#YNPN16: A Report on the Annual Conference

Last week, from August 5 to 7, hundreds of young nonprofit professionals gathered in Portland, Oregon for the 10th YNPN National Conference hosted by YNPN Portland. Since 2007, YNPN Chapter Leaders from across the country have been meeting to hone their leadership skills, share ideas (what works and what doesn’t!), and build relationships with other like-minded young nonprofit professionals around the United States.

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The Keynote Speaker - Vu Le, Nonprofit With Balls

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to join leaders from across the country to network, learn from each other and discuss the future of our network and the nonprofit sector. On day one, young professionals in the Oregon area were invited to join YNPN chapter leaders for a day full of diverse sessions led by nonprofit experts. The morning keynote talk, “What the Bleep is Social Good?’, by Vu Le from Nonprofit With Balls had the group in stitches with his astute comparisons, his comedic take about what it’s like to work in the nonprofit sector, and his recommendations for what changes need to be made in our industry to continue to be the leaders of social good. The afternoon continued with various sessions on topics ranging from leadership at nonprofit speed to job searching to technology to fundraising. They had it covered!

Days two and three, reserved for chapter leaders to discuss various aspects of our network, dug into everything it takes to build and maintain a successful chapter from budgets to diversity to leadership and more.

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From L to R: Kari Mirkin and Dan Blakemore, founding leaders of YNPN Cleveland, with Rebecca Rogg

The evenings were filled with great opportunities to explore Portland and get to know the other chapter leaders. The first night social was an Olympics-themed trivia night hosted at Mercy Corps, and night two was hosted at The 19th Hole, a pop up miniature golf course which included a beer garden. 

YNPN Portland and the city itself were more than inviting and provided a wonderful atmosphere for the network to teach, learn and explore. I feel privileged to have represented not only our chapter but the city of Cleveland at this national conference.

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The 19th Hole

So, maybe you’ve read this far and have been thinking: “YNPN is a national organization?” Yep, I’m glad you asked! I’d like to take a moment to briefly share about YNPN National and how chapters have been established.

The very first YNPN chapter was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1997 when a small group of young nonprofit professionals gathered to commiserate about their shared experience in the sector. After gathering, they soon realized that they weren’t alone in these experiences and sought out other young professionals for support and development.

Over the years chapters have spread across the country as members of existing chapters relocated to new cities and as other young nonprofit professionals looking to connect heard about YNPN. For many years, YNPN was an all-volunteer organization with a working National Board that provided support and programming for chapter leaders. In 2011, the network hired its first Executive Director and began to expand its staff as well as its chapter support, its programming, and its efforts to create a national voice.

Today, the YNPN network serves more than 50,000 members, and we have chapters in 42 cities. Read the full story and learn more about the YNPN National network here.

So... are you a YNPN Cleveland Member? If so, you’re not only connected to our chapter, but you’re also a part of this amazing national network!

I hope you enjoyed getting a taste of what attending #YNPN16 was like and learning more about our national network. If you have any questions about getting involved with our chapter or the network, please feel free to reach out to me at president.ynpncle@gmail.com.

Want to see more from the conference? Search #YNPN16 on Twitter or click here for full coverage!

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