Three Reasons Why You Shouldn't Join YNPN



I am a lifelong Oklahoman – a fifth generation one to be exact. In 2014, I moved away from the nest for the first time after I finished OU’s MPA program to spend two years in Arkansas as an education policy analyst. During my time in Arkansas, I searched for community and connection culturally, professionally, and demographically by age. The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) was one of the places where I found that professional connection among my peers in the nonprofit sphere. That year, the Little Rock chapter hosted the national YNPN convention. The conference was an AMAZING chance to meet professionals from across the country, attend relevant workshops that strengthened my knowledge base, and meet the leaders responsible for furthering YNPN’s mission of building a diverse and powerful social sector. I bought into the values of YNPN and served on the Little Rock board for one year.

In 2016, I transitioned back to Oklahoma. I knew that I would miss my YNPN of Little Rock family. But the Oklahoma City chapter embraced me and grew the love that I already had for this organization based on my Little Rock experience. The OKC chapter is one of the largest in the country with close to 200 paid members and it specializes in building a space where rising public sector leaders can learn, grow, and connect with one another. Based on my experience over the past two years, here are reasons NOT to join YNPN of OKC:  

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Time Spent Volunteering is Time Well Spent

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Leo Rosten was an American humorist, writer, and specialist in Yiddish lexicography. I have no idea what “Yiddish lexicography” means, but he had a perspective on life that endears me. He viewed the purpose of life “to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all."

We are busy people. Time is a valuable resource, particularly for young professionals still figuring out all the opportunities in life. But there is a difference between being busy and being active with purpose.

Something happens when we recognize our time as a resource. When we strive to make the most of our lives, time is a resource that can be used for good. This is why I volunteer.

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Why You Should Be a Selfish Volunteer

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I’m a selfish volunteer.  When I think about bartering my most valuable commodities of time and skills, I don’t start from a place of generosity.  In fact, my first question is usually
what’s in it for me (WIFFM)?

Now this doesn’t mean that I’m not passionate about service or care about leaving the world a little better off than it was when I landed here.  But the reality is that after an overflowing week in a giving profession when I sometimes feel like I’m surrounded by no one but takers, extending more of myself like a little bit too much to ask.  Before I even ask the WIIFM question, I think about my carefully color-coded Outlook calendar where I’ve blocked and frequently re-arrange holds to remind myself to eat lunch. I think about my grad school deadlines and the homework I should be doing or reality show that holds the promise of relaxation in my future.  I haven’t regretted saying yes to volunteering, but there are a few no’s that got away.

I would be lying if I said that I haven’t benefited tremendously from my extracurricular activities as a habitual volunteer.  So here’s my “what I’ve gotten from volunteering list” in case you’re on the fence about applying to join a YNPN committee this year:  

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