Have you ever thought of how a nonprofit organization gets started?  I mean, really acknowledged all of the work that goes into creating the ground work that helps a cause to benefit the people it set out to?  When I first got into St. Paul two weeks ago, my friend Danny brought me to an organizational meeting to do this very work. 

I had the most amazing opportunity to not only witness, but also participated in the brainstorming of how this new nonprofit organization will be structured.  What this impressive group of minds was trying to do was figure out what the most productive and efficient way to create a community of LGBT youth so that they have access to a larger support system.  This is, I truly believe, the best way to combat LGBT youth suicide. 

In a forum like this, certain functions have to be in place for it to be successful.  Everyone needs to feel as comfortable as possible so they share everything that they are thinking and don’t fear being mooched are embarrassed.  This can be done in an assortment of different ways.  Food, drinks, ice-breaking games all work in this way. 

In order to have a successful brainstorming session, there needs to be structure and an agenda.  If this isn’t in place, then you have a lot of motivated people and nothing tangible happening because ideas will be spouted which will then evolve into personal stories about something that most likely did not work in the past.  With an agenda and structured brainstorming activities, ideas will flow and be documented, and an end result of the meeting will be visible.

For this experience that I got to take part in, everything was done successfully and the entire group took something from that sitting.  There were visible ideas for what this nonprofit can become and the founders felt they were going forward.  I am extremely thankful that they gave me the chance to sit in on this meeting.