As you build your professional network, you will increase your knowledge of the sector, visibility, and awareness. There are several organizations that can play a part in increasing your network:
Local and National Affinity Groups—Find local and national affinity groups, organized around populations served, issue areas, and professional responsibilities.
Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) is an excellent resource for new grantmakers. Their mission is to strengthen the next generation of grantmakers, in order to advance effective social justice philanthropy. Attending their professional development or networking opportunities is a great way to meet folks currently working in philanthropy, graduate students, and staff at regional associations.
Partners in Philanthropy—Philanthropy New York collaborates with numerous organizations that support and advance the field of philanthropy and strengthen the nonprofit sector.
Should I Ask For An Informational Interview?
Informational interviews serve as a networking opportunity as well as a chance for you to learn more about the field that interests you. In his firsthand account, Steve C. Wilson draws attention to the many positive elements of the informational interview event, noting that it is often an underutilized tool to expand your network.
It’s important to note that while informational interviews are a great tool to use as you continue to develop your career, adhering to a particular protocol will increase the likelihood that you continue to be well-received. These two articles highlight some of the best ways to conduct an informational interview:
In short: connect to the right contact, become informed, thank them, and NEVER ask for a job.
Another quick tip: Take advantage of this opportunity to hear a personal account from a successful person in your field of interest. If you can easily research an answer, it’s likely not the best question to pose during your limited time.
For other quick tips on things not to do during an interview, check out this blog that highlights pet peeves.
People enjoy sharing their knowledge and meeting people coming into their sector, so don’t forget to relax and have fun.
Looking for possible questions to ask at your informational interview? Be sure to read What Should I Ask During the Informational Interview?