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The Importance of Networking for Those in the Charity Sector

  • Felicity Christensen is the Communications & Events Manager at Small Charities Coalition - a national membership charity who help small charities access the skills, tools & information they need to get going and do what they do best.

    Whether you are a paid employee or volunteer in the charity sector, undoubtedly one of the key skills to crack is professional networking. Networking provides the opportunity to build up your professional contacts, share ideas and feel part of a wider working community outside the office.

    Here are the top 5 tips for getting the most out of networking events:

     

    • Find the good ones to go to – Eventbrite is a great place to find new networking events within the charity sector, as is Twitter, and they don’t even have to cost anything. (We regularly promote personally recommended small charity focussed networking events via the Small Charities Coalition E-bulletin.)
    • Know how to introduce yourself – nobody needs reminding that first impressions count, so knowing how to introduce yourself well is a must. Keep it brief, to the point, and remember to smile! If you are representing a business be sure to have your elevator pitch ready.
    • Be curious – asking questions not only helps to build connections with others but peer learning is a fun and informal way of sharing tips, sounding out ideas and potentially building useful relationships for the future.
    • It gets better – like many new things the first time might be scary, but the more networking events you go to the more you will begin to see some familiar faces and begin to look forward to events as you see your network grow. It can be helpful to have personal goals set ahead of an event such as handing out a certain number of business cards or meeting a set number of new people.
    • Be prepared - have business cards ready to share for follow-up conversations, and ask the organiser to share a list of attendees so you can get in contact afterwards. Social media is the fastest and least formal way to connect, so if you don’t have a Twitter or LinkedIn profile – make one

     

    To see networking events that Eventbrite have to offer click here.

    The Charity Meetup events are popular and well-structured with fun ice-breakers.

     

     

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