Networking can work in two ways: a group or individual form a network to stay connected or share ideas; other networks come together for the express purpose of effecting some kind of change.
In the Fall/Winter 2013 issue of “The Nonprofit Quarterly” the editors present a new slant, action networks, those that form just to be connected but wind up taking some kind of action. This can happen because even the loosest of networks do not know they are headed toward an action until they get there, and they might not know they are part of a larger network of concern.
At any rate, the editors cite Claire Reinelt’s “Visualizing the Landscape of Action Networks” to outline the following characteristics of action networks:
- They are diverse and inclusive of multiple organizations and people who have a stake in creating a change.
- They foster trust and accountability by weaving connections through personal relationships.
- They use shared platforms to communicate and track progress.
- They connect resources to catalyze and spread innovation.
- They form a dense core of connections among people and organizations that have a shared purpose, and they actively cultivate new connections to extend reach and influence and foster innovation.