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Over the last year we’ve been doing lots of consultation and finding out more about how we can support change-makers on their quest to do good.

There were all the usual requests for more funding, training, and peer mentoring but the most requested element of support was related to making connections.

I’ve been mulling over this and have realised how important it is to have strong networks.

It’s not just about having strength in numbers from a lobbying perspective, it’s also about being part of a community that supports each other. It’s about being able to look up after a hard day at work, knowing other people are battling as hard as you are to make a difference.

What is the Challenge with Networking?

The challenge is: networks take years to develop and even longer to result in meaningful relationships. So how can we kick-start this?

It’s obvious. We need to take some lessons from our friends in the commercial business sector. We need to start networking professionally. That means investing time and energy to get out there and meet other like-minded people. Yes, that means taking a step back from the PC screen!

To help coax you out of your comfort zone, I wanted to share a few reasons why networking is even more important in the purpose-led sector…

The Importance of Networking in the Purpose-Led Sector

1.) Ethical supply chains: we all have to buy stuff, but are you making your money do as much good as it can? Or are you going to Amazon? 😫 By networking, you can find ethical suppliers, perhaps even social enterprises, in your local area. To give you an example of some social enterprise suppliers: gardening services, T-Shirt printing and catering.

2.) Collaboration: we all ‘toot the toot’ of collaboration but are we really doing everything we can to work together? By networking, you are finding new ways to work with other organisations, extending the reach of your own social mission. For example, mental health craft organisations working with community allotments. Two activities that beautifully blend to add value.

3.) Mental health & wellbeing: From my experience Change-makers are the most hard working and outwardly-resilient people… this can however be a lonely place as everyone is focusing so hard on the mission. By networking you meet likeminded people and can build a genuine support network around you.

4.) Keeping up: so often I hear people in the community say “there’s nothing for young people or there’s no sense of community” etc etc. Quite often these statements couldn’t be more wrong, there is lots going on, it’s just not being communicated as thoroughly as it could be. By connecting with others, you are helping to increase that rich picture of social action and positive change. It’s important people know about what you do and vice versa.

Recently I heard Jeni from NetKno speak about the importance of not ‘staying in our lanes’ but connecting with really different organisations and individuals so that true innovation can occur. I love this idea! Just think for a moment, what could happen for your organisation if you took a step out of your existing lane.

Social Enterprise Day

On 17th November, it’s Social Enterprise Day. As such we’re hosting our first ever networking session. If you’d like to step out of your lane and connect with other like-minded people, book a ticket! You don’t have to be a social enterprise to attend.

We know networking can be awkward, so we’ve engaged Jeni to facilitate activities to ensure you get new contacts and people leave knowing all about you and your organisation.

To take this one step further, we’ve also got the fabulous Flamingo Heights team who will be recording 60 second interviews with participants for us to help get your organisation more connected online.

Now that you’ve read about the importance of networking, book your ticket here.

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