Turbocharging Networking: Who Do You Need to Know

If you join the right community organization or become a member of the right cultural institution, you can easily find yourself in the company of HNW individuals. The first step is getting into the same room. The next step is getting onto the right radar screens. Who do you need to know?

Some events involve people wearing nametags. The chamber is a good example. People do not wear name tags at the opera. Even if they did, they do not include “A HNW Individual” or “I’m a UHNW guy.” You might know the names of some people you want to meet, but cruising the room at monthly events tends to randomize your chances of meeting them.

You need to know the right people within the organization. Lets divide them into two categories, volunteers and professionals:

Volunteers You Need to Know

These are the unpaid members, people like yourself, who have taken on leadership roles. They tend to know everybody. Let us look at four categories:

  1. Volunteer heads of committees: Every organization has committees. They tend to either raise money or spend money. There are more people who can spend it vs. those who raise it. As a financial services professional, they know your skill is asking people for money. Try to meet all the committee heads.

  2. Board members. If the organization is prestigious, the board is like Mount Olympus, someplace unreachable in the clouds. Sometimes those committee heads are also board members. The organization’s website will list board members and officers. You want to get onto their radar screens.

  3. The chairman and president. The chairman is often a past president. They might be the founder, if it’s a younger organization. There might be a succession plan in place and the president only serves a term or two. These people are often major donors, so it’s a fair guess they are pretty wealthy.

  4. The leaders of the business council. There are few original ideas. Many organizations have realized they can solicit business support through a separate channel independent of individual memberships. The business council is like a chamber of commerce within the cultural institution. It’s oven been said the wealth in the community is in the hands of business owners. These people can put you in touch with the right people.

Who Do You Need to Know on the Professional Staff

Nonprofits tend to fit into one of two categories: Organizations run by a professional staff with a role for volunteers and volunteer organizations with a small professional staff that provides support. Let us assume yours is a large organization. Here are four people you need to know. They are gatekeepers.

  1. The development director. They are the chief fundraiser. Because their job is raising money, they know everyone who has it. If you have a HNW individual in mind and you would like to meet them, the chances are good they know them already.

  2. The membership director. If everyone who attends events is a member, buy definition the membership director sees all the names and details of everyone who becomes a member. Put another way, it’s highly likely they know everyone. They want new members to feel welcome. Talking with certain people and getting them to feel comfortable is a skill you bring to the table.

  3. The publicity director. They are friends with the press. They can help get your picture in the paper. They do not need to do it all the time. If they point you out, suggest the photographer take a photo and you are described as “always well dressed” the photographer might seek you out in the future, without additional prompting.

  4. The executive director. They run the show. Tyey earn the most. The entire staff reports to them. Everyone wants to know them, but try not to behave like a lemming, chasing after them. Getting an introduction is enough. Respectfully say hello when you see them. They should eventually seek you out.

Knowing the right people should get you a lot closer to getting introductions to the people you want to know,

Related: What Do HNW Individuals Want in an Advisory Relationship?