Activate! A New Chapter for YNPNdc

Tracy Gnadinger

A few of us at YNPNdc recently joined fellow nonprofiteers for the YNPN National Activate! Summit, a gathering of emerging social sector leaders, in Portland, OR. The summit constituted the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network’s 10th annual National Conference and Leadership Institute.  

What made this summit so special? YNPN is a national network of 42 chapters with 50,000+ members, including a chapter in Ottawa (our first international city!). That’s quite a feat for a network started 18 years ago in San Francisco.

The conference provided a great opportunity for leadership from YNPNdc to connect with the bigger purpose and strategy that drives our work here in greater Washington. We connected with leaders from the national network and fellow chapter leaders supporting young nonprofit professionals in cities across the country.

Jamie Smith, co-executive director for YNPN, put it best on the second day of the conference: YNPN is one of the nonprofit sector’s largest capacity building organizations. 

What’s New with YNPNdc?

YNPNdc took a step back from programming this past year to re-evaluate how we can best serve you, the members, and the social sector. This year, we are committed to ‘relaunching’ and hitting the ground running to activate, engage, and champion emerging nonprofit professionals in greater Washington.

One of our priorities this year is to focus on YNPNdc members. We’re excited to introduce you to YNPNdc’s new board members, share our vision for YNPNdc’s future, and work together to ensure that you — the members — are at the center of our programs and activities.  

Did you know YNPNdc recently revised our vision and mission? We worked this year to intentionally and strategically evolve our structure, vision, and mission to allow us to better serve you and to provide valuable resources that you want and need. Further, we recruited a new board with the intention of becoming more diverse and representative of members and those we serve.

We still have work to do to ensure that our leadership is truly diverse and inclusive, but we are proud of the steps that we’ve taken to make this a more intentional part of our recruitment process. We were also excited to share our experience with other YNPN chapters at the conference by presenting on “The Pursuit of a More Diverse and Inclusive Board.”

We want to share what we learned from YNPN16’s gathering of great minds. Below are some takeaways you can apply to your own professional development as well as your teams at work.

Top Takeaways from Activate!

  1. Nonprofit with Balls blogger and Director of the Rainier Valley Corps Vu Lee couldn’t have summed up the nonprofit sector better in his keynote speech and gave us some social good points to ponder on. “The work you do every day matters,” he said, which, as he emphasized, is why it’s so important that we end the “Nonprofit Hunger Games” – really talented people fighting for resources to do social good.
  2. “Action without reflection leads to burnout, reflection without action leads to cynicism.” Reflection is an important part of the work we do, but few professionals take the time to stop and reflect on their greater purpose and calling in the nonprofit sector.
  3. In addition we agree that membership engagement shouldn’t all be “top down.” We want to provide members with ways to connect with each other, too.
  4. More than just a chapter or a city, we are a powerful voice across the country. We hope to make strides in the coming years to be a voice for advancing critical issues like equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Jamie Smith said one of our greatest assets is our people, and you are what make YNPN worth it. You are what makes us valuable and unique. And without your strength and support, we could not champion the emerging nonprofit sector.

We are here for you. And we hope you will stay with us and continue to be a part of an amazing community of peers striving to impact the social sector.

Stay tuned for more updates from YNPNdc this fall.