The Importance of Networking for Faith Based Organizations

Sharing the Gospel is difficult unless you make an effort to meet your community.  Business networking is a great way to meet those who live and work in your community and have connections to help you further your mission.
Sharing the Gospel is difficult unless you make an effort to meet your community. Business networking is a great way to meet those who live and work in your community and have connections to help you further your mission.

The Importance of Networking for Faith Based Organizations

“Networking”, although common place in the business sector, has failed to even scratch the surface of reaching its full potential within the realm of Faith Based Organizations/Churches.

A recent general statement captured my attention, “Oh, our church doesn’t do networking”. As I contemplated this declaration, it did seem like many faith based “networking” activities or functions were contained within their respective denominations or facilities.

Come to think of it, rarely was a church or religious organization represented at any of the multiple networking events I attend? I began to wonder and question….why? Was membership cost a factor? Were they under the assumption networking was a practice privy to businesses? Was it simply a matter of misunderstanding about what networking is and the importance of participation?

Helping non-profit and faith based organizations secure funding for projects and programs is not only my career, but my passion. I am often asked about fundraising ideas, development and implementation. One critical component of fundraising is acquiring donations. Donation requests for fundraisers can lessen or, in some cases, eliminate out of pocket costs for an array of items that may include: Food, drinks, prizes, incentives, signage and more.

Networking isn’t just meeting a group of people, exchanging niceties and shaking hands. It is a proactive, strategic approach to finding common ground with likeminded businesses and organizations to help further your mission, garner support and utilize or recommend the products or services of those whom you meet. Granted this is not the venue for a full-fledged sermon, but it is a great time to share with others about your outreach programs, your community goals and plans going forward to engage others in various programs or projects.

It is imperative, for churches who host or plan to host a fundraising event in the future to be mindful of the tremendous advantage networking can have. Networking can provide valuable personal connections that are essential when trying to secure in-kind donations. Businesses, as rule, receive thousands of requests for donations and obviously cannot contribute to all of them. Networking can potentially be the difference in receiving a donation for your fundraising event or not.

Think about it from a business perspective. As a business, you receive a donation request from a church that has no affiliation with your business, no personal connection with anyone in the congregation and has absolutely no ties other than the donation request. Why would the business choose to support that fundraiser?

Faith based organizations/churches must begin to realize, that to an extent they must operate like any other business. As a non-profit, the church relies upon donations and contributions to provide the monetary resources necessary to meet financial obligations. In addition, funding must be acquired in order to provide continued support for various outreach programs and projects.

So whether you’re part of a leadership team, worship team or congregation, when network opportunities present themselves, get out of your comfort zone and attend. As a side note, you don’t have to call it networking, just think of it as an extension of your witnessing mission.

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Clotier Nailing 5 years ago from Quad Cities , Iowa

Very interesting and in enlightening....

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