How to Become Part of the Social Entrepreneurial Community

Community

Image courtesy of Ian Sane at http://www.flickr.com

Maybe you are a social entrepreneur, a small-business owner looking to make a difference or perhaps you’re a freelance writer, publishing stories about sustainability, CSR and social impact.

Whatever the case may be, does your impact-driven work leave you feeling a bit isolated?

We’ve all caught the dreaded cabin fever at some point in our careers and the often alternative to this–renting a table at the local coffee shop–gets old pretty quickly.

Similar to our honey-making friends, sometimes we need the action and energy of a beehive around us in order to get the job done. Networking, sharing ideas and working as a team can create incredible end results.

The good news is that the beehive community for social entrepreneurs exists.

Believe it or not, there’s a huge community and network of people out there, just waiting for like-minded individuals such as yourself to join them.

If you’re looking to build your network and discover that sense of belonging within the social entrepreneurial community, consider the following four options:

1. Get a Better Workspace

That’s right, I mean a PHYSICAL and real place where you can meet other social impact builders and get work done. Instead of hanging out at home in pyjamas (apparently this is a big no-no according to experts in the field of productivity), many social entrepreneurs are spending more time at places like Impact HUB and CSI (Centre for Social Innovation). Though there may be a fee associated with renting a space, entrepreneurs will instantly gain access to a network of like-minded individuals and companies.

What a fabulous way to build your network!

Workspaces like Impact HUB also offer an array of events, meetings and opportunities, making it much more than just a trendy office space.

2. Become a Member

Becoming part of a movement that promises and guides social impact may be what you’ve been searching for all along. There is a myriad of options here, but if you’re looking to certify your business, consider becoming B Corporation certified. However, other certification organizations such as Fair Trade USA and the Rainforest Alliance may also suit your needs, dependant on your industry.

Apart from certification-driven membership, you can also think about joining a community such as Net Impact, which provides members with exclusive opportunities and resources. A free basic membership gives you access to their job board and access to standard content and resources. However, the premium membership offers members access to a wealth of resources (including webinars) and a discounted conference price. You’ll also be supporting a great cause and will receive a tax deductible receipt for your membership fees.

Opportunities to join other networks such as 3BL Media and CSRwire may also be useful to you if you plan on partnering with a content distribution platform.

3. Embrace the Virtual and Online World

The online community can be an integral component to building and strengthening your network of contacts within the social entrepreneurial sphere and beyond. Checking out blogs from like-minded individuals and heading over to Twitter to engage in meaningful chats are fantastic ways to expand your network.

4. Do it Yourself

Though it may be difficult to find that niche social entrepreneurial community in your location (especially if you don’t live in a large city), think about forming a group of your own.

Meetup is a great resource to either start a new group or join a preexisting group. As a group, you can plan meetings, events and communal work sessions. Can’t find the group you’re looking for? Create one yourself and build a network of like-minded individuals to make your entrepreneurial journey more collaborative, engaging and connected.

Consider reaching out to other groups that may be beneficial to you. Join a writers guild, a book club or Toastmasters. Use broader networks to feel more connected, while simultaneously, bringing your specific and personal interests and expertise to the table.

Build a community around you and scale your impact further with the support and motivation of the social entrepreneurial community.

Have you submerged into an amazing community that motivates and strengthens your social impact initiatives? And have you found an alternative to the lonely coffee shop? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

If you want to hear more about social impact, networking, community building and corporate social responsibility, follow the blog and follow me on Twitter @CSRtist.

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