OnlyUp: New space for younger nonprofit professionals

By Amy Potthast.

This month the nonprofit sector has witnessed the auspicious launch of a new online magazine, OnlyUp.

OnlyUp was started by four recent college grads and bloggers experiencing the angst of navigating nonprofit careers without a road map, with a sense that the sector has not planned well enough to accommodate the growth of young leaders.

The upbeat, thoughtful, bi-monthly magazine aims to engage the sector in a forward-looking conversation about the “future of social change leadership,” embodying the cry of hope: “When you have nowhere else to go, the only way is up!”

But don’t mistake it as a GenY-only affair. The magazine gives voice to young nonprofit leaders – a voice that peers and the rest of us need to hear in order to recruit new talent and support the growth of our organizations in the coming decades.


By Tobias Myrstrand Leander (Flickr)

For example, in the current issue, articles include topics like:

Different from a blog that keeps on top of daily trends and happenings, OnlyUp offers more nuanced discussions of nonprofit sector dynamics and the complex experiences of young nonprofit employees.

Like the best blogs, however, the magazine encourages reader participation – not just inviting comments but also encouraging readers to pitch articles of their own to contribute.

Check it out and let us (and OnlyUp creators) know what you think!

Amy Potthast served as Idealist’s Director of Service and Graduate Education Programs until 2011. Read more of her work at

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Comments (13)

  1. Angel writes:
    January 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Excellent article. I like: “When you have nowhere else to go, the only way is up!”

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Allison Jones, Serge Butman. Serge Butman said: Idealist Blog » Blog Archive » OnlyUp New space for younger …: OnlyUp New space for younger nonprofit professi… [...]

  3. Allan writes:
    January 24, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Excelet initiative. Checking the magazine.

  4. Emma writes:
    January 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    It would be great if this website also included job postings for young professionals looking to break into the nonprofit field!

  5. Emma writes:
    January 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    It would be great if this website would also include links to job opportunities for young professionals looking to break into the nonprofit field!. I have been unsuccessfully looking for an entry level position for about 6 months now!

  6. JP3 writes:
    January 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Cool and thoughtful article/magazine. Plus a twitter shout-out to boot. Great joerb Deepa et al (ala Coach Z).

  7. Megan writes:
    January 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Very excited to learn about this resource.

  8. Dominick Blais writes:
    January 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Great name for a magazine. I will RSS it for sure.

  9. Idealist writes:
    January 27, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Emma, Are you familiar with our site, Right now we have more than 6,000 jobs listed. Here is our search page in case you aren’t familiar with it:

    Let us know if you need help navigating our job search or setting up free email alerts with job listings.

  10. Mary writes:
    January 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    How can you possibly publish the article about What GenY professionals can do to sidestep issues of work-life balance? It basically says to work your life away and if you don’t then you don’t care enough? That is the worst advice, especially published, that I have ever heard!

  11. Julia Smith writes:
    January 31, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Hi Mary,

    Point of clarification: Idealist does *not* publish OnlyUp. We’re a completely separate entity. We decided to share information about its launch because we want to spread the word about resources and discussions in the sector. Amy’s blog post here was meant as an initial review, and in fact, we’ve been working on a post inspired by the very article you mention. Stay tuned!

    It looks like the author of that post has received a lot of comments, so you may want to visit the article again and leave a comment there:


  12. Amy Potthast writes:
    January 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Mary,
    I will chime in also to say (as a mother of two little boys & as a wife) I personally prioritize life/work balance — I consider family time a priority. I might not have thought much about it when I was single and childless and in my twenties, but it’s really important to me now. The blog post above is a roundup of OnlyUp’s first pieces — and as Julia emphasized, Only Up is a compelling new startup magazine but is NOT a project of

    What’s interesting to me though is that the article in OnlyUp has attracted a lot of thoughtful (and some disgruntled) comments — a reflective dialogue on the importance and relevance of work/life balance.

    Even if many readers disagree with the author, it’s a really important conversation to have, and maybe a post about how important work/life balance is would not have sparked nearly the same amount of conversation.

    Thanks for reading!

  13. [...] was my inspiration, it is however something that came to mind after reading a recent post on the Idealist Blog. the Idealist Blog was reporting on a new venture called OnlyUp. launched in January OnlyUP has a [...]

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