There is no doubt that one of the best ways to network is through volunteer work. Volunteer work puts you in a position of respect and value in the minds of those that not only run the volunteer programs or are seeking volunteers as well as those that contribute volumes, both large and small to programs of various kinds. If you believe that you will have a cause in the future that you may need help with, volunteering now is a great way to make all of the connections you may need in the future.
The thing is, when you become involved in volunteer work you'll be bumping elbows with people that do this all the time. Volunteer work is their work, and they love to help out, to donate money to good causes, and the like. While your motivations should be honest and good, this is a great way to get on a first name basis with those that may be able to help you with your cause in the future. Connections in the volunteer world can be priceless when it comes time for you to host a program or attempt to raise funds for something that is important to you. Being able to send personal invitations or even make personal phone calls to those that might be able to help will give you a better chance of receiving the support you need to get your program off the ground.
On the flip side, if you are constantly looking to support worthy programs to feel good about yourself in addition to being known as a contributing member of the community, volunteer work can help you decide which causes are the best for you. There are so many people out there that would like your help, either with time or money, and it can be difficult to decide which programs most are worthy or where your time and money is best spent. Volunteer work can help you decide which programs are not only most in need, but have the most meaning for you personally. You are probably looking to support programs that have some personal meaning to you, or really have a need for volunteer work or donated funds. Volunteer work can help you really get down to how funds are spent and how much volunteer work is really needed.
Networking is a big part of philanthropy, whatever side of the equation you may be on. There are so many great causes out there that need pledges, volunteer work, and everything else related to philanthropy. Because there are so many opportunities, you may find it difficult to decide where your charity should go, but websites such as [http://www.investinalife.org] can help you decide where you can network to either find out where your philanthropist donations can best be used, or meet those that have what program needs!