Guest Post: Notes from a Networker

Since the economy tanked I’ve been doing a lot of networking. This intermittent series of notes will review some of the networking groups and events I’ve experienced, and list future opportunities I may be going to.

Please note: the networking experience is essentially random, so please take my opinion with a grain of salt! I suggest: when in doubt, check it out. The more repulsive and unpromising an event sounds to me, the more likely it is that I’ll force myself to go — and it is usually worth it.

Greendrinks NYC (site)

This is a very stylish monthly gathering at different bars and venues in Manhattan, There is also a Brooklyn Greendrinks which I haven’t been to yet. The event attracts people who own or are interested in sustainability businesses. I ran into a lot of freelance journalists, green construction contractors, and green consultants — many of whom seemed clueless about what business they were in. But some were pretty interesting…

BNI (Business Networking International) (site)

This is the huge network everyone has heard of. I know a number of people have done well by BNI. Well, I couldn’t handle it. I was in a suit for a 7:30am meeting, barely able to function. The atmosphere was hardcore sales, which I don’t relate well to. But it might work for you — because there are so many chapters, the group culture varies depending on who belongs.

Association of Fundraising Professionals (site)

This is an association of development professionals — the salespeople of the non-profit world. There are local chapters in NYC, Hudson Valley, NJ and Long island. The monthly events are seminars — which I found frustrating for networking because you have 5 minutes before and 10 minutes after — and you have to sit through it! I’d suggest checking out Fundraising Day in June, which the big annual event of AFP NY. The other chapters have big events in November, for Philanthropy Day.

Random Events and Links

Peter Levinson is principal of LevinsonBlock LLC, a marketing and design firm. Our approach is pragmatic — our goal is help our clients connect with their target audience and make money. We build usable websites; develop brand strategies and brands; create persuasive content; and design print.