How many times have you heard the phrase: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”?
If you’re anything like me you’ve heard it more times than you can remember, and whilst I used to dismiss this simple statement out of hand, the further I get through life the more truth I see in it. True, you can achieve great things on your own with “what you know”, but just think of what you could achieve if you were to tap into the years of knowledge and experience held by other people…
Through a strong professional network you increase exponentially “what you know” through “who you know”. Whilst I’m not saying that you have to share all your trade secrets or hand out your best ideas to other organisations, there are very real incentives to pooling your intellectual resources.
I’ve worked with a vast array of databases and I’ve come to learn that there is nothing more valuable than having a strong working relationship with a Super User. When you’re stuck you can avoid wasting hours trawling the internet or wading through endless user guides, by simply firing off an email to that person.
“So what’s in it for me?” you might ask as a Super User. Well, first and foremost we work in the not-for-profit sector, and giving is what we do best. Consider it a donation of your time. Secondly, and from a more business-centric point of view, never doubt the innovations that come from an unfettered, unbiased mind. These “new-bloods” of the fundraising world will have different perspectives and ideas that may never have made it into the “what you know” category.
I firmly believe that one of your greatest professional assets is the people you know and the connections you have made. Never underestimate the power of people.