Upgrading the Chapter Operating System
As you may know, YNPN’s vision is to create stronger communities propelled by a network of inspired and engaged leaders. Strong, vibrant chapters are essential to making this vision a reality and we are truly fortunate to have amazing leaders doing amazing things across the country.
Our network has been asking for resources and operational support from National to develop and maintain a chapter-led network infrastructure that increases our impact, efficacy and sustainability. National has finally reached the capacity to figure out how we can support your chapters to do even more amazing things.
To figure out what tools and and resources would be most helpful to your chapters, we’re launching the Chapter Operating System Project. We call it the Chapter Operating System because, like the OS for your phone or computer, the YNPN operating system is critical infrastructure that will help us manage our resources and operate at peak efficiency. It will also be updated over time to keep up with our network’s growth and technological change.
What will the project look like? How will it benefit chapters?
With this project, we want to answer questions like:
- What support, resources, and infrastructure are most useful to chapters at various stages of their development? How can we best support the growth and development of our chapters and their leaders?
- Which tools and resources do local chapters have difficulty accessing on their own? Where can National offer or broker access to resources?
- How can we create stronger chapter affiliations across the network?
- How can membership serve as a chapter-level revenue tool and strengthen a broader sense of affiliation across the network?
- How do we structure services and infrastructure so that the network and local chapters have the necessary resources to execute on the priorities we establish and work toward our vision?
The project includes research on how other national networks structure their services and supports, including how their operating models are structured. This research, paired with years of chapter-level information from our Virtual Road Trips, Chapter Congress, and Theory of Change process give us a sense of our strengths, weaknesses, and what makes YNPN… YNPN.
That information will be combined with timely feedback from you to produce a detailed model that speaks to the network’s priorities through a set of suggested benefits and services. Accompanying this model will be possible affiliation structures that both meet local needs and strengthen the capacity of the network. Every chapter will have an opportunity provide comments on their priorities and provide suggestions on what services and supports they find useful for their chapter.
Chapters have been asking for help with building infrastructure for many years, and we’re excited that we have the resources and capacity to explore this with you. The Chapter Operating System will enable chapters to build their own infrastructure while strengthening the network’s ability to respond to the needs of our chapters and members.
Who’s leading the project?
We have enlisted two consultants who have a long history with YNPN, know the network culture, and are committed to our mission and vision. You can read their full bios at the end of this post, but you may already know Carlyn Madden and Caroline Bolas from seeing them at past national conferences or engaging with them as a startup chapter or fellow chapter leader.
We’re very lucky to have two whip-smart ladies with a wealth of institutional knowledge heading up this project. We’ll talk next steps in a moment, but know that you can always reach Caroline and Carlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Where are we now? And what’s next?
At the National Conference last month, Caroline and Carlyn walked the session’s attendees through a discussion of services and supports and gathered feedback on what they may find valuable and what revenue they may need to execute valuable programs.
We would like to extend the opportunity to all our chapters to provide their input in this process. Next week we’ll be reaching out to your chapter through your Chapter Congress representative and asking you to help us prioritize which benefits and services would be most valuable to your chapter.
Our chapters’ priorities will be compiled and compared with the resources that National already has or would need to gain/build/increase. This project will also be closely coordinated with the Database Project as part of a comprehensive suite of resources and network infrastructure.
This is not a short-term project, and it won’t be completed overnight. We will be having multiple conversations about the best way to test an effective business model that gives the chapters the autonomy they need to serve the interests of their members, while continuing to build the capacity of National as a platform for our amazing network of young professionals. Once we’ve established those models, we’ll work with an entrepreneurial pilot group of chapters to help us work out the bugs of the operating system.
To stay up to date on the project, keep watching the chapter leader newsletter and the chapter leader blog.
We can’t wait to work with you on building an operating system that will take YNPN to the next level!
More about Caroline and Carlyn:
Caroline is the President and CEO of LEVELheaded Inc. LEVELheaded provides management consultancy, program evaluation and training services to non-profit and government organizations, supporting them to fulfil their mission and vision more effectively. In addition, Caroline has provided consultancy services to YNPN since 2009. Currently her role includes providing support to start up chapters and answering general queries. She served for two years on the board of YNPNdc and during her time there she introduced a management development program that provided emerging leaders with the opportunity to learn the essential skills of managing within a nonprofit.
Caroline moved to the USA from the UK in 2007. Despite living here for over 7 years she is still learning the language and on a daily basis discovers how American English is not the same as English English! However, she does find that her unintentional Briticisms cause much amusement to others!
More information about Caroline and LEVELheaded can be found at www.levelheadedinc.com
Carlyn Madden is a consultant specializing in resource development planning and strategy. With nearly a decade of experience in the public and private grantmaking spheres, Carlyn has expertise in strategy and evaluation, development planning, stakeholder engagement and relationship management.
Before consulting, Carlyn served on the senior management team of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the official arts agency of the District of Columbia, where she was the senior advisor for grantmaking for youth and capacity building, policy incentives, key partnerships and programs. Previously, Carlyn spent five years at the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the region’s largest private grantmaker, where she managed a portfolio of grantees in the areas of community services, health, education and arts.
She served on the board of YNPNdc from 2009 to 2013, chairing organization for the last two years. During her tenure, the organization grew from 3,000 to 10,000 members, instituted a formal leadership recruitment/retention process, developed paid membership system (and subsequently cancelled a paid membership system), and increased programming from 12 annual events to 40 annual events.
Carlyn has an MA in Museum Studies from the George Washington University and a BA in Art History from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She currently serves on the board of One World Education, which provides writing instruction to middle and high school students in the DC public schools.