March 29, 2017
 
Nonprofit Professionals Connect and Network

Leigh Tucker formed group
When nonprofit professionals want to learn of job opportunities, or just keep in touch, they go to the Nonprofit/Higher Education/Healthcare networking group.

Developed by Leigh Tucker, Director of the Nonprofit Practice at Accounting Management Solutions (AMS) in Westborough, the group, now in its third year, meets monthly at the UMass Club in downtown Boston. Most attendees, whether seeking work or not, derive significant value from meeting others and establishing contacts. AMS supports the group by defraying operating expenses.

The group welcomes people seeking information about and contact within the nonprofit community.

Jonas Goldenberg, who worked for eight years as a consultant focused on organizational development, executive coaching, and training, decided in late 2005 he wanted to return to his nonprofit roots and is seeking an senior level position. For him, the networking group has been helpful.

“The group helped me make contacts that have led to information interviews and pointed me in directions I might not have pursued otherwise,” said Goldenberg. “I’ve also gotten feedback on how I present myself, which is invaluable.”

Beyond the feedback, Goldenberg finds the networking reason enough to attend. “Networking is what people need to do over their lifetimes; it never stops. Leigh’s group supports that idea.”

Laura Gassner-Otting concurs. As president of the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group, she helps people find nonprofit jobs and consults with nonprofits on ways to improve their hiring.

“I constantly tell people who are looking for a job to spend 75 percent of their time networking. Beat the bushes and take advantage of people like Leigh who know lots of people. He’s done a lot of the leg work for you and can refer you to others. Referring is very powerful.”

Nathalie Rose, CFO at Crittenton, one of Boston’s premier community-based family support organizations, learned of the networking group when she was in transition. She decided to continue to attend meetings after starting her current assignment although she isn’t looking for a job.

“The group offers a cordial and non-pressured environment to stay connected to the nonprofit and financial community,” Rose explains. “By expanding it beyond financial people, Leigh has made it into an active networking group that lets everyone know what’s going on in the nonprofit world.”

Gassner-Otting says now is a good time to look for nonprofit jobs: “Every headhunter I know who does nonprofit work is busier than ever before.”

She attributes the higher demand by nonprofits to a number of factors, including a growing professionalization of the nonprofit sector,. This, in turn, attracts many qualified people, including MBAs, who wouldn’t necessarily have considered working for nonprofits in earlier years, she says.

“Nonprofits are getting savvier and the sector is getting more competitive as donors look to fund capacity, such as a database, that can help an organization expand its reach, in contrast to simply funding an existing program year after year,” she explains. “This is helping to attract savvier professionals.”

For more, email Leigh Tucker .

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