Connect the Dots

When I was the Executive Director of a non-profit, my favorite thing to do was make connections. I moved in non-profit, arts, education and business circles. And I loved meeting people, and connecting them, not just with my organization, but with other people I knew, with who I thought they had common ground.

I don’t do this in my current job as much. But I still enjoy it. And it is one of the cool things about having a few different jobs and circles of people to interact with.

I think this connector mind-set is one non-profits should use more. We get so caught up in “How can this person be involved in my organization?” that we miss opportunities to be involved with that person. Not everyone you meet is a good donor or volunteer for your organization.  But, if you take the time to really listen to what they are saying, I bet you know another organization that fits their interests. Our job, as non-profit employees, is to make a difference. Sometimes that means connecting a donor/volunteer to a different organization. Or just listening to the person in front of you, rather than trying to direct the conversation to your current project. (See Katya's Have Fun.Do Good blog I linked to on Friday) 

Non-profit employees do move in a variety of circles. We have a unique perspective and opportunity because of that. We would be remiss if we didn’t use it to help others, not just ourselves or our organization.

There is often a mind-set that if a donor gives to a different group, that lessens the amount we would be able to get. This is a false economic picture, as studies show people give to causes they care about. We should be seeking to connect the public to the right organization for them. As we strengthen the sector, we strengthen ourselves.