Leadership. Service. Community. A commitment to those three themes has motivated Elizabeth Bass, Executive Director at Virginia Mentoring Partnership, throughout her nonprofit career and continues to drive her today.
Elizabeth shared the challenges and opportunities she has experienced in her professional and personal life, along with some valuable advice, to a group of young nonprofit professionals at the Virginia Holocaust Museum on Sept. 12, as a part of a series called “Nonprofits@Noon.”
What is Nonprofits@Noon?
This professional development deep dive on “Nonprofit Career Journeys” is offered through the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network RVA (YNPN RVA). Attendees experience an informative and insightful talk and discussion about building a career in the nonprofit field and have the chance to network with other YPs at each event.
Lessons learned in the nonprofit field:
Elizabeth addressed several pain points when working in the nonprofit field: How do you find motivation to stay in the nonprofit sector during a difficult transition? How do you find motivation when there’s not a lot of vertical growth?
Experiencing these situations in her own career, Elizabeth found a fun way to offer advice by putting together “Nonprofit Professional Survival Kits” with little items attached to pieces of advice/mantras. Check out the list:
- A rubber band: Be flexible – even when you are stretched to your limits.
- Band aid: Sometimes you need to heal problems or hurt feelings.
- Bubble gum: Stick to your principles, even when things get hard.
- Starburst: Sometimes you need a burst of energy!
- Clothespin: Hold it together!
- Matchbook: When you are feeling burnt out, find something to light your fire.
- Snickers: Don’t forget to laugh!
- Puzzle piece: You are an important piece of your organization.
Marketable skills to develop in nonprofit work
Looking to advance your career? Check out Elizabeth’s list of skills to develop, which will ensure your success as a future nonprofit leader:
- Ability to understand the budget – Revenue and expenses, being able to read a balance sheet and understanding profit & loss and how to make projections
- Understanding logic model and theories of change and being able to talk about measurable outcomes
- Supervisory experience – Could include other staff, interns or volunteers. Understand what you liked and didn’t like in supervisors you have had and be able to articulate that.
- Join boards, civic organizations and networks like YNPN. They can give you insight on what a high-functioning board looks like in a nonprofit.
- Grantwriting experience and understanding of fundraising lingo. Being a part of a culture of philanthropy and being able to ask relevant questions to your fundraising team.
YNPN RVA’s next big event is its Great Nonprofit Awards on November 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m. @ The Hippodrome Speakeasy. YNPN RVA will honor nonprofit organizations and staff members making an impact in the community in three categories: Rising Star, Great Nonprofit Boss and Outstanding Organization.
Nominations are currently being accepted and are due by Friday, September 28th. Nominate a special person or organization today!