We all get so busy- running projects and just doing what we do, that networking can slip far down the priority list- but if we do make time, it can have a massive impact on us, our health and effectiveness…

 

Over the past 2 years since starting this job I have had the privilege of having the time to visit lots of projects/ churches/ charities doing incredible work in their communities. I started doing this to increase my own knowledge and learn, but have been struck again and again by the fact that connecting with like-minded people both locally and nationally can have a big impact on our learning and shape the decisions we make, the time we have to spend on documents and the health of what we do.

Often I meet people who have a passion for something, be it working with homeless people, young people, the isolated, and so on, but they don’t know where to start or how to turn that passion into action. Finding out what is already happening locally should be a key place to start, but often doesn’t as we get caught up in what we are doing.

 

The honest truth is that we are most likely to work with other people and organisations if there is something that we need in the short term- be it a joint funding bid/ something they have, etc,  but the long term benefits and value of building relationships in and for themselves far outweigh the time put in.

 

Building relationships gives us friends that are in a similar boat to us. Feel on your own and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of need where you are? Meet someone else doing the same thing nearby and they will understand that in a way that no one else you know can.

Feel like you are seeing the same people week in week out at the soup kitchen you manage but don’t know if anything is changing? Find others also running soup kitchens in your area and meet with them. Probably you will be seeing a lot of the same people and getting to know each other could lead to you being able to better serve those you meet.

Starting to set up a new project and wade through all the policies you need to write? Find someone else who’s been running something similar for a while who can give you all of theirs!

Building relationships now might mean that down the line, when a situation arises that you could not have anticipated or prepared for, you now know the very person with the expertise to help you.

 

Spending time building relationships with others nearby is an effective and under-valued use of resources and energy and can save huge amounts of work and duplication. Relationship is absolutely key to what we do- those that we have across the county, but also those we can help build between others. If we want to see long term transformation- we need to get out there and network!!

 

If you would like to find out more about how we could support you in this, or the networks we are involved with across the county, do contact one of our Development Workers.