Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar

Posted By on Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 5:41 PM

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If you are one of the many people interested in a career in the nonprofit field, a new book, "How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar" should be at the top of your hit list. With chapters like "How to Write a Kick Butt Bio," "Cultivate a Slash Career," "Look Like a Leader," and "Speak Up," co-authors Rosetta Thurman and Trista Harris share 50 powerful tips on how to navigate a career path in the nonprofit community. This first-of-its-kind book is a toolkit that could catapult your nonprofit career.

I have been following Rosetta Thurman since reading one of her blogs on the Council on Foundations' website about two years ago. I thought 'this young lady is smart, savvy and not at all shy about putting her refreshing ideas and advice out there.' This alone, makes her a rockstar to my mind. When she announced, over Twitter, an October speaking gig in San Antonio and asked if anyone wanted to hang out afterward, I raised my hand and shouted at the computer screen--Me, me, me!!

A soft-spoken dynamo, Rosetta and I talked for over an hour about the book and her thoughts on the future of the next generation of nonprofit leaders.

So, there are plenty of younger folks out there interested in a career in nonprofit organizations?

Absolutely! There are many of my Generation Y peers who want to work where their individual actions can make a difference not just a paycheck. We want to have a job where the mission reflects the things we are passionate about in our personal lives, like the environment or social justice.

You and Trista wrote "How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar" in response to, what appears to be, roadblocks to developing a career and moving into leadership roles in many nonprofit organizations. Can you explain?

After several years of working in the nonprofit community, I realized there was a real gap between current leaders and development of emerging leadership. Often times an organization will have motivated, enthusiastic workers who come to feel like they've had a damp towel dropped on them. They wonder why it is so hard to build a career path like in other fields. Many organizations don't know how to handle diversity and inclusion. Lots of times, the best people are driven away from the nonprofit sector by organizations which are resisting change.

Trista and I both had similar experiences at our respective jobs and our reaction was to begin blogging about them. We wanted to provide resources and ideas so that anyone could become the architect of his or her own career.

We brought our personal knowledge, as well as some of our 'rockstar' colleagues, together in the book to empower a new brand of leadership to emerge--one that is laser-focused on making people, organizations, and communities stronger going into the next decade.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing nonprofits today?

The biggest challenge is how to use our people as a resource, to empower them to do their best work; figuring out what that best work is, and creating our new leaders. Nonprofits need to engage and inspire current leaders to become 1) true believers, 2) ruthless innovators, 3) ambassadors of diversity and 4) courageous advocates in their work.

click to enlarge rosettajpg

Now that's a whole lotta shaking going on!

Best of Rosetta Thurman's Blogs

Purchase "How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar"

Follow Laura Carter @LauraCarter or visit A Small Blog

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