Earlier this year, I became a member of and started volunteering for Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Los Angeles. YNPN LA advances the Los Angeles nonprofit sector by empowering, connecting, and supporting emerging mission-driven professionals. Led by an all-volunteer board, the organization programs a variety of professional development events, including hands-on workshops and networking mixers.

Although it had been more than a year since I moved to Los Angeles, I still felt relatively new to the area and wanted to continue building my network. Volunteering for the organization felt like a great way to contribute to the sector, as well as to meet other nonprofit professionals in the area.

2020 New Year’s Celebration

The first event I attended as a YNPN LA member was the 2020 New Year’s Celebration. It took place at Sandast, a studio in downtown LA that specializes in handmade leather goods. In addition to enjoying dinner from Santee Falafel, we tried our luck at a free raffle and played an improv game. We also created a “portrait” of a good leader by drawing those characteristics – big ears to represent listening or a heart to symbolize having compassion.

At the event, I met a variety of nonprofit professionals working in Southern California. They worked at organizations including United Way of Greater Los Angeles, California Science Center, Harmony Project, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, and City of Hope among others. Some worked in marketing and communications like myself, others in development or community outreach.

After the event, I felt refreshed and inspired. I was invigorated by meeting so many new people in the industry. I was also encouraged to hear about the meaningful work they were doing at their respective organizations. I was looking forward to attending more events in the future, but unfortunately, many were canceled due to COVID-19. However, YNPN LA, like many other organizations, has since pivoted, creating virtual events for their members to participate in.

Using Photography to Tell Your Story

Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to their next virtual event titled Lights, Camera, Reflect: Using Photography to Tell Your Nonprofit Story. In this free, one-hour workshop, photographer and arts educator Cole Montgomery will go over basic photography concepts, discuss photography ethics and best practices, and more. Participants are encouraged to have their cameras ready, but they can also learn everything using their camera phones.

For more information about this event or to become a member of YNPN LA, please visit the YNPN LA website. And if you’re part of an association that you think would be of interest to marketing and public relations practitioners or nonprofit professionals, please let me know with a comment below or message me at @cecileoreste.

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