Alarmingly few of the nonprofit Executive Directors and Board members I work with spend significant time and effort on networking for their organizations. Rarely are they in regular contact with their peers at other nonprofits in their segment or geography. They tend not to take advantage of nonprofit sector or segment associations. These leaders are missing out on the incredible benefits of nonprofit networking.
In an effort to encourage all nonprofit leaders to tap into the awesome power of networking, below are 25 benefits for members at various levels in a nonprofit organization.
25 Nonprofit Networking Benefits
- Exposure to new ideas
- Access to new resources, programs and opportunities
- Strategic Partnership Opportunities
- Learning opportunities about the segment, sector, etc.
- Board Development: building your Board member pipeline, sharing educational opportunities and learning or sharing best practices
- Staff development opportunities including recruiting, education, best practice sharing
- Sharing information about quality vendors or warning about bad vendors
- Learning about vendor discount programs
- Sharing information about helpful funders or warning about troublesome funders
- Get early notice about changes at funders
- Hear about or share information on trends in your segment, region or the sector
- Opportunities for thought leadership – many networking events include presentations which are also a great place for developing future leaders
- Learn about new technology or services that can help your nonprofit
- Get the lowdown on your segment’s competitive environment
- Listen for clues on the competitiveness of your service fees and salaries
- Expand your list of potential venues for events
- Build relationships with peers
- Find a mentor or even a mentee
- Lay a bit of early ground work for recruitment
- Find folks for an advisory group or join one
- Use networking as a force multiplier – when you have a major challenge, ask for help by spreading the word
- Look for association discounts or preferred service providers
- Opportunity to engage in multi-level advocacy
- Encourage staff future leaders to be active in sector or segment associations to build leadership and collaboration skills
- Gain the satisfaction of helping other nonprofits by sharing your knowledge and expertise
All nonprofit leaders tend to be busy people and as such often overlook the power of networking. Get out there and use your passion for helping others, make the connections that can be mutually beneficial to your organization, other nonprofits, your segment and the sector. Invest some of your time and expertise. You, your team and your organization will reap the massive benefits of nonprofit networking.
I limited this list to 25, but there are a multitude of other nonprofit networking benefits. If you have an incredible item that I have missed, please add it to the comment section.
About the author:
Michael F. Cade is a nonprofit advisor and executive coach, taking the nonprofit sector Beyond the Numbers. He is a leadership pathfinder, helping nonprofits optimize operations and strategy to attain long-term viability and relevance. His Framework for Fiscal Sustainability is an innovative approach for evaluating organizational health and securing the ongoing ability to deliver on its mission.
Mr. Cade publishes the nonprofit leadership blog Not for Profit Beyond the Numbers
If you have questions or would like a consultation on a nonprofit leadership or operational issue, contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org