What does YANA do?

YANA, the Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance, founded in 2011, estimates that two out of every three Yale alumni are involved in nonprofits—whether as board members, practitioners, volunteers or donors—representing an alumni population exceeding 100,000. YANA’s mission is to organize and mobilize this vast but largely disconnected nonprofit network and leverage it for the greater common good.

In pursuing this ambitious goal, YANA focuses on three unmet needs revealed in a 2011 alumni survey that drew 900+ replies. The needs were expressed along generational lines: millennials (alums age 32 and under) needed nonprofit career advice, job connections, and mentoring; Gen X (30s to early 50s) in mid-career, wanted access to financial resources and best practices in order to grow and improve their nonprofits; boomers (mid 50s and 60s) and seniors (70+) facing retirement or semi-retirement, wanted meaningful engagement as mentors, board members, connectors and donors.

YANA’s impact flows through a multitude of programs designed to engage alumni and meet these expressed needs.

Recent program highlights:

  • Launched regional YANA Chapters in the Bay Area, Colorado, D.C., New England and Philadelphia to better serve the needs of local alumni involved in social impact.
  • Hosted a major conference, Social Enterprise: Turning Vision Into Reality, an all-day event in NYC that drew 275 attendees and sparked countless networking connections, funding pitches and career building opportunities.
  • Holding the ongoing Nonprofit Roundtable, a quarterly program convening alumni and affiliates in New York serving on nonprofit boards, to exchange ideas, resources and best practices.
  • Hosted a landmark fundraising event, the Women’s Rights in Africa panel, featuring the founders of three of Africa’s leading NGOs. The event drew over 250 people, raised awareness over the deplorable conditions facing women and children on the continent and generated over $20,000 in donations, with 100% of net proceeds going to the three NGOs.

Who runs YANA?

YANA is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit which is led by a 100% volunteer member base. Meetings, activities, conferences and events are organized by Yale alumni and friends operating in the broader social purpose community contributing their ideas, time and experience. YANA National (headquartered in NYC) has an elected 13-member Board of Directors, which includes an Executive Committee comprised of a President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. The Board helps direct YANA’s mission, oversees programs and provides support to regional YANA chapters. Each regional chapter is led by a chapter chair, and as these groups grow, members often form their own regional board of directors and/or designated committees.

How are board members selected?

As indicated by YANA’s by-laws, the National Board has established a standing Governance Committee to attend to governance matters, including the selection of candidates for open Director seats. Three months prior to an election, the Governance Committee solicits recommendations for candidates from the general YANA membership. The Governance Committee selects a slate of qualified candidates from this pool to present to the National Board for a vote at its Annual Meeting. A simple majority is required to elect a new Board member. In searching for candidates, the Governance Committee takes into account the following considerations: (a) a Member’s demonstration of leadership, contribution and/or service to Yale and his/her community or society at large, (b) the gender and diversity of the composition of the Members of YANA and (c) geographic diversity and proportional size, based on the number of members, of local chapters. The National Board may adopt additional guidelines and considerations as are appropriate to ensure adequate representation of Members on the National Board.

How can I meet or speak with other members and learn more?

YANA holds monthly meetings in New York City (typically the last Wednesday of the month), bi-monthly meetings in the Bay Area, and has just launched chapters in New England and Philadelphia. If you live in one of these areas, please join us for meetings and events. If you can’t make it in person or don’t live in one of these areas, email the chair of our engagement committee to find out more about what we do and how you can participate. And read on below to learn about starting your own chapter.

Does YANA maintain an email list? If so, how can I sign-up?

YANA maintains an email list, and subscribers receive the National Newsletter and regular announcements including event information. There is a national Linkedin group for YANA members, and regional chapters maintain LinkedIn groups for their members. To sign up to receive our emails and to learn more about YANA membership and LinkedIn groups, please contact National Newsletter editor Lory Alissa Skwerer.

What can YANA do for me?

Getting involved in YANA gives you the opportunity to:

  • Network with Yale alumni, affiliates and friends interested in social service.
  • Stay informed about best practices and the latest organizational trends.
  • Learn about resources and strategies to support your organization, your ideas and your professional and volunteer goals.
  • By convening like-minded, mission-drive people—from both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors—YANA helps spark connections that benefit people of all ages, professional backgrounds and career stages.

What can I do for YANA?

YANA’s programs and initiatives are made possible through the efforts of dedicated volunteers. They succeed thanks to contributions of everything from skills and knowledge to event space to material resources.

Some ways to engage:

  • Share your wisdom by volunteering to mentor a student or recent graduate, leading a nonprofit Roundtable or speaking at a YANA event.
  • Contribute specialized expertise to efforts such as fundraising and website development and maintenance.
  • Join a YANA committee and help organize meaningful programs and events.
  • Propose to lead an initiative that YANA hasn’t yet explored.
  • Donate! As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit itself, YANA is supported by charitable donations, which directly support programs that connect, educate and inspire Yalies involved in social impact work.
  • We invite you attend our meetings (monthly in NYC, bi-monthly in the Bay Area, and popping up all over the country) to learn more, or email our committee chairs to discuss specific programs.

I don’t live in a city where there is a YANA chapter. How can I get involved?

Consider starting a local YANA chapter. It’s fine to start small. Check out our toolkit for starting a chapter. Email or call any of the YANA chapter chairs—they’ll be happy to help you explore the idea. Reach out to individual Yale alumni or alumni groups in your area. (You can get a list of your local groups from the AYA.) Send an email blast to local alumni, telling them about YANA and inviting them to complete a brief survey; the AYA will send your email, with the survey link, to their mailing list of alumni in your area. The survey asks them to describe their nonprofit/social purpose interest and involvement, and how they’d like to participate in YANA. You’ll be able to review individual responses and get in touch directly with interested alums to set up an initial exploratory or organizational meeting. And always stay connected to YANA national: email Lory to join our mailing list, keep in touch with committee chairs whose programs and initiatives interest you and dial in via conference call to our monthly meetings in NYC (email Ken for dial-in info).

What is YANA’s relationship to the University?

There are now over 70 Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) chartered by the Association of Yale Alumni. YANA is the AYA’s designated SIG focused on mobilizing Yale’s greater nonprofit community to maximize collective impact. While we operate as an independent 501(c)(3) and have our own system of governance, we are continually exploring ways to collaborate with other alumni groups, SIGs, Clubs, and the University. YANA also receives administrative and financial support from the AYA for specific events or initiatives. All of YANA’s programs and policies abide by Yale’s guidelines with respect to equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion.

Through our University Connections Committee, YANA fosters relationships between alumni and current students interested in the nonprofit/social enterprise sector (including our undergraduate partners, the YANA Fellows. We also partner with on-campus groups including Yale’s Office of Career Strategy to promote internships, careers and other opportunities for both current students and graduates (including those exploring career transitions).

I am not a Yale alumnus. How can I be involved?

YANA participation is not limited to Yale alums. We invite anyone interested in or affiliated with the nonprofit, social impact, social entrepreneurial, corporate responsibility, public, and social purpose sectors to get involved. You can sign up for our emails, attend meetings and events or become a dedicated member.

If you or your organization would like to collaborate with YANA (supporting each other’s work, co-sponsoring events, presenting at a meeting or Roundtable), please contact Lory Alissa Skwerer. If you are interested in writing about YANA or having a YANA member write for or be a guest in your media space, please contact our Founder and Chair, Ken Inadomi.

How does YANA’s work extend beyond the Yale community?

Since its inception, YANA has endeavored to make an impact in both the Yale community and mission-driven populations beyond Yale. To date, we have either co-hosted or are planning to co-host events through collaboration with alumni from Stanford, Harvard, and Duke. In May 2015, YANA partnered with Project Redwood, a social philanthropy fund run by alumni from the Stanford Business School, to host the Women’s Rights in Africa panel. In March 2016, YANA and Harvard’s social impact group, Crimson Impact, co-hosted The Future of Cities at the Harvard Club of New York. These joint ventures represent the first time on record that a Yale SIG and alumni from Stanford or Harvard have collaborated to host a major social impact event. We are currently planning another co-hosted event to take place in June, this time with Duke, featuring a panel on “Using Social Media to Turbocharge Your Nonprofit.”