YNPN Atlanta Night at the Alliance Theatre

Holidays with The ChalksThe Alliance Theatre is offering a YNPN Atlanta discount for their upcoming show Holidays with The Chalks!  Tuesday, December 4 will be YNPN Atlanta night, and we’re encouraging our members to have fun at this rowdy new show from the Alliance Theatre.  Just go online, call the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at 404.733.5000, or stop by in person and use promo code CHALKS15 to get 15% off your ticket.
The Hertz Stage will be decidedly transformed into a classic honky tonk for The Chalks, an all-sister Country and Western band permanently down on their luck at the local dive. Never able to live up to their own talent, they travel the country at the mercy of their sister-/wife-swapping manager. Spend an evening with their music, their stories, their really big hair – you might even find yourself a part of the show.

3 Ways to Strategically Highlight Your Volunteer Experiences

At last night's Strategic Volunteering Networking Hour, we enjoyed a fantastic workshop with Girls Incorporated of Greater Atlanta CEO Heather Rocker.  She shared her ingenious tips for how to take your career to the next level through volunteerism.  Check out this article Heather wrote on the subject for Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine.
Now that you have insight into how to use volunteering to jumpstart your professional development, we'd like to share ideas about how to strategically highlight your experiences to help further your career.
Remember back in high school when your teachers and parents would put the pressure on you to volunteer? Reasons included making sure your resume looked more appealing as a prospective applicant to higher education institutions and helping you gain experience and skills that you may not have learned from school. Volunteering and its personal and community benefits are just as important now as back then, and now as you’re looking to apply for jobs in the real world, it’s never been more vital to continue volunteering and highlighting the skills you’ve gained from those experiences.
The economy and current job market have given us the chance to be creative and resourceful in how we gain relevant professional experience. When we volunteer with an organization, especially if we’ve become long-term volunteers or board members, we gain a host of skills and knowledge that could benefit our career in the nonprofit sector. Here are three ways you can highlight the skills you acquire through volunteering:
• List relevant volunteer experiences on your resume.
Resumes aren’t just for highlighting your previous paid jobs and internships. If you had a significant volunteer experience that’s relevant to the focus area of the organization you’re applying to, or held a volunteer position that utilized the skills outlined in a job posting, put the experience on your resume. Employers will notice the position and be more intrigued by the experiences you’ve been immersed in outside of your typical work life.
• Share a volunteer experiences during a job interview.
On a similar note, be ready to talk about the volunteer experience should an employer ask about it during your job interview. It’s always good to have specific professional experiences and examples in mind when you’re about to go into an interview, so think of some relevant volunteer experiences that you could share with a prospective employer. For example, share what you learned in problem solving and leadership while serving on a local nonprofit board or how you have experience in project management and partnership building as a long-term volunteer leader.
• Highlight your volunteer experiences on LinkedIn.
In the past year, LinkedIn has begun to recognize volunteer skills as relevant work experience on users’ personal profiles, and many recruiters are going onto LinkedIn to headhunt prospective applicants. It’s important that you list your volunteer skills and the causes and organizations you support. LinkedIn is also a great place to have visible recommendations from leaders in the organizations you’ve served with and have others endorse the professional skills you possess.
What are some other ways that you’ve highlighted your volunteer experiences? Please leave a comment to share!

Nonprofit Tools & Technology - November

We plan to post several online tools each month that we think would be of great use to any nonprofit organization.  These tools will cover a broad range of uses - from managing social media campaigns to collecting online donations.  Many were not developed exclusively for nonprofits, but all will be selected based on their usefulness, ease of use and cost (most, if not all will have a free version...).  We realize there are many tools out there and will do our part to help break through the clutter!

Animoto - Create stunning videos from your photos, video clips, and music
Overview: Animoto is an easy-to-use video creation tool that brings your content to life.  Just upload all your content, choose a theme and music, select which items you want highlighted, add any text that you want, and let Animoto do the rest!  The best part is that you do not need any software, video editing skills, or a significant amount of time/money.
Cost: Plans range from free (unlimited 30 second videos) to $20 per month for longer/HD movies. Nonprofits can also apply for free upgrades. View all plans and pricing.
Potential Uses:  Video annual reports, marketing/fundraising videos, event recap slideshows
CrowdSPRING - Crowdsource your logo and graphic design
Overview: CrowdSPRING is an online marketplace for design services.
No need to worry if your organization does not have a robust marketing department, marketing budget, or patience to go through lengthy branding exercises.  Once you’ve decided on your project (e.g., logo design, brochure), you post a description of what you want, a prize amount and a deadline.  Most projects receive more than 100 submissions, and you can rate and provide feedback to all of the designers up until your deadline.
Cost: You name the price and can browse around to get an idea of what is reasonable for your project. Most projects have prizes of at least $300.
Potential Uses: Logos, brochures, advertisements, small websites
VolunteerSpot - Easily manage volunteer scheduling
Overview: VolunteerSpot is an online tool used to schedule, coordinate and manage volunteers. Features include easy-to-create sign up sheets and calendars as well as messaging and automatic reminders.  VolunteerSpot has also partnered with WePay to allow users to collect donations and payments.  There are a lot of costly and less robust volunteer management tools out there, but VolunteerSpot is a great option in terms of functionality and price.
Cost: The free service is quite robust, but VolunteerSpot does offer paid monthly subscriptions starting at $4.99 that include additional customizable form fields and administrator roles. View all plans and pricing.
Potential Uses: Volunteer recruitment/scheduling, service projects, event shift coordinating, parent teacher conferences, and even charity potluck dinners!

The Value of Mentorship a resounding success!

This past Monday, YNPN Atlanta hosted The Value of Mentorship – an event that both kicked off this year’s inaugural Mentorship Program and featured guest speaker Patricia M. Falotico, Vice President, Global Sales Center Transformation, IBM.
The evening began with our mentors and mentees meeting and greeting while enjoying refreshments and drinks in the Woodruff Arts Center’s Circle Room. Once all of our guests had arrived, our Board Chair Lindsey Hardegree welcomed the group and offered a quick orientation for the Mentorship Program. All attendees were provided with a program featuring bios for all of our mentors and a copy of “Mentoring Millennials,” an article published by the Harvard Business Review that offers insight into the best ways to deliver beneficial feedback to this growing demographic.
After orientation, our mentors and mentees all took a few minutes to chat and get to know one another. It was so rewarding to see them making that first connection, and it really made me so excited to see how their relationships will grow over the next year!
Special guest Caroline Tanner from the Alliance Theatre next said a few words about an exciting event series the theatre has coming up for young professionals – Play After Work. With happy hour and a show, it would be a great way to spend an evening – or meet up for a little socializing with a mentor!
Our guest speaker Pat Falotico joined the group next to offer advice for how to make the most of a mentoring relationship.
Pat spoke with us about her own experiences as both a mentor and mentee and shared anecdotes about those relationships that thrived – and those that unfortunately did not. She compared the beginning of a mentoring relationship to dating – you’re feeling the other person out to see if he or she is a good fit. That analogy really struck a chord with me. A mentoring relationship is like any relationship – it’s all about how much time and effort you put into it and about how you “click.” It’s also about making sure each person’s goals are clear from the beginning. In her own experience, Pat said that clear expectations were crucially important to making sure a mentoring relationship was a successful one. Her advice to the group was to make sure both mentee and mentor know from the start what they hope to gain from the relationship. Set goals. Come up with a meeting and/or touch base schedule that works best. And if it’s not working out, remember that dating analogy, and play the field a little more!
After her remarks, Pat took questions from the audience and asked the group to share their own experiences as mentors and mentees. A few members of the group shared that their most successful mentoring relationships evolved into friendships, which reinforced Pat’s point that a personal connection can be just as important as a professional one.
We are so thankful to Pat for joining us for the event - and for her candidness and insightful advice. I think all of our attendees left the event with a great set of tools to get them started on the path to a valuable and enjoyable mentoring relationship.
And let’s not forgot about the goodie bags!! Special thanks to the Alliance Theatre, AT&T, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, The Atlanta Women’s Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Moo.com and Turner Broadcasting for the sweet swag. T-shirts, notepads, and more were included – as well as YNPN Atlanta business card holders! And thanks to the Woodruff for hosting us as well!
We’d also like to thank all everyone who came out to join us for the event. We had a great time, and we hope you did too! We’re really looking forward to this first year of the Mentorship Program and to seeing how our members will grow through taking part in the experience. Congrats to the 2012 class!
Guarav Bhatia Liz Brandt Tiffany Coakley Cindy Evans Annissa D. Floyd Molly Friesenborg Lindsey E. Hardegree Shay Jenkins Amy Kane Lauren Kline Alyssa Lasseter Margo Moskowitz Mahssa Mostajabi Jewel Thompson Daniel Wenger
Check out photos from the event…
If you’d like to learn more about the program, click here for more info. And be sure to join us for our next Networking Hour on Nov. 14, when we’ll hear from Heather Locker about Strategic Volunteering Strategies.
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Check out this recap from YNPN Atlanta’s The Value of Mentorship event – a kick off for the 2012 Mentorship Program featuring guest speaker Patricia M. Falotico. Great advice for building successful business relationships!
- Marci Tate, YNPN Board Member

Chronicle of Philanthropy survey results are in!

In a recent post, we asked all of you to take a quick survey by The Chronicle of Philanthropy about your early career experiences in the non-profit sector.  The results are in, and they've been published in a series of four feature stories (links below).  The articles offer great insight into the unique challenges facing young professionals in non-profits and offer great statistics about pay, education level and more.
YNPN members accounted for more than 1/2 of the 900+ respondents.  Not only does this raise the profile of YNPN as a critical partner for reaching young people for leaders like The Chronicle, but it also lets you learn more about the experiences of your fellow YNPNers around the county.
If you'd like to subscribe to The Chronicle, you can get a discount as a YNPN member.  If you're not already a member, sign up today!
Article links:
Lead article: Fledgling Nonprofit Workers Bear Financial Burdens
Sidebar: Health-Care Law Helps Young Nonprofit Workers Get Coverage—From Their Parents
An interactive graphic: The Gender Gap in Pay Among Young Nonprofit Workers
And more statistics: Early-Career Nonprofit Employees: a Portrait

New Member Benefit: Discount on Chronicle of Philanthropy

Great news! YNPN Atlanta has partnered with the Chronicle of Philanthropy to bring our members discounted subscriptions. YNPN Atlanta's Professional Members receive a 20% discount on a print or digital subscription to the Chronicle of Philanthropy!
Once logged in as a Professional Member on our website, visit this link for more information on how to redeem the discount: http://www.ynpnatlanta.org/chronicle-of-philanthropy-discount/
The Chronicle of Philanthropy is the No. 1 news source, in print and online, for nonprofit leaders, fund raisers, grant makers, and other people involved in the philanthropic enterprise. For more than 20 years, The Chronicle has been connecting the nonprofit world with news, jobs, and ideas.
A subscription is a great way to keep up-to-date on the most important news in the nonprofit community. It's critical to be "in the know" when you are young and ambitious! Learn more strategies at YNPN Atlanta's upcoming event on June 19th - 'Staying Updated: How to Keep Tabs on Your Industry.' Reserve your spot today. The event is free for professional members (click here for the Promo Code), and only $8 for the general public. and then Register online; then, join the Facebook event page and invite your friends!

Early Career Survey for The Chronicle of Philanthropy

What are young people finding these days in the non-profit job market?  Where are they looking, how challenging is their search, and what are their expectations?  If you've been working in the non-profit sector for less than five years and/or finished college less than five years ago, The Chronicle of Philanthropywould like to hear from you about your experiences for a feature story for their July 26 issue.Take the survey here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/COPearly-careerOnce the results are in, The Chronicle will share the findings with us, so please take a few minutes to help us learn more about Atlanta's non-profit job market!

50% Off Books from Wiley and Jossey-Bass

YNPN is partnering with Wiley and Jossey-Bass to offer a 50% off discount to nationwide members for a number of non-profit management publications and resources.
Order before May 31, 2012 and use promo code YNPN5 at checkout on www.wiley.com for 50% off your entire order.
It's a great way to expand your professional library without breaking the bank!
Here are examples of a few available titles that might be of interest:
Forces for Good, Revised and Updated by Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant
What makes great nonprofits great? In the original book, authors Crutchfield and McLeod Grant employed a rigorous research methodology derived from for-profit books like Built to Last. They studied 12 nonprofits that have achieved extraordinary levels of impact—from Habitat for Humanity to the Heritage Foundation—and distilled six counterintuitive practices that these organizations use to change the world.
Nonprofit Sustainability by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka, and Steve Zimmerman
“Most nonprofits struggle to find a long-term sustainable business model that will enable them to deliver impact on their mission…This book offers practical, concrete steps you can take to develop your own unique path to sustainability without compromising your mission.” —Heather McLeod Grant, consultant, Monitor Institute, and author, Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits
Banding Together for a Cause
Experience the yellow wristband campaign from the beginning and learn how to position your nonprofit for success.
Passionate and inspiring, Banding Together for a Cause will help you identify ways to generate funds for your programs and missions through valuable and meaningful partnerships. In it, author Rachel Armbruster dissects the LIVESTRONG campaign, from timing and brand, to partners and visionary thinking.
Nonprofit Management 101 by Darian Rodriguez Hayman
This book provides nonprofit professionals with the conceptual frameworks, practical knowledge, and concise guidance needed to succeed in the social sector. Designed as a handbook, the book is filled with sage advice and insights from a variety of trusted experts that can help nonprofit professionals prepare to achieve their organizational and personal goals, develop a better understanding of what they need to do to lead, support, and grow an effective organization.
The Nonprofit Marketing Guide by Kivi Leroux-Miller
This down-to-earth book shows how to hack through the bewildering jungle of marketing options and miles-long to-do lists to clear a marketing path that’s right for your organization, no matter how understaffed or underfunded. You’ll see how to shape a marketing program that starts from where you are now and grows with your organization, using smart and savvy communications techniques, both offline and online. Combining big-picture management and strategic decision-making with reader-friendly tips for implementing a marketing program day in and day out, this book provides a simple yet powerful framework for building support for your organization’s mission and programs.
The Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine
This groundbreaking book shows nonprofits a new way of operating in our increasingly connected world: a networked approach enabled by social technologies, where connections are leveraged to increase impact in effective ways that drive change for the betterment of our society and planet.

Don’t Be a Spammer! Lessons from our MailChimp Lunch

By Elyse Klova Follow me on Twitter: @eklova
MailChimp Logo
Last week I attended our first-ever professional development event, which featured Jes Fern from MailChimp, an Atlanta-based email service provider. You can find dozens, probably hundreds, of classes and workshops and webinars and blog posts about how to do email marketing for your nonprofit, but this class was awesome thanks to Jes's unique perspective: Jes serves as mentor to MailChimp's compliance department and knows everything there is to know about proper email etiquette and how to stay on the right side of the law. Also, did I mention we got monkey hats and MailChimp stickers?
My biggest takeaway from the event: It's really, really easy to be a spammer. Your organization may be spamming its mailing list regularly, and you may not even be aware. Nonprofit marketers, development officers, and directors need to be savvy about their mailing, because the consequences of getting labeled as a spammer can really damage your organization's longterm ability to get the word out.
So what is spam? The definition is broader than I realized: Jes defined it as ANY unsolicited bulk email. If the recipient has not granted permission for the mail to be sent, it is considered spam. What this means for organizations is that you should not be adding people will-nilly to your email list. Those people who signed up for a giveaway at the last conference you attended? Nope, unless you specified that they were signing up for your mailing list. What about that group that visited your offices for a tour? Also nope. Even if you get a list of important people from your executive director or even the board, you should not put these addresses right on your mailing list.
The best rule is to refrain from adding anyone to your email list that did not very explicitly opt-in to join the list. Also, as an organization, it's important to keep proof of these opt-ins in case there's ever a dispute. Legitimate email service providers require at least a single opt-in, and prefer double opt-in, meaning that the individuals signed up for the mailing list and then confirmed that they wanted to receive mail.  Double opt-in systems have the added effect of ensuring that the people who are getting your mail really want to hear from you, giving you a more engaged, effective list over time. You can also add people to your mailing list who have written your organization to request it, and who have purchased a product or made a donation.
These may seem like stringent requirements, considering all the spam piling up in people's inboxes daily, but remember: your mailing list is a really powerful tool, and therefore you should protect it and make sure it is as effective as possible. Poor email practices can have some pretty ugly consequences. Among the penalties that Jes mentioned:
  • Your email service provider can drop your organization for violating spamming laws and terms of service.
  • Other email service providers (ESPs) and internet service providers (ISPs) will blacklist your IP address, meaning that if they see mail coming from your address they will automatically block you from reaching the intended recipients.
  • You can pay some serious fines. According to the Bureau of Consumer Protection, "each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000." That can add up quickly.
These penalties come from people hitting the "spam" button in their inboxes too often (which actually does do something besides delete the email!), and from making complaints to your ESP/ISP or even to the government if the problem gets bad enough. Opt-in signup systems go a long way toward preventing these issues, but the content of your email is important too: if your email looks "spammy" or your recipients don't recognize who the sender is, they might mark it as spam without even opening it--after all, there are only so many hours in a day. Spammy emails might also get caught in your recipients' spam filters. Some tips from Jes to help you avoid these issues:
  • Always send from the email address and name that your audience is most likely to recognize.
  • Spam filters have a scoring system, in which a given email gets points for spammy aspects. Too high a score results in getting dumped into the Spam folder. Points come from the header, subject line, content, and who the email is being sent to.
  • Be careful with your subject line: it needs to match the content of the email and should not be misleading.
For more about how spam filters think and what constitutes a "spammy"-looking email, check out How Spam Filters Think from MailChimp. Being conscious of how your emails appear to your recipients can go a long way toward making your email campaigns more effective and toward avoiding any compliance issues.
Throughout the presentation, Jes advocated for well-thought-out, responsible email processes and a tight, highly engaged mailing list. To achieve that, she even suggested pruning your mailing list every 5-6 months to remove people who are disengaged (i.e. not opening any of your mail). That seemed a little counterintuitive to me--after all, don't you want to reach as many people as possible? But she countered by saying that at MailChimp, they've found that email addresses expire in 6-12 months and permission expires in as little as three (shocker, I know)! People can disengage quickly, and the goal should be to reach people who aren't just going to open your emails, they're going to read them and act on them to support your organization. At the end of the day, isn't that what we all want?

Welcome to YNPN Atlanta!

We are incredibly excited about this new phase for the chapter and hope you are too. Part of a national network of YNPN chapters, YNPN Atlanta has been around for about 4-5 years in various incarnations. While this is the third time the chapter has reformed, we are striving to ensure a strong and sustainable YNPN Atlanta.
What is new and different?
First, a new board of directors was formed in April of this year. Second, we have been actively working to develop a full calendar of events that include professional development and networking opportunities. Third, we set up a monthly networking happy hour, the 3rd Tuesday of every month. These happy hours are a chance to explore different neighborhoods in Atlanta while connecting and networking with other professionals, both nonprofit and for-profit, across the city. Finally, this past month, on October 8th, we held our official kick-off at Noni’s Deli and Bar in the Old 4th Ward. We had a fantastic turnout! Over 30 people joined us to hear WonderRoot's co-founder and young nonprofit professional Chris Appleton speak about his experiences as a young professional and then participate in a guided discussion about the future direction, goals and challenges for the chapter. As time goes on, we will continue to grow and develop our programming to bring you more and more opportunities to develop professionally.
The key to keeping this great momentum going and ensuring a successful, long-lasting chapter is you. As a member-driven organization, we are only as strong as our membership. You can turn passion for the nonprofit sector into action and help us build ties with the Atlanta community at-large.
Getting involved is easy. We have opportunities at every level:
  1. Become a member.  If you’re not already on our mailing list, you should be. “Like” us on Facebook and start following us on Twitter. We also offer two membership levels. Want to get the most out of your membership and stay ahead on special member opportunities and access, become a paid member for just $35/year!
  2. Plan an event.  You don’t have to be on the board or a committee to plan a YNPN Atlanta event. If you have a great idea for a professional development or networking event, we want to hear it. Have an event coming up at work perfect for YNPN? Let us know and we’ll spread the news.
  3. Join a committee.  Want more input in the direction of the chapter? Are you a social media guru dying to share your ideas? Are you an extrovert who loves to always be meeting new people? Have a head for numbers? Then join one of our four committees - Marketing, Events & Programs, Member Relations or Finance & Fundraising.
Want to learn more? Come out and see us at our next professional development event, Email Marketing Strategies for Nonprofits Brown Bag Lunch, on November 29 from 12:00-1:30pm at the Alliance Theatre. If you can't make it but you'd like to get involved (or want to find out more), email us at info@ynpnatlanta.org; we'd love to hear from you.
See you soon!
Kate Balzer and Lindsey Hardegree Co-Chairs, YNPN Atlanta Board of Directors