• August 2012

Robert Egger's Tips on Ways to Network For Change

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Creator
Inkandescent Networking

When it comes to making great connections, Networking is one of the best ways to meet the people who will be your customers, vendors, and colleagues.

And if you want a primer on how to run a successful social business, check out Robert Egger’s Begging for Change, a quick-witted primer that gives readers specific, practical advice on how to directly apply his experience and hard-won wisdom.

Consider Egger’s Rules for Nonprofits:

  • Look at what you do. Are you a 19th century charity or a 21st-century community corporation?
  • The recent downturn in public support for nonprofits isn’t about the economy. It’s about skepticism. The public has had enough with pity and platitudes. Americans want a plan.
  • No matter how good you think you are, you aren’t. Everybody and everything can and will be boring. Always be open to opportunity and push farther and go faster and bring as many people along for the ride as possible.
  • Find balance. Give yourself and your employees time to decompress. A nonprofit career is hard work, and everyone needs some space and time off.

Egger’s Rules for Businesses

  • Collaborate. Think about how much money we would have in every community if we pooled money from the biggest nonprofits, corporate philanthropy, individual donations, and the local government. Throw in the volunteer hours of students, corporate employees, and retirees. Add all of this up. Now tell me, with all of these resources, what can’t we fix?
  • Forget the three-year plan. Those are baby steps. Think Coltrane: Giant Steps. Imagine what your community will look like in 10 years. Combine your resources and your ideas, prioritize your plans, and work toward those goals as a true community.
  • Don’t try to reinvent philanthropy. Just as there are too many nonprofits duplicating services, there are too many corporations and foundations duplicating philanthropic efforts. Philanthropy has to be tied to local politics and partners in the community. If the players are not in sync, their efforts won’t work.
  • Don’t confuse marketing with making a difference. It’s more important for the public to respect you than it is for them to like you. The public wants more than feel-good imagery. They want action.

Egger’s Rules for Volunteers and Donors

  • Hunter S. Thompson says, “When the going gets weird, the weird turns pro.” Some of the best things happen when the train’s moving too fast to jump off. Reward only comes with risk. Recognize the connection between consumption and compassion. The two are no longer mutually exclusive. Support businesses or products that show the link between profit and purpose. The way you spend your money—the power of capitalism—can ultimately decrease the need for charity in the first place.
  • Americans give on average $1,600 a year to nonprofits. Would you invest that much in the stock market without doing research? Ask questions. Demand answers.
  • Don’t scatter your donations. Philanthropy is spread across too many interests. Be selective and be generous, and fund the nonprofit you choose at a level that allows the organization to focus on the mission, not the money.
  • Believe in the impossible. We have the power to make this an amazing society—if we work together. Be part of it. Make waves.

For more thoughts, read our full interview with Egger by clicking here.

Click here to learn more about Egger’s DC Central Kitchen, visit www.dccentralkitchen.org.

And now, on to the upcoming networking events near you: www.InkandescentNetworking.com.

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