Through SOAR with Network Fundraising, a Leader meets with an individual to learn more about them, listens to their ideas, and determines where the organization and individual overlap. In addition, they also share information about the networks where they each belong. This is considered a one to one (“1:1”) networking meeting. It is the first step in developing a V formation.
Below are questions people have asked regarding these unique networking meetings. Hopefully, you find them helpful.
Why do I want to network? Networking educates people about your mission. Bringing people into your program begins by reaching out and establishing ways for them to be involved. Everyone learning about your organization has an opportunity to market for you.
How do I begin to network? You begin by inviting people to meet with you. Schedule one hour time slots a couple of times each week to get started. People like to meet for coffee.
I have a 1:1 networking meeting scheduled and the person hasn’t shown up. What do I do? Contact them to make sure they’re okay and still planning on coming. People get busy and forget, or the person may have hit bad traffic. A way to avoid a no-show is to touch base prior to the meeting to confirm the time and place. On the flip side, if you’re running late send a text or call the person you’re meeting with to let them know you’re on the way!
When are the best times to meet with people? People are generally available in the early morning prior to digging into their work for the day. Catching someone on their way into the office at a bakery is a nice offer. Truly the best time to meet with people is when they are least busy. It is okay to ask them what’s best for them!
Is it best to say I’m available anytime for a meeting or should I give a couple of time slots instead? I have always preferred going to a busy restaurant because then I know the food is good. The same is true here. A couple of time slots shows you are active and your time is valuable.
What is the best way to thank someone after a 1:1 meeting? Immediately! A good suggestion I heard through the fundraising grapevine is to keep note cards, stamps and blue pens in the car. During the meeting you can grab a business card and then when you get back to your car you can write a simple thank you note and drop it in the mail.
How do I set up a meeting with someone when they don’t return my calls? Leave a message letting the person know you understand they are very busy and let them know you’ll drop a hand-written note in the mail with a couple of dates for getting together.
If the person is part of a business, ask in your phone message if there is someone else within the organization you can meet with instead. The message could include that you’ll be in their neighborhood soon and you’d like to stop by to learn more about them so you can share their work with the many people you come into contact with.
What do I do when the person I am talking with has their own agenda and won’t listen? Listen to them and do not interrupt for up to 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 15 minutes depending on the subject of their talk. Then, ask them if they know the time. You may have another appointment to get to and you can mention this now. In the time you have left, your goal is to steer the direction of the conversation. They are more-likely to let this happen now. Explain what you hope to “learn” from them. This may take the discussion format of FORM. Learning about family, occupation, recreation and motivation/message.
What happens when the person I am talking with asks me to support them in ways I can’t? Acknowledge their request with an understanding. It is always good to repeat what you think they want. Be clear on this before taking any action.
- It goes against your principles (this could also be a company policy): Describe this to the individual after expressing your sincere desire to want to help them. Ask if there is another way you can support them instead.
- What they are asking is impossible because you’re not able to do it: Explain this with genuine concern for their need. Ask their permission to share the need with the right person if/when you cross their path.
- Ask for time to think through it to see if there are other options you can think of. They can follow up with you or you may ask to follow up with them instead. This provides a another opportunity to connect and cultivate the relationship.
What happens if I do not have anything to offer a person I am speaking with because our interests and our businesses are so different? It’s okay to explain you are not sure how your interests and programs overlap. Ask the individual if they can see a natural path for partnering. It can spur conversation and ideas may come to you in the process.
How do I start a conversation with a busy person? Explain how you know they are very busy. Ask if they have time to talk now or would prefer a different time. If they say they have five minutes now – explain how the conversation is meant to be helpful for them and five minutes may not give them enough time to see the benefit. Then, schedule a time to talk over breakfast, coffee or lunch. People like to take breaks and these are perfect times to capture someone’s full attention.
Good luck and happy networking. Another article will follow as additional questions come in. You can send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org for answers as well.