Pollen is a community comprised of civic-minded connectors who share ideas, career and civic engagement opportunities and peer-to-peer recognition to create positive impact and personal and professional growth for its members.

Member survey results: What Pollen wants

We see more clearly now than ever before where Pollen can grow and continue to improve. Pollen is so much more than a website, it is the Pollen membership that makes the platform unique. The free-form nature of the survey provided an incredible opportunity to listen closely to the buzz of the energized network of compassionate individuals that bring Pollen together every two weeks. The sheer number and quality of voices that stepped forward to offer a vision for Pollen’s future humbled our team. We have rounded up a summary of those intelligent, direct, and optimistic ideas below. We invite you to read through the collective response, and then continue to offer us your wisdom, passion, and ideas. Thank you for giving us candid access into the mind of the Pollen hive. With your help, we are excited to make Pollen all it can be. As always, contact us (jamie@bepollen.com or meghan@bepollen.com) with your ideas.

Pollenites want to create a stronger mechanism to harness the Pollen network to do more good in the region by acting together.



Though jobs postings are the #1 thing members currently value about Pollen, many stated that doesn’t mean that’s the #1 thing they want to get out of the platform.


Members want opportunities to meet in person under the Pollen banner. They want a physical space to share ideas and continue the online movement. Pollenites lean towards a structure that balances casual meetups with small events, and one large event a year. Many survey responses asked for Pollen events to foster conversation through creative, nontraditional programming.


One bold member suggested this:




Pollenites want to come together to create innovative civic engagement efforts. Members are looking for coordinated opportunities for the Pollen community to serve and give back. Pollenites wondered if Pollen should present a platform for action, where ideas could lead to forums and discussion, and then move offline into real projects.


    ⦿ Pollen Mentorship Program
    Members foster growth in all stages of career development, including support to our community youth

    ⦿ Pollen Sponsored Service Projects
    Members recognize deserving causes to support collectively

    ⦿ Pollen Board of Research 
    Members form a group that explores and reports upon effective strategies for achieving various mission goals. 

    ⦿ Pollen Match Making Service
    A bartering of an hour of one pollenite’s expertise for an hour of another’s, with the goal of learning a new skill or getting professional feedback.

    ⦿ Pollen “Speed-Dating”
    A way to network young professionals by pairing them in short bursts of time with high ranking movers and shakers.



    EXAMPLE: A social incubation fund and prize where members vote on a topic of local importance, then gather great Pollen hive minds on the topic, and hash out an action plan to be published and delivered to relevant issue actors for potential initiation. Members can then get involved to help the cause with their time, expertise, or dollars.


    Members want more original content that zeros in on personal and professional growth. Pollenites find life stories interesting, but want that balanced with practical tips on career transitions and “making your own path”.

    Pollenites also want more multimedia content including infographics, videos, podcasts, webinars, and photos. And, as always, Pollenites are ready to get involved! They want more PGC, “Pollenite Generated Content”. Want more PGC? Have an idea? Submit today.


    ⦿ Cross Sector Collaboration 

    ⦿ Leadership Across and Between Generations

    ⦿ Issues of Diversity

    ⦿ Economic Disparities

    ⦿ Problem Solving and Innovation

    ⦿ Education

    ⦿ Philanthropy

    ⦿ Personal Empowerment

    ⦿ Hot Local Issues

    ⦿ The Arts

    ⦿ Civic Engagement

    ⦿ Design and Design Thinking

    ⦿ Profiles, Profiles, Profiles



    If the sky is the limit, members would take Pollen to the moon and back. The responses to this question were   refreshingly brilliant, witty, and optimistic. Members took the question seriously, especially with the   hoverboard suggestion. Hoverboards for all! It won’t take unlimited resources to deliver some of these ideas. The Pollen team will absolutely try to meet the following requests:


      Longer timelines, better writing, and more community discussion.

      Building the networks of professionals of color, young professionals, building networks around particular social justice issues, etc.


      ⦿ Unique, innovative events

      ⦿ Free professional education services

      ⦿ Hoverboards

      ⦿ Revamping of design

      ⦿ Seed funding for nonprofits in line with Pollen’s mission

      ⦿ Local TED-type talks amongst the Pollenites themselves

      ⦿ Payment for writing 

      ⦿ Pollen store with branded merchandise

      ⦿ A glossy magazine 

      ⦿ More of everything

      ⦿ Promote “Pollen Certified” businesses or organizations

      ⦿ National circulation

      ⦿ A pony


      Another bold Pollenite suggested this:



      Thank you, Pollenites.

      This article was originally published at BePollen.com.

      You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

      Comments (6)

      1. Submitted by Nick Wood on 10/16/2013 - 11:49 am.


        What on earth is “Pollen?”

        It seems to me that it would be helpful if MinnPost would briefly explain the purpose of a group before reprinting the results of their survey.

      2. Submitted by Corey Anderson on 10/16/2013 - 12:14 pm.

        The Pollen community

        Pollen is a community comprised of civic-minded connectors who share ideas, career and civic engagement opportunities and peer-to-peer recognition to create positive impact and personal and professional growth for its members.

      3. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 10/16/2013 - 12:31 pm.

        What Is Pollen

        I would start by saying what the heck Pollen is. Someone who is curious about the survey shouldn’t have to browse down to the comments section to find out what their mission is.

        Sorry, Corey, but your post doesn’t do much to enlighten a reader. The statement is so vague it could cover just about anything short of military intervention. It sounds interesting, but what do you really DO?

      4. Submitted by Corey Anderson on 10/16/2013 - 12:42 pm.

        More on Pollen

        Career and civic engagement content from Pollen has been shared twice monthly on MinnPost since July 30, 2010. What started as a newsletter has grown into its own website, BePollen.com. More info from Pollen’s website:

        “Lars Leafblad founded Pollen in 2009. Lars spent three years curating, writing, and producing all of the content in the Pollen newsletter, which was published on MinnPost twice monthly starting in 2010. Over those three years Pollen’s community expanded to include over 4,0000 members, highly active Twitter and Facebook pages, and an extremely engaged LinkedIn group. 

        In April of 2011 Lars and Jamie Millard of Paper Darts met each other at a Young Nonprofit Professionals Network event. Both big-picture thinkers with minds for creative/social entrepreneurialism, Lars and Jamie began talking about a possible Pollen-Paper Darts partnership in the future. One year and several more meetings later (with the rest of the PD team involved), BePollen.com was born. Everything on this site is a result of the collaborative ethos of the partnership.

        After two mind-melding years of Lars and the Paper Darts team working side by side to produce and curate an issue of Pollen twice a month, on August 15, 2013, Lars announced a shift in Pollen leadership. For the first time in four and a half years, Lars would be taking a step back and Jamie Millard and Meghan Murphy of Paper Darts took a step forward. While Jamie, Meghan, and other volunteers lead day-to-day operations as well as long-term visioning for Pollen, Lars remains, and will always remain active in the Pollen community in his permanent role as founder, #1 cheerleader, and advocate.  

        Featuring in-depth articles, eye-popping graphics, and enhanced navigation, BePollen.com takes the professional community building that Pollen is known for, douses it in color, throws it on the Jumbo-tron, and injects it with a triple shot of espresso to boot.”

      5. Submitted by Corey Anderson on 10/16/2013 - 01:01 pm.

        Explanatory blurb

        I’ve added an explanatory blurb that will display at the top each piece from Pollen.

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