Tonight I had the opportunity to network with a wonderful group of female attorneys from Snell & Wilmer and their clients.  Every year, this prestigious law firm hosts a Women’s Networking Event.  Last year, they hosted a fabulous evening at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens with free admission to see the Chihuly Exhibit.  Tonight the event was at the Phoenix Art Museum and it featured the Ansel Adams collection.

Many believe networking is for people in sales or for those who love to be social; however, there so many benefits that are not always apparent to the nonprofit professional.  Yes, it can be fun.  And yes it can be exhausting at times, but it’s well worth the effort.  I’ve grown both professionally and personally through the people I’ve met because I’ve actively gone out and networked.  For me, networking is essential to my success. 

As a nonprofit professional, it’s difficult to strictly find networking events geared towards nonprofit.  Networking amongst nonprofit professionals normally happens at conferences and seminars.  Luckily a lot of nonprofit events in the Valley allow time for people to network.   ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation and The Phoenix Business Journal through their Nonprofit Business Summit are great opportunities to meet nonprofit professionals at different stages in their careers. A nonprofit professional can also choose to join associations or networks.  Two that I belong to are YNPN Phoenix (Young Nonprofit Professionals Network) and the Nonprofit Professionals Meet-Up.

Even though I’m in nonprofit, I do not limit my networking opportunities to strictly nonprofit events and associations.  Networkingphx.com has a great calendar of events.  If you chose to, you could go to an event (or multiple events) every day of the week. Sometimes just looking at the calendar can be overwhelming, but it is also nice to see that there are so many opportunities to networking.  Over the years, I’ve developed an eye for great networking opportunities throughout the Valley.

Snell & Wilmer Women’s Networking Event is tops on my list.  I love the idea of having events at arts and cultural venues.  I’ve wanted to go to the Phoenix Art Museum for a long time.  I saw this as a perfect opportunity to go. This also gave me the opportunity to talk to this group of women about my work with children at risk of abuse and neglect.  This is a great group for potential supporters and donors.

The Phoenix Business Journal also has great events.  Their monthly BizMix events are always popular and some of them even include giving back to the community.  Another event of the Phoenix Business Journal that I always look forward to is their Book of Lists Party.  The venue for this event is always unique.  Last year, it was held at the Fifth Avenue & Madison Event Center.  For the most part, it looks like an empty warehouse, but it’s a great location to host an elegant event.  The Phoenix Business Journal did an awesome job converting it to their “Route 66” Theme. 

For many of these events, people who attend are professionals from different industries, but for the most part, its geared towards the business community.  As a fundraiser, I find these events perfect opportunities to meet supporters and potential donors.  Many times I’m the only nonprofit professional attending the event.  Bottomline:  If you are a nonprofit who needs funding, go to where there’s money :).

I am not overly outgoing and sometimes I don’t break out of my shyness until I have at least a glass of wine, but I know that networking is important in my ability to do my job and to be successful at it.  Personally, networking has opened many doors for me and I know it can be beneficial for others.  You may not need it for your job, but you never know who you will meet.  You may meet the person who might be your ticket to your next job or can connect you to your next professional endeavor.  So my advice, put yourself out there and network.  There are many opportunities and you won’t regret it 🙂

P.S.:  I need one more day to unveil my announcement.  Please check in tomorrow.  The suspense is killing you…right??

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