It has been almost 3 months since I started my new responsibility as an HR Officer with Heartland Alliance International, and luckily, I was selected to go with other group of the organization’s leaders to attend the Inside NGO conference that takes places every year in Washington DC. A lot of people didn’t know what this once-a-year conference is all about and why a Human Resources personnel in the NGO sector is going to such a conference. So here is some information about what’s inside “InsideNGO” conference.
An Opportunity to Network with Non-profit leaders:
Before going there, everyone was telling me that I should not miss my business cards because it is a great opportunity for us to network and connect with the professionals in the non-profit sector. Exchanging business cards is considered crucial in the US business and it is synonymous to shaking hands with someone that you meet with!
Get some Inspiration:
On the first day of the conference (it was three days long), Derrek Kayongo, a refugee from Uganda who became an entrepreneur in the United States by collecting wasted soaps in the US hotels, and processing them in an environmental friendly way to make it reusable, and then selling it to organizations that works in sanitation and health in the developing world. He said “This is what happens when you give immigrants a chance. We build and then give back”!
Most of the trainings and conferences that are attended by nonprofit leaders are only targeted to those who work in more programmatic areas and those who deal with donors and beneficiaries; however, a lot is missed when some stakeholders underestimate the need to include the operations and business services in their trainings. At Inside NGO, people who work in HR, finance, supply chain, procurement and logistics, IT and knowledge management will get a chance to know what are the driving forces that are influencing the nonprofit sector locally and internationally. Another important aspect of the conference is the discussions that take place, not only by the facilitators and attendees, but by also the between the attendees themselves.
Being HR personnel, I had the chance to attend most of the HR related conferences that were taking place, even discussing with other HR leaders the challenges and the opportunities they were facing at their organizations. It was interesting to see how most of the organizations agreed on that liquid workforce (freelancers and short-term employees) are considered more and more, taking into consideration the limited budgets NGOs have. Also, many of those who have Third Country Nationals and Expats working internationally argued that it was hard for them to come with a suitable benefits package that is not very different from.
A chance to promote yourself.
As an Atlas Corps fellow serving in Heartland Alliance International, I have a belonging for both organizations. So, it was a chance to talk to other professional about what does it mean to be an Atlas Corps fellow and how they can at their organizations be hosting other fellows for a year to benefit from their skills and experience and to build their knowledge from an headquarters point of view.