One of the services MCF offers to grantmakers is supporting peer learning networks, including the Minnesota chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP). Sarah Townsend Morris, EPIP-Minnesota member and recent Indiana University MPA graduate, joins us today to share insights from this network’s recent conversations.
Last Friday, a group of emerging leaders in philanthropy discussed Chapter 5 – “Practice Authentic Leadership” from Trista Harris and Rosetta Thurman’s How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar. Here are a few key ideas we pulled from the book to talk about what authentic leadership looks like to us.
Nonprofit Rockstar Tip: Do Your Job and Do It Well
Do you make yourself a valuable employee with a strong positive reputation? At the bare minimum, you must do your job well to be considered for growth opportunities. Two points from the book we considered most important:
- Know your job description. Be sure your job description matches the tasks you actually are doing. You need to be evaluated against an accurate description of your work, and you should get credit for all of the extra work you may have taken on.
- Know your boss’s priorities and make them yours. If you align your work with your boss’s goals, you make your boss look good and you make yourself a valuable member of her team.
Benefits: personal and organizational growth, a sense of clarity about where you fit with the strategic plan, personal satisfaction in your job, sense of alignment and priorities for your tasks, opportunity to earn your boss’s favor and respect
Strategies: schedule a regular performance review or conversation with superiors, be clear about your career plans and goals, ask for opportunities to grow your skills, ask questions (“be a sponge”), pay attention to and learn your boss’s management style and personality
Challenges: You may have to take charge. Don’t wait for your boss to start this conversation.
Nonprofit Rockstar Tip: Join a Nonprofit Board
Volunteering for another organization’s board of directors will give you leadership, learning, and networking opportunities within your field but outside of your organization.
You may be asking yourself But, why would an organization want me on its board, and how would I even find the openings? Here are a few ideas and resources we brainstormed:
- Check out MAP for Nonprofits’ board training and matching service.
- Join a leadership or networking group. Learn about opportunities for engagement from Minnesota Rising, Pollen, or a plethora of other groups in the Twin Cities.
- Contact organizations to get to know them. Ask about site visits, conversations with executive staff, and/or volunteer opportunities to see if there is a “fit.”
- Learn about the organization’s board. Is it a working or governing board? Do they want younger board members or do they recruit more seasoned professionals? If you are not a match for their board needs, learn about committee opportunities.
- Be sure you know your employer’s conflict of interest policy. This is especially important for grantmakers or fundraisers! Many board roles come with fundraising expectations, which may conflict with your job.
If you’re an emerging professional in the philanthropic community, consider connecting with the budding and welcoming members of EPIP-Minnesota. We’ll be covering further chapters of How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar in the coming months.