In what has long been a high society secret some of the greatest most influential connections can be made while you are performing a great service to your community: charity volunteering.
Simply put associations, non profits, charities, and foundations solicit community business and political leaders for help. The list of volunteers is often a Who’s Who of your area. The help comes in fund raising as well as “substance factor” mentoring.
How Does This Benefit Me?
If you are looking for a place to network and meet your community leaders, business stalwarts, and possible networking partnerships, then volunteering at a well established charity organization is a powerful networking opportunity. Here are the 3 benefits involved:
1. Provide assistance to a worthwhile cause by giving back to your community
2. Network and meet influential networking connections
3. Become a speaker or mentor further advancing your name recognition and public perception
Where Do I Start
1. Begin by visiting your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, and National Foundation (ex-Cancer) for information on the local scene.
2. The best source is the A to Z Charity Listing for the American Institute of Philanthropy at charitywatch.org.
3. Charity Rating System at http://www.charitywatch.org/ratingguide.html is a fantastic report of the top 500 Charities nationwide
4. Local “Society Sheet” is usually contains the favorite charities of your local power brokers, business mavericks, and politicians. A great example of this in my area, San Francisco, is the NobHillGazette.com.
Even if these kinds of society gatherings make you feel intimidated or uneasy, the possible connections are truly worth a few hours of self consciousness. At the very least, you will providing a service to a good cause and you can report your experience on your blog-website and at local industry meetings.