Lunchtime Links: The Importance of Helping Others

How being generous makes for a more fulfilling networking experience. Also: Tips for promoting online donations.

Do you give as much as you take? Why keeping score isn’t a successful networking strategy, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Giving back: Most people network with their professional communities when they need something. But networking expert and speaker Thom Singer says that people who network solely for self-serving reasons often miss out on valuable opportunities and connections. His advice: Be generous of spirit. “Do things for others. Do not keep score. Assisting another person in achieving their goals will make you valuable,” writes Singer on his blog Some Assembly Required. “When it comes to successful connections you must make your relationship about the other people first,” he explains. “This could be via introductions, through sharing your knowledge, or by helping promote their cause.” How do you network?

Online donations: Recent data from The Chronicle of Philanthropy show that online donations grew by 14 percent from 2011 to 2012. Does your association promote online giving? Caryn Stein, director of content strategy for the online donation site Network for Good, recently posted a few tips for associations looking to improve their online giving programs. “Do everything you can to make it dead simple for your donors every step of the way,” writes Stein on Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog. “Remove anything that is a barrier or distraction. Remove unnecessary options or anything that may cause confusion—or it will cost you donations. When you think you’ve made your donation process easy, try simplifying it even further. Then ask yourself, is it easy enough?”

Collaborative education: What could your association possibly learn about professional development from a school for computer hackers? The Hacker School is a three-month, full-time, hands-on program for computer programmers in New York City. Rather than place students in structured classes graded by instructors, the unorthodox school pairs young programmers with experienced facilitators who work with students to complete collaborative projects. “We just literally facilitate people becoming better programmers, sitting down and collaborating on code with students,” Hacker School facilitator Mary Rose Cook told the tech site Mashable in an interview. “We’re students as well as facilitators, and we have our own projects as well—so we try to work on cool, interesting things, both to keep us occupied and excited and to act as inspiration for other people at our school.” Does your association embrace collaboration in its education programs?

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Anita Ferrer

By Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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