From my post at www.np2020.org.

Robert Egger; founder of DC Central Kitchen, the Nonprofit Congress, the V3 Campaign, and much more; spoke at the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Leaders Conference last Friday. His speech was short, yet inspiring.

Egger was overly excited about getting to talk with an entire group of young people about the nonprofit sector. He wanted to make sure we were inspired and energized to get out in the sector and make something happen. Well, I think his inspiration worked on many of us!

His caveat was right now in the sector young people have the opportunity to take control of their own destinies. Right now is the perfect time to take control of the sector and make it work again in America. He says, now is the time to “completely redesign the sector.” The sector “needs a radical overhaul” and he charged the room with taking it on. He says, we are “a great army that needs to be organized.”

His most powerful call-to-action was you “can’t wait for the keys to the car.” Take control now, go find what you want, and work your hardest to get it.

Egger described three types of leaders:

  1. Passive leaders
  2. Leaders that see the future and hope it comes to them
  3. Leaders who see the future and march out to meet it

His message was, the only way we are going to succeed in changing the sector and keeping young people in the sector, is if the leaders in the room, and young leaders all over the country become the third type of leader. Young leaders need to march out and meet the challenges of the sector now.

If nothing else from the conference was worth it, those 20 minutes were. It was great to hear a Baby Boomer behind younger generations, and inspiring them to make a difference in the sector. It was a good uplifting moment that helped me to realize that even if I’m stressed out, burnt out, or at the point of no return, my efforts are all worth it.

If Ghandi, King, and Chavez began with salt, dimes and grapes, young people today can create a movement too!

What can you do today to get the movement started?

Check out an interview with Robert Egger on Perspectives from the Pipeline.