In this Master Class discussion about leadership networking at nonprofits, Julia Patrick, the CEO of the American Nonprofit Academy, emphasizes the importance of connecting with leadership, encouraging nonprofits to look beyond their own organizations and collaborate with a broader network of leaders to maximize their impact and influence in their communities. By sharing stories, building connections, and fostering a sense of community support, nonprofits can achieve greater success in their missions.

The conversation starts with the realization that many nonprofit leaders don’t know each other well enough, despite being part of the same community. Even though leaders are often well-known in the public eye, there are significant gaps in their knowledge about each other’s organizations and activities.

The discussion emphasizes the need for nonprofit leaders to actively connect and share their stories with one another, especially in a post-pandemic world where in-person networking opportunities have diminished. They discuss the significance of creating a leadership list that includes a wide range of leaders, including those from different sectors like education, faith, government, media, and boards of directors. The purpose of this list is to foster collaboration, share knowledge, and identify opportunities for joint ventures, partnerships, or support.

Julia recommends using a basic spreadsheet to manage the leadership list, including names, affiliations, and email addresses. The communication should be concise, focusing on impact and achievements rather than solely on fundraising. Calls to action, such as inviting leaders for tours or roundtable discussions, can help strengthen connections.

The conversation also highlights the importance of reaching out to faith leaders and those in the education sector, including school leaders and university presidents, as they play crucial roles in shaping the community’s future.