If you are interested in networking and people who share the same interests – check out .   This is a global networking site that lets you select a geographic area, and then browse categories of interests.  You can see how many people are registered in a particular meetup group and click JOIN.

Most of the groups are free and it is easy to see which ones are active and have meetings. You can even setup your own meetup group on any topic that interests you.  You will see there is a variety of groups – social, sports, business and professional, cultural etc.

This is a great way to meet new groups of people.  When you are traveling or if you move into a new area check out what’s happening and it may be a quick way to get yourself involved with like-minded people.

Linked IN

I have been a member of the online networking site LinkedIn for several years but I wasn’t using it.  If someone invited me to join their network and I knew them – I would click and agree.  That was about it. Recently I decided to take a closer look and this appears to be a very useful networking platform to not only have your own network – but also to expand your network to new people who are in related professions, geographic area or who are related through your own contacts.

After you have your free registration – you login using your email address and password.  Your HOME page tracks recent activity – new connections you have made, links to people you might know – based on logic related to your profile contents, new connections that your network of people has made.

It is very easy to add new connections from your address book.  I was very leery of doing this as I dislike applications that take all your data and just blast out an email to everyone.  However I did a small test and it is very easy to use and lets you pick and choose who you will invite, add your own personalized messages – and you have a tracking page to see who has accepted your invitations, or any email addresses that didnt work.

If you haven’t tried it yet – it is worth a look.

View Denise Davies's profile on LinkedIn

Find Interest Groups

SunflowerThere are many social networks on the Internet. Try to find interest groups that meet in your geographic area. For example – you click on the tab for “Meetups by City” and you browse categories and topics that are interesting to you. In the listing it will show the number of people in any group. You can click on a group and find out their profile and activities and if you are interested you can signup for the group. There is no charge for joining groups. Some groups do ask that you send in your information before you will be joined as a member.

Then you can RSVP for specific group activities. This is a great way to meet people who share your same interests. These include professional interests such as business networking, social such as hiking or cooking, sports etc.

For your nonprofit promotion you can look for groups that might be interested in your organization. You can also setup your own meetup group.