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Why do charities network?

We were recently asked by a member of the public why the Charity attended business networking events, especially those that might cost money to attend. It got us thinking as, although we know and recognise the benefits, we realise we haven’t shared them with you. What a great topic to do our next blog on!

There are many professional and business networking breakfasts, lunches and events in and around Devon. We regularly attend just a few but actually they are an essential part of our development strategy.

For example, we have been one of four regular charity members of Business Network South West for some years. Although the Charity members pay like any other member, we also receive a great deal of support from the Network itself and from members. Every year, the December gathering becomes an awareness and fundraising event for the member charities. This alone raised enough to cover our membership last year, but the real benefits are from the relationships built with the other members.

In the past year alone, membership of BNSW and Exeter and East Devon Business Club has led to direct financial support from businesses choosing us as their charity of the year or from cause-related events and promotions raising around £10,000 pa plus free and discounted goods and services saving us more than £10,000. This represents a 95% return on investment. Our single largest (six figure) business supporter over the last three years came on board as a result of meeting our Chief Executive at a business networking lunch.

On top of this, we build individual relationships with people who, even when their businesses move on to support other great causes, continue to support us through personal donations, participating in fundraising events, promoting our key messages, sharing news via social media and even volunteering.

And finally, there are the unquantifiable benefits of networking. Every opportunity to talk to people about our plans and challenges is valuable. We know from experience how this can lead to quite unexpected outcomes. For example, we have met up with patients or relatives, who had not realised until that moment that we only know who we airlift if they get in touch with us. They have gone on to support us as individuals, fundraisers and volunteer speakers, in turn spreading the word in a highly personal and effective way.

Hopefully this reassures readers that, just like all other aspects of our communications strategy, we network because it works. It delivers a bottom line benefit to the charity and therefore to our patients.

Benefits in Brief

  • Free and discounted goods and services
  • Charity of the Year agreements
  • Sponsorship opportunities
  • Fundraising and cause-related marketing
  • Meeting our patients
  • Promoting events
  • Volunteers

Businesses on Board

Get in touch if you think there might be opportunities for your business to get on board:

  • Build your reputation
  • Enhance your brand
  • Develop your people
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