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6 Simple Ways to Strategically Use LinkedIn for Non-Profit Fundraising

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By Jeremy Woolf, New Media and Corporate Communications Director, CCS

LinkedIn is a terrific tool for non-profits that is often underutilized. It is designed to explore individuals’ personal and professional connections and highlights work experience, educational background, and “degrees of separation” more effectively than both Facebook and Twitter. Pew Research Center’s Internet American Life Project uncovered that as of September 2013, 22% of online adults use LinkedIn. Even more interesting is that the study determined that 38% of American online adults with annual household incomes over $75,000 use LinkedIn.

Is your non-profit institution using LinkedIn to its fullest to connect with these online adults with above-average means? Here are 6 easy ways to use LinkedIn for your fundraising…

1. Research Your Existing Donors & Prospects: LinkedIn is a helpful tool to verify information on your current donors and prospects. Simply type a name into the search bar at the top of your LinkedIn page and view a donor’s employment and educational history, interests, volunteer opportunities, causes, and connections (just to name a few!). It is also a great way to see your prospective donors’ birthdays and jobs changes, for stewardship and cultivation activities such as congratulatory notes and cards.

2. Find New Prospective Donors: Even without a Premium LinkedIn account, you can search for new prospects on LinkedIn using an Advanced Search. It will allow you to narrow your search by current company, relationship and school for free. You get to search on even more filters, like Years of Experience, Job Function, Interested In, and Seniority Level, when you upgrade to a Premium account. You can also reach new prospects by building a presence in LinkedIn Groups that are related to your cause. By posting interesting articles and relevant information about your cause in groups, new contacts will raise their hands to indicate that they are interested in your mission.

3. Encourage Your Advocates to Publicly Support Your Cause: LinkedIn Profiles have space to share volunteer experience and causes. Why not encourage your existing supporters and volunteers to promote your organization on their profiles? This will encourage their networks to learn more about your cause and soon their friends of friends could be donating to your organization. You can read more about how to do this here.

4. Build a Non-Profit Company Page as a Communication Channel: Set up a LinkedIn company page for your organization and start building your base of followers. This will enable you to not only market your organization, but also to communicate with followers on a regular basis. The page will also act as a forum for dialogue and will lead to increased engagement. Are you sharing news of your organization and mission on LinkedIn? Are you posting updates about your annual fund to those interested in your cause? If not, you should be! And be sure to track your number of new followers and number of engagements to see how you’re doing and measure success. You can learn more about setting up a company page with this SlideShare.

5. Identify Skilled Volunteers and Board Members ($): LinkedIn reports that there are more than 259 million registered professionals on LinkedIn, and that 82% of them are interested in volunteering. By posting an opportunity for a skilled volunteer, which has a small charge, you can find volunteers with the skills and experience your institution needs. LinkedIn reports that these postings average less than $50. LinkedIn also reports that 78% of members surveyed would be interested in joining a non-profit board. You can learn more about its Board Member Connect tool here.

6. Target Donors with Sponsored Updates ($): Have you thought about how to use LinkedIn for proactive fundraising? LinkedIn has the infrastructure to reach out to prospective donors using InMail and to targeting the right donors with customized content. Consider working with a LinkedIn representative to develop a plan to target your constituents. For example, if you’re a university, you can set up posts about your annual fund to display for alumni in a certain age range with certain titles. You could also send those same alumni an InMail two weeks later with more information about your annual fund. This multi-pronged approach to touching your constituents can be costly but very valuable.

($) indicates that there is a fee associated with the LinkedIn service.

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool, and when embedded into your workflow can help non-profits achieve great fundraising results. It allows you to instantly see an individual’s self-reported affinities. It enables you to quickly identify the connectors in the crowd as well as the individuals in your donors’ circle. I encourage you to think more about how to turbocharge your networking by harnessing the clout of LinkedIn. You can read more about how to build your non-profit’s presence on LinkedIn’s website for non-profits.

How else is your non-profit organization using LinkedIn?

Comment below, email info@ccsfundraising.com or share your ideas on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

Visit CCS’s website to learn more about how CCS is helping extraordinary organizations champion inspirational causes.

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