Earlier this month, YNPN chapters from across the country convened in Chicago for the 2019 National Conference, presented by University of Chicago Booth School of Business Civic Scholars Program. This three-day gathering brought chapter leaders together to learn with and from one another through educational sessions, presentations, and group discussions, or “UnSessions.”
Briana Davis and Miriam Kamya, two of YNPN Chicago’s Programming Committee Co-Chairs, led an “UnSession” discussion about building partnerships as a YNPN Chapter. This forum gave chapter leaders from the San Francisco Bay Area to Greater Buffalo to chapters in-between a chance to share ideas that have worked and to seek support for partnership-related issues.
Some pearls of wisdom shared during the discussion included:
- YNPN Chapters ought to consider a formal policy for handling partnership requests (see YNPN Chicago’s policy here: https://www.ynpnchicago.org/become-a-partner)
- City, state, or region-wide nonprofit centers or local chambers of commerce can be invaluable partners for resources, speakers, and sometimes even event space.
- Universities are increasingly adding programs, certificates, and sometimes entire colleges dedicated to public service, philanthropy, and nonprofit management. Connecting with these programs can be a great way to increase membership or meet potential speakers.
- Some YNPN chapters have created a specific board position dedicated to external relations and maintaining partnerships. This helps address the issue of losing partnerships that were established from personal connections with individual board members.
- Many chapters host events in partnership with groups that also attract nonprofit professionals, such as professional associations for fundraising/development, human resources, social workers, etc.
- Chapter leaders also discussed the importance of developing partnerships that encourage greater equity in the nonprofit community. This has included advocating for chapter member discounts from well-resourced organizations, intentionally supporting local and minority-owned businesses when purchasing food or supplies, and requiring that job board posts include salary ranges.
The presenters and attendees both agreed that a 25 minute “UnSession” was not enough time for this rich discussion. YNPN Chicago hopes to submit a full session proposal at the next YNPN Leaders Institute so we can revisit this topic, but in the meantime, keep the discussion going by on Twitter and follow us @YNPNChicago! You can see more updates from the National Conference on Twitter.