Nonprofit Networking – 5 Great Networking Tips For New Nonprofits
Your nonprofit is a bit different from other organizations. Unlike commercial businesses, you’re not in it for the money. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t apply successful business strategies to nonprofit work as well. Networking is a great example.
Just like any other organization, networking can help your nonprofit blossom into an established figure in your chosen field. It can empower you to build connections, access resources, and reach new heights of growth and success.
Whether you want to rely on corporate gifts and promotional products or other interpersonal strategies, here are five Can’t-miss tips to help you start networking for your new nonprofit:
You shouldn’t jump into networking blind. Instead, you should take time to do some pre-networking – getting a feel for your field and the people within it. Start by attending conferences and events in your industry, either virtually or in person. You don’t need to be highly gregarious or outgoing during this stage; all you need to do is get a sense of what your field is like and assess what you’ll need to do to stand out. Once you do that, it’s time to make a definite networking plan.
2.Develop a Plan
Once you’ve got a sense of what is expected in your field, take some time to develop a clear networking plan. Ask yourself a few questions: who do you want to target? How do you want to go about targeting them? What are your organization’s overall missions? What sets you apart?
Ensure you have clear answers to all these questions and use them to develop an attention-grabbing value proposition. Once you do that, you’ll be more than prepared to head out into your field and start building lasting relationships with fellow nonprofit leaders, board members, and influencers.
3.Become a Regular in Your Local Scene
The best way to start building a network is to begin at home. Don’t go too far out of your way; instead, simply become an established figure in your local nonprofit scene. Make it a priority to attend community meet-ups and events to start rubbing shoulders with the prominent nonprofits around your area. Not only will this help you become more of a recognizable name, but you’ll also reap the benefits of gaining insights, expertise, and knowledge from your peers. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be poised to expand your horizons.
4.Attend Larger Industry Events
After you’ve established yourself in your local scene, you’ll be ready to try your hand at larger events. Head out to more significant industry events, such as state-wide or even national gatherings. Here, you’ll be able to interact with the most notable figures in your area and form meaningful relationships. By this point, you’ll already have a known reputation to fall back on, which will help you make a name for yourself among the more prominent figures in your field.
5.Seek Out Mentorship Opportunities
No matter how many professionals you connect with, you shouldn’t have to go it entirely alone. Instead, it’s always a good idea to seek out professional mentorship where you can. Once you’ve met enough fellow nonprofit leaders, don’t hesitate to ask them for advice and guidance. The information they share may be able to help you reach new horizons or experiment with new strategies that you wouldn’t have thought about otherwise.
Networking can feel intimidating, especially if you’re a brand-new nonprofit. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Follow these tips to build a successful network and get your organization on the right track.