• Nonprofit Learning Lab

3 Ways Nonprofits Can Build A Solid Network


This article was written by Jane Roney for the Nonprofit Learning Lab.

Non-government organizations (NGOs) are groups of people who aim to develop new solutions and approaches to problems from varying sectors like women’s rights, healthcare, the environment, and economic development. The Department of State reports that in 2021, there are around 1.5 million active NGOs in the US alone. They tend to rely on donations and volunteer work as they are typically not owned by private entities and aren’t subsidized by the government.


With the growing number of these kinds of organizations, it is important to build strong connections for the group to be able to perform their tasks. Building a good rapport with people is important in accomplishing this. So, here are some of the other ways you can strengthen your NGO's connections with individuals, benefactors, and the community your serve:


Thank Your Donors and Keep Them Updated

Donors are so important to NGOs. They give donations, either in cash or in-kind, that allows volunteers to do their work and give back to those in need. It is important to keep these figures in the loop and thank them for their kindness, so they know their goodwill has gone to the right people. Our '10 Easy and Effective Ways to Thank Your Donors' article explains that sending letters, giving small but unique gifts, and even posting on social media are great ways to extend your gratitude. You can also email them newsletters and updates on the cause you are working for so they are updated on the activities of the organization. This will help build good relations with past donors and may convince them to be more consistent with their donations, or at the very least, it may encourage other people to become benefactors as well.


Do Outreaches and Immersions

Because NGOs are there to support certain sectors, it is important to do immersions within that community. It is also best to do so with trained social workers. As Maryville University’s social work program details, “learn to create a world of good – from wherever you are,” which means that community outreach workers have a solid foundation on the different frameworks that can assess the problems to find a meaningful solution within certain demographics. They are also equipped with the theoretical knowledge that can help NGOs create a plan of action geared towards helping their beneficiaries.


Having community workers talk to members of the community will help your organization understand issues better with firsthand accounts. They can also reach community members and join them in the cause as they're skilled in discussing social issues. This helps your NGO implement initiatives better.


Follow Through on Your Advocacies and Projects

This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is an important point when it comes to building rapport with the sector you are working with. As Shane Murphy Goldsmith wrote in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, broken promises are a real problem when it comes to philanthropy. Organizations plan to implement certain projects, but they never come to fruition after their announcement. This puts NGOs in a negative light and fewer people will want to work with them in the future. Following through on initiatives you planned means you are helping the community you are advocating for, and that the hard work of the volunteers is not going to waste. This will encourage more people to lend a hand in any way they can as well as help in expanding your network of possible donors. A fruitful organization will be able to garner more supporters in the long run. An NGO's work is difficult, but it will be harder if you are not receiving support. These are just some of the ways organizations can expand their network and create valuable relationships that will last for the long term.

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