Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blog post: Thoughts from Board Member Emily Bhatti

I have been involved in the start up of two non profits now, YNPN San Diego being one of them. I noticed some similarities and differences in the process. One of the things that happens with a new npo is no one knows about you and you are trying to get everyone to know you. Suddenly, it seems, so many amazing opportunities come up that you can’t believe all your efforts finally worked. Then comes the reality. Can you commit to all these great opportunities? You feel like you can’t turn anything down because it may be great exposure and raise your profile or make a great connection for the future…the exact thing you have been desperately trying to do.

One great aspect of YNPN SD is it has so many great leaders on board and they have really taken the time to build a structure. So, when these great opportunities come up, there are people to do them and a support system. At the other npo I helped start up, that team of people never really took shape. It always came down to one or two of us to do all the work if some opportunity came up. This is especially exhausting if everyone is a volunteer and everyone also has a day job. After a year or so, the few worker bees got pretty burned out and the organization is left in an awkward situation. Either someone or (preferably) some people need to step up or everyone watches the npo dissolve. Luckily, with this particular npo, people did realize the problem and stepped up. We re-created the structure by giving others more responsibility and autonomy. They felt responsible for their projects and therefore, put a lot more work into them.

It was a great lesson to learn, but I am glad that I didn’t have to experience that same situation with YNPN SD. Currently, YNPN San Diego has many opportunities on the horizon. And while we won’t be able to do EVERYTHING that comes up, I feel pretty confident that we will be able to create meaningful partnerships, great programs and serve our members in a way that will be lasting.

~Emily Bhatti, Board Member-At-Large

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