Relationship building secrets for nonprofit CEOs from one of today’s top networkers

I had an animated conversation yesterday with a colleague of mine about how most people today absolutely stink at networking. Because both of us are passionate about using social media to make great connections, we shared our frustrations over how most people think that setting up a profile on LinkedIn or Twitter and then automating all their posting (without actually being there to manage any interactions made) is what social media is about. They do whatever they can whether it be purchasing “fans” or becoming an open networker (ie saying “yes” to any connection for the sake of growing their number of contacts regardless of whether they actually know the person making the connection request).

globe throwing


My colleague (being a social media consultant) agreed with me that most people have become obsessed with the volume of connections and seem to have completely forgotten about focusing on improving the value of those relationships. I love how marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk said in a video I watched recently that the pure number of people on your list is essentially irrelevant compared to who you have on that list. He made a case that if your only two Twitter followers were your good friends Oprah and Obama, you would be way further ahead than someone who had bought 1,000,000 faceless fans. At the end of the day, the real key to your net worth (like the cliché says) is in building high trust relationships with those in your network.

As I was browsing the CausePlanet book summary library this morning I came across a title that immediately caught my eye: “It’s Not Just Who You Know: Transform Your Life and Your Organization by Turning Colleagues and Contacts Into Lasting, Genuine Relationships” by Tommy Spaulding. This seemed interesting. Maybe Tommy would have some advice for those of us who are trying to make real connections in a world obsessed with superficiality and convenience? I grabbed a notepad and downloaded the summary.


The part of the book that stood out to me most was the below table describing 5 levels of relationships:



For most of us, the majority of our relationships fall into the first and second floor category; however, the author that everyone should work towards building a strong Fifth Floor team that’s made up of people not because of what they can do for you, but what you and that team can do together.


What does CausePlanet say about how this applies to you as a new nonprofit Executive Director?

According to author and researcher Theda Skopcol, the nonprofit sector has evolved over the second half of the 20th century from member organizations driven by volunteer staff to a prevalence of organizations run by paid staff to satisfy preferences of large and small private foundations. Other factors such as increasing number of nonprofits and the onset of technology to facilitate more giving contributed to a climate of competition for resources versus collaboration. Consequently, how to differentiate one’s organization from the other is bolstered by, in many cases, who is involved. The true measure of any successful nonprofit can be evaluated by examining the relationships they have in the community. Nonprofit leaders must understand how to gather a genuine following among their donors, friends and advocates—and community outreach depends on the principles that Spaulding spells out in his book.


If you’re like me and desire deep, significant, influential relationships with key leaders in your space but aren’t sure really where to start, become a CausePlanet subscriber to access the full book summary and dozens of other amazing resources – let them know I sent you by using the coupon code NEXT LEVEL NONPROFITS.  This is one book you absolutely need to have in your library.


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