Finding likeminded people: the best digital/online charity networking resources
09 Apr 2020by Zoe Ruibal-Buxton
We’ve put together a short guide to online resources for meeting, connecting and chatting with likeminded people in the charity sector.
Networking can often seem daunting in the real world; some may even approach it with a cynical, one-track mindset. The much anticipated ‘networking drinks’ section of any event doesn’t always go according to plan and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, not knowing where to begin. Taking things online can make the process a little more comfortable.
Even if you feel right at home in these environments, you may not know where to start looking for online events. Either way, there’s plenty of options out there for you. Networking doesn’t have to mean constant promotion; online environments offer an opportunity to share knowledge and help each other out while still building valued connections for your organisation.
There are many welcoming digital forums out there to help you and your charity form newfound connections with likeminded people and organisations that share your goals.
Whether you want to meet likeminded people, need a question answered or just want to start a conversation, there are plenty of online resources at your disposal. We’ve put together a short guide to online networking resources for charities and listed of some of the best ones to get you started:
Facebook groups are a great way to get quick answers to your questions, share resources and start conversations.
People are usually friendly and willing to help a fellow charity worker out as best they can. Keeping in touch with fellow charity professionals can help you stay up to speed with the latest developments in the sector.
Some Facebook groups are more active than others, so it’s wise to do some research before joining up. Alternatively, you can join the group, have a look around and see if it’s right for you, then decide whether to stay or not. It’s also worth noting that some charity Facebook groups do require you to answer a few basic questions before joining.
- Fundraising Chat: a large group with over 12,000 members, Fundraising Chat is a useful resource when it comes to specifically fundraising-focused questions or connections.
- Third Sector PR and Comms: a great group to ask for advice and have discussions around relevant marketing, PR and comms topics in the charity sector.
- Charity Meetup: Charity Meetup is a great resource if you’re looking to build connections and share skills with fellow charity workers. Information about the friendly and informal meetups that are happening is regularly posted in the group (which have been turned virtual with covid-19). The group is also a place to ask questions, post articles and get access to useful resources.
- Covid 19 Charity Preparedness: in our current circumstances, this group is an informative resource when it comes to dealing with coronavirus in the charity sector.
- Charity Digital Forum/Events: what would a Facebook group recommendation list be without mentioning our very own one? Join the group to ask any questions, share useful material and keep up to date with Charity Digital events.
Linkedin has many groups aimed at charities. However, while a select few charity groups do have a large number of members the activity rate is somewhat slower. Nonetheless, members do still post links to webinars, articles, etc. that could be of use to your charity. Here are some potential ones to join:
There are loads of brilliant websites out there for charities to locate events happening near them, where you are sure to meet people from across the sector who have similar interests. Websites are also valuable communication tools, with many offering forums and conversation platforms for charities.
Find local meetups and activities, access forums or see what educational events, talks and conferences are happening across the sector. The websites below all offer useful event information for you and your charity to benefit from:
- NetSquared: NetSqaured brings together tech and the third sector, focusing on celebrating tech for good by providing friendly and informative events which are hosted in 60 different cities. NetSquared events offer a fantastic opportunity to learn about tech and ask any questions you may have to tech experts and other charity workers. Most of their events are now being run virtually, due to coronavirus.
- Meetup.com: although not tailored exclusively to the charity sector, it does advertise charity events, as well as advertising loads of great digital and tech events. The website shows what’s happening near you, catering to a huge variety of hobbies, activities and interests.
- Charity Comms: under the ‘events’ section of their website, you’ll find loads of fantastic events on a variety of topics in the charity sector- a great opportunity for networking. Most of their events are now also being run virtually, due to coronavirus.
- Charity Connect: Charity Connect is a free online community for UK charity professionals which aims to be a hub of shared knowledge in the charity sector. Once signed up, members can start conversations and ask questions in any of the discussion hubs. Charity connect has a strict no advertising, recruitment or fundraising appeals rule. Rather, sharing helpful, friendly and constructive advice is the goal, as well as building personable connections with other charity professionals.
- WeMakeChange.org: individuals can sign up to the website as ‘ChangeMakers’ who are interested in volunteering. As a charity, you can register an NGO account and then recruit these volunteers for projects you post on the site. It’s a great way to promote your initiatives to the rest of the community and connect with people who support your cause.
- The Funding Network: The Funding Network is a little different to other networking resources in that it’s a paid network aiming to connect small charities and social change organisations with potential donors through live crowdfunding events. There are different membership tiers, each allowing for differing levels of participation and event attendance.
- Media Trust: Media Trust aims to connect charities, young people and marginalised groups with the media and creative industries. They put on events, provide resources and run programmes that encourage these industries to share their knowledge and creativity with charities. Media Trust advocates the importance of equipping their beneficiaries with digital skills and their events are a fun and creative way to meet likeminded people and expand your charity’s reach.