Networking serves many purposes for nonprofit organizations. It’s a way to meet potential volunteers, partners, new staff or board members, donors, and spread awareness for your cause and mission. By meeting new people you’re expanding your ‘network’ and increasing your professional contacts.
However, it’s also important to note that networking’s primary goal is to find out how you can help others. It’s not about how many people you meet; it’s about the memorable connections you make. Not every connection will result in a new donor, but you never know where the conversation will lead.
Nonprofit Networking Tips
To help you and your nonprofit organization network more effectively, try these tips!
- Research the event: Before you attend any event, do a little bit of research on the attendees. Knowing the guest list can help you develop a better networking strategy. You might notice that someone you’ve wanted to meet is attending, which can help create talking points to keep conversation flowing.
- Bring business cards: As you’re mingling and making connections make sure you have your business cards ready to hand out. While you don’t want to be that person that just goes around handing out and collecting cards, you also want to be prepared.
- Ask open-ended questions: When talking with other professionals, ask open ended questions, such as who, how, when, and why, to expand the discussion. Not only does this show interest but also allows you to learn more about their needs, creating an opportunity for you to help down the road.
- Follow up: After attending an event, reach out to the people you met and express that you enjoyed meeting them. See if they want to get together and brainstorm ideas. If you’ve received a referral from a networking event, follow up as soon as possible as your actions are a reflection of the person who referred your new contact.
Remember, networking can happen at any time, not just at designated events. Anytime you meet someone new, you should consider it an opportunity to help and expand your contacts.
Capital Business Solutions is a fundraising and fund accounting software provider and software consulting firm for nonprofits and private-sector organization throughout the country. Learn more about nonprofit software solutions and training services by calling 877-889-0629 or filling out our online contact form.