Who Are Your Peeps?

February 3, 2013

IMG_0807As social beings who are mutually committed to philanthropy, we know we do not accomplish anything with dollars alone—it’s people who get the work done, and we depend on each other a great deal.

Whether you are a donor, a business leader, a fundraising professional, or a nonprofit CEO, your human network is what connects you to new ideas, gives you an understanding ear to help process your challenges, and provides a feedback loop for the new possibilities you are considering.

I’m fortunate that my organization—the Community Foundation of Sarasota County—has a culture promoting exchange with others in the field of philanthropy.

Just returning from a couple of days at the annual Florida Philanthropic Network conference, I’m freshly reminded of how important it is to connect with others in the field. The speakers’ content was great, and while some of the well-meaning notes I took will no doubt get buried in my daily priorities, other notes will likely result in newly implemented approaches. Sessions aside, much of the value I derived from attending was reconnecting with my peers and chatting about our mutual experiences.

So know who your peeps are, and make your interactions with them count.

Here are five ways to do it:

  1. Build a culture of networking. When you encourage your staff and board members to develop and sustain relationships with others in your field, it pays back. Set the tone, and give them the time and space to do it.
  2. Take part in existing gatherings of professionals. Monthly meetings and networking opportunities abound in our community, from the Southwest Florida chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals to Manatee Community Foundation’s Lunch Bunch and Charlotte Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Network.  Are you showing up?
  3. Take the lead. If you find yourself searching for a particular meeting of like-minded professionals and it doesn’t exist, don’t wait for someone else to put it together for you. Jump in there and take the lead on it.
  4. Be a little humble. I’ve seen some great professional alliances built from the willingness to ask for support.  You don’t seem weak when you ask, you show that you are human.
  5. Be generous.  When you are open and willing to share your resources or to spend 15 minutes listening to your colleague, the favors come back to you. Promise.

How are you connecting with your peers in this world of doing good?

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County


One Response to “Who Are Your Peeps?”

  1. shellswells Says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. Being part of the Charlotte Players as a Board of Directors member, I’ve learned so much by attending these non profit luncheon/workshops.

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