What I learned at non profit camp

I attended the Stay Classy Collaborative & Awards 2 weekends ago in San Diego — a meeting of the top philanthropic leaders from across the United States, all coming together to pow-wow, high-five each other, and learn from each other on the topic of IMPACT. How to have more of it. How to stretch it. How to  balance it with resources.

Also on deck during the weekend was the Stay Classy Awards,  which is like the Grammy’s for non-profits. We were nominated in the early phases of the awards, but didn’t make the finals, so our consolation prize was a free ticket to the Awards. It was pretty cool. I have no idea how the awards selection committee picked the winners, but each organization is  amazing and so deserving of their honors!

Anyway, here’s what I learned and took away from that inspiring weekend.

  1. It’s cool to be in the SS. There is some cool shiz happening in the social sector (that’s a fancy term for non-profit world) and everyone should get involved. The energy, impact, and outcomes are contagious and kind of addictive.
  2. You can start a movement by yourself. Big positive change is happening around the globe that started from just one person.  I highly recommend starting with just a small effort on your part.
  3. I want to be a mentor, but I want a mentor too. I was inspired to go back to my little community of Hood River and start a social good contest or something honoring people doing great volunteer work. Maybe I can mentor others in my community to do what I did and focus on making the world a better place. But I also realized that I have so much to learn too! I need a mentor too. Any takers? I am a great listener and make great cookies!
  4. It’s ok to try, fail, learn, try again, progress, rinse and repeat. Most of the non-profit founders at the SC Collaborative didn’t just roll into success when they opened the doors to their organization. Good heavens, relief! There was trial & error over and over again along the way. Hearing these stories made me feel a lot better about our own trials and tribulations as a young start-up non-profit organization.
  5. Damn people are smart. Ya, I’m sure there are a few dumb ones too, but they weren’t at this event. It renewed my belief that the smartest people should be in the social sector because they’re grappling the country’s and world’s biggest problems, and forced to do it very creatively with limited to no resources.  Negotiation, people, and asking skills are absolutely imperative to success.


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