The Grand Valley is truly blessed with three great service organizations with its Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs. And while networking is either forbidden, discouraged or not the purpose of these organizations, it is obvious to the members and others who know them that the relationships developed within the organizations and in the community are invaluable as they relate to business and so much more.
“At Rotary, we are bound to what we call the Four Way Test,” says Chris Unfug, “And that test asks ‘Is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, will it build goodwill and better friendships and will it be beneficial to all involved?’ If the answer is yes, our members will have a quality, high character relationship, whether it is business or personal.”
“The Kiwanis Club discourages ‘networking’ per se,” says Vikki Bell, “Having said that, we are a very close group of people and with the many service projects we undertake you tend to get to know each other pretty well and let’s face it, people like to do business with people they know, like and respect.”
“Joining any organization to network or promote your business could be devastating to you and that organization,” explains Chris Allen, “However, the more involved you are, the more personally committed you are, the more relationships you will develop and the more you will expand your network both inside and outside the club.”
All of the clubs benefit the community in many ways with the donation of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year through their fundraising along with donating countless volunteer hours. And it is while the members work so diligently at these charitable activities that the real relationships are formed within the organizations. With the solid relationship the members build, referrals are bound to happen.
“We highly encourage our team members to get involved with organizations that they personally believe in and will devote time to,” says Allen. “In the end, many of them build a network of individuals, some of them best friends, that they refer business to and get referrals from.”
“The majority of our members also belong to and participate in other non-profit programs,” says Bell, “Through these activities our members interact and get to know other business leaders in the community. When you are helping children and the community, you’ll build strong relationships through those efforts.”
“We are classified by vocation so when in need of a particular product or service it is easy to network to a specialty,” explains Unfug, “Having a core of business professionals to meet with regularly in a non sales atmosphere creates a unique networking opportunity and atmosphere.”