First time guest post from Beccy Allen, Creative Director STEP ( Southwark Theatres’ Education Partnership).
So, when the Director of the biggest arts network organisation in your field and locality takes you out for lunch and suddenly asks, halfway through a plate of pasta, “So, why do you think you’re so good at networking?”, you suddenly realise that this is more than lunch at a lovely little Italian in Camberwell.
Following a few minutes’ discussion about his research paper on whether you can teach networking to those who are bad at it, I had a eureka moment about networking, fundraising and profile in the 3rd Sector.
The Director in question commented that I am a “natural networker” (why, thank you) because I’m not afraid to ask for anything, mainly because of always being willing and eager to help (that’s charity for you, darling). So, turns out that the profile of the arts charity I work for, STEP (Southwark Theatres’ Education Partnership) rests on the favours its Director asks for.
The cheekier she is, the more “What did STEP ask you for this week?” conversations that take place around the water coolers of plush, central London offices and the closer STEP gets to attracting just a little more funding and profile. Brilliant.
All non-natural networkers take note: ask for more; get more. Turns out Mums and Dads were right on that score.