If you work for a Not For Profit Organization then you need to read this article on why it is important to network!
All things being equal, people want to do business with people they know, like and trust. That includes Not For Profit Organizations.
I am speaking a the AFP or Association of Fundraising Professionals on Friday. I am the opening act in a line up of highly professional speakers on the interesting topic of Social Networking, or Web 2.0.
I will be speaking about how Online Networking enhances your Face to Face networking and builds stronger networking relationships. But honestly I am a little perplexed as I am not sure that many Fundraising or Not for Profits really do face to face networking. I have met very few of them at a BNI meeting or at a Rainmakers meeting. Thinking of the chamber events I go to, I meet few Not For Profit people there. So, I ask myself why don’t I ever meet them? Where are they networking? Do they network? Are they meeting the Small Business Onwers, or are they just looking for the big guys?
Gleaners Food Bank is an example of a Not for Profit that networks face to face and does it well. They are active in BNI and have even taken leadership positions in their respective chapters and in the region. Because of their participation, many BNI members have taken tours, BNI Indiana does an annual fundraiser for them. We learned that Gleaners does not just feed the hungry, they help pantries around the State feed the hungry. Not just the hungry but children who get backpacks of food and senior citizens who receive food that is delivered to them.
They have volunteers, like Stacie Shipley with JNS Electric who delivers senior boxes for them every week. They have created a positive word of mouth when the had Aaron Prickle of Lushin Associates take a tour so he could understand what they really do. He now clears up a lot of misconceptions that he and many of his associates were once under. Victoria has educated a lot of BNI members about the organization all because she believes in face to face networking. Unfortunately they have embraced less of the Social Networking.
The Indianapolis Human Society has done a good job with social networking, I see them on Smaller Indiana and on Twitter, but I have never met anyone from the humane society at networking meeting.
If you are a NFP or a Fundraising Professional it is important to understand that people want to volunteer and donate to people they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST. Getting out to business networking events are important activities, it allows people to get to know you and your mission, to build a relationship, to volunteer, to spread word of mouth and to be advocates.
Using Social Media to amplify those relationships is the icing on the cake. It is a new economy and everyone is holding on to their dollars so it is time for Fundraisers to come out of the offices and board rooms and meet the small business people in the community. After all small business owners want to help, they are the fastest growing sector of the economy, but they also want to know who they are helping and why. They want to meet you face to face.