Although networking is usually thought of in terms of building a referral base, making contact with prospective leads or partners and so on, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and other disasters, it quickly becomes apparent that a large, strong, and focused network can be used to do great good for those in need.
Many networks are making the news with their relief efforts. Of course, there are the official groups like the Red Cross and other service organizations. But individuals are calling on their own personal networks to stand up and make a difference, as well. Sports figures are challenging their fellow players to donate money. Celebrities are setting up poker tournaments and fundraising drives, calling on their fans to help their efforts. Local groups of people are coming together to provide housing, emergency supplies and communications access. It seems that wherever more than two people know each other, they’re finding a way to pitch in on the relief effort.
You don’t have to be a celebrity to make a difference. There are many ways to use your network to support those in need. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Hold a tournament of some sort, with entry fees and any sales at the event going toward helping someone in need. Golf, poker, fishing, board games – there are as many ideas as there are enthusiasts for this sort of fundraiser. Look at what your network members already love and see what you can build around that. To make it even more interesting, encourage members of your network to donate fun prizes for winners.
- Put a donation logo on your website or blog and encourage your visitors to use it.
- Send out donation cards or information with your newsletter – or devote an entire issue to ways your network can help.
- Auctions are always popular. Instead of the same old “white elephant” auction, though, why not try something different? For example, try a potluck dinner auction – everyone brings their best recipe in a disposable dish and each meal is auctioned off, with proceeds going to the relief fund.
- Raffles are a fast and fun way to raise funds – especially if the item to be given away is donated. Instead of the normal prize options, try something new. Maybe network members could donate services or products from their businesses to create a “prize package.” Or maybe a local celebrity could be talked into being the prize – they can take the winner out to lunch, offer their professional help or perform a fun and worthwhile service like washing the winner’s car or taking them shopping for a new outfit. The more fun you make the prize, the more money you can raise.
You don’t have to wait for a serious disaster like Hurricane Katrina to mobilize your network to do good works. Civic organizations like the Rotarians and the Lions do this as a matter of course everyday, and there are always plenty of worthy causes, great and small, for your network to join forces with. And don’t think you have to create massive buzz or raise tons of money to make it worthwhile. Even in the biggest disasters, every little bit of help counts.
So whether it is a highly organized annual event or a spur-of-the-moment activity created as a reaction to current events, don’t let your biggest resource – your network – go to waste.
Source by Soni Pitts
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