Open Letter to YNPN Members

From Katie Todd, Chair of the YNPN Triangle NC Board of Directors

Greetings to my fellow nonprofiteers and change agents:

 You may know a lot about the organization known as the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN for short) or not a whole lot. You may have attended several of our Triangle chapter’s events or this may your first foray into what we have to offer.

I’m glad you’re here.

Whether you work in, volunteer for, or give to the nonprofit sector, you have a general understanding of why these organizations exist. These groups are providing services – from education, to healthcare, to animal welfare – that help people and our communities not only survive but thrive. That’s not an easy task. The hours can be long. The pay can be little. And the daily interaction with stories of struggle, injustice, and unfairness can be draining.

I don’t want to scare you off from being engaged with nonprofits. In fact, now, more than ever, we need thoughtful, bold emerging leaders to take the helm. Here in the Triangle, our challenges are great – unequal access to resources; reduced funding to help folks meet basic needs; and the tension between short-term payoff and long-term investment in building healthy, sustainable communities.

But, being a bold leader can feel daunting if you don’t have a support system behind you.

This is why YNPN Triangle NC exists. We want to help you create that network of people and resources that will allow you to be a change agent for good. We talk about getting #NonprofitSTRONG at our annual conference, and in order to do that, you need the right tools, knowledge, and confidence. Whether you have been in the nonprofit field for 10+ years or you are considering joining the fray, we want to equip you with what you need in order to make the Triangle a more inclusive and equitable region for everyone.

We get it – being a leader isn’t easy. And, it’s not always clear what leadership looks like. We don’t believe that leadership is defined by a position within an organization. Leadership is an action. Here in the Triangle, we need more emerging leaders to bring their creative solutions to the table. To help motivate you to take that leap of faith, we want you to feel connected to others in the sector and give you space to build relationships, glean insights, and have that moment where you say – “It’s not just me who faces this hurdle!”

Five years ago, I was new to the Triangle region and felt a tad lost as I worked in a nonprofit where I could count the number of “young” people on one hand. I no longer had those connections from school or from home to rely on for advice and friendship. Then, I stumbled upon YNPN Triangle NC and attended an evening networking social. At the now departed City Beverage in Durham, I connected with others who worked in fields vastly different from my own but felt the same call to serve and the same frustrations. Over the years, I have deepened by roots into the chapter as I continue to listen and learn from other members while also growing professionally by joining the Board of Directors.

As I begin my second year as the Chairperson, I am blown away by what this organization looks like now compared to when I first joined. With more than 1,500 members and hosting nearly three dozen events each year, the chapter only gets hungrier to do more outreach, connect more people, and support more leaders in the Triangle.

Our work is just beginning. Will you be a part of it with us this year? There’s never been a better time to be bold or to find another ally, mentor, or friend. I look forward to seeing you in 2016 and feeling the ripple effects that you and all of our sector’s emerging leaders can have on the Triange’s present and future.


Katie Todd
Chair, Board of Directors, YNPN Triangle NC

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