
I’d love your opinion on this topic. Leave us a comment below!