Building a Network Contact List

Building a network contact list will make your life easier by keeping a comprehensive record of all your contacts in one place, and will save you the hassle of trying to recall contact details at a later date. Having all of your contacts in one place might make identifying who to reach out to for help easier, or by browsing through your contacts you might realise the potential for a partnership between yourself and others, or that you should introduce some of your mutual contacts.

Your network contact list should include basic information: Name, email address, organisation/business; and any relevant details or info about them. A contacts address book is one way to store contacts, but can be difficult to update. A useful way to save this type of information can be in an Excel spreadsheet, where you can create columns, input large amounts of data, and edit information easily. The example below gives a useful format that could be used with electronic (Excel) and hard copy (address book) to store information.

Case Studies

The South-Estonian Food Network was established as a cooperative in 2008, after a 3-year international collaboration with Scottish rural experts. The goal was to improve selling options for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in south Estonia by connecting farmers, processors and marketers to improve access and strengthen the capacity of rural SMEs to sell their goods into the supply chain.

Using a combination of digital technologies and networking to create partnerships and collaborations, the South-Estonian Food Network has now become a highly successful vendor of organic agricultural produce and improved access to markets for SMEs in rural Estonia. The timeline shows the journey that they took to build their network.