One of the services MCF offers to grantmakers is supporting peer learning networks, including the Minnesota chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP). Rachel Hart, EPIP-Minnesota member and community affairs specialist at H.B. Fuller Company, joins us today to share insights from this network’s recent conversations.
As a young professional in philanthropy, keeping up with the more seasoned professionals in the local grantmaking scene can seem daunting. In typical Millennial fashion, many of us want to bypass the grunt work and establish ourselves as experts right away, but it’s important to remember respect and experience don’t come overnight.
There are numerous sure-fire ways to build experience such as joining professional associations, connecting with a mentor in the field, going on informational interviews and simply asking questions. Honing in on a few key ideas may help you focus your career building plan to seem more manageable. Here are some we identified at last month’s EPIP-Minnesota networking lunch:
- Find other young professionals. Connect with other fresh-faced professionals in the field as a way to learn from those who are at the same stage in their careers. They are a safe audience to say “I don’t know that yet” or to share a ‘light bulb’ moment that may seem obvious to others. Although the Twin Cities philanthropic community is refreshingly nurturing, finding a supportive group to learn and grow together makes the journey seem less lonely.
- Budget your career-building time and resources. Once you know how much time you’re willing to devote to enhancing your skills, it makes setting realistic goals more manageable. Whether it’s talking to your employer or looking at your personal time and finances, it’s important to understand your limits and potential.
- Have a network to hold you accountable. Anyone can set a goal, but it means nothing unless you actually follow through. Having accountability by sharing career goals with others makes them real and motivates you to work that much harder to reach them.
If you’re an emerging professional in the philanthropic community, just itching to build your experience and meet others in the same boat, consider connecting with the budding and welcoming members of EPIP-Minnesota. We are brimming with ideas, and are currently engaged in a series of discussions like this one based on Trista Harris and Rosetta Thurman’s book How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar.