Optimizing Your Corporate Fundraising Strategy on LinkedIn: 5 Tips for Nonprofits
For four years running, LinkedIn has been rated the most trusted social platform by Business Insider Intelligence’s Digital Trust Report. This makes it the perfect place for fundraisers to engage with corporate philanthropy professionals and other potential donors and supporters in a trusted, professional setting. Research shows that LinkedIn members are highly engaged and interested in philanthropy: more than half (53%) donate to nonprofits, and 60% are interested in volunteering. You just need to send them the right message.
To help fundraising professionals optimize their corporate fundraising strategy on LinkedIn, Grace Rochford Everitt, East Coast Manager of LinkedIn for Nonprofits, recently shared some tips and insights in a webinar with Classy. If you missed the event or just want a recap, here are the five top tips that Grace shared.
1. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is complete and tells a compelling story
When potential donors click on your profile, you want them to see something good. A profile that looks incomplete or overly formal might leave them with some doubts, making them less likely to respond to your connection request or messages.
The first thing their eyes will go to is your profile picture, so Grace recommends including a clear, professional headshot that makes your look approachable. You can also change your header image (the banner at the top of your profile), so consider adding a picture related to your nonprofit’s mission. As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Below your profile picture, you’ll see your headline. As a default, it will show your job title—but since people can see that under your work experience anyway, you have an opportunity to add a more memorable and meaningful message here. Why not share a few words about your nonprofit’s mission or what you view as your calling? You can then flesh this out in the summary section, telling a compelling story about your organization and the work you do.
2. Identify people who will resonate with your cause
When you’re looking for people to engage with about corporate philanthropy on LinkedIn, you may naturally be drawn to corporate philanthropy and social responsibility professionals. While this can drive results, it can sometimes be challenging to catch their eye if they’re being flooded with similar messages from other organizations.
As an alternative approach, Grace suggests identifying people who work at the companies you want to engage with that have an affinity for your cause. If your organization is dedicated to helping animals, for example, you might look for people who have volunteered at animal shelters in the past. To do this, you can search for specific keywords using the search bar on LinkedIn, or you use the powerful search capabilities in LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
These people may be able to help you get a foot in the door at their organizations. Or, they may be interested in helping out in a personal capacity, like making a donation or volunteering their time.
3. Get on prospects’ radar before you reach out
Receiving a message from a stranger can be intriguing—but if that message is from someone at an organization you’re familiar with and interested in, the chances of a response are much higher. After connecting with them on LinkedIn but before sending your first message, Grace recommends building your prospects’ awareness of your nonprofit by interacting with content they post, and sharing content of your own.
When you post to your LinkedIn profile or your organization’s LinkedIn Page, your connections and followers receive a notification, so there’s a good chance they’ll see it. But don’t overwhelm people with calls to action. Even if you want them to take a specific action, a healthy balance of informational posts, uplifting stories, and calls to action will be most effective at capturing your prospects’ attention and making them eager to take the next step.
4. Tap into your collective network to find warm introductions
There’s one more thing you can do before reaching out to increase the likelihood of a response: look for a warm introduction. One great thing about LinkedIn is that it makes it easy to identify mutual connections. LinkedIn Sales Navigator makes it even easier, allowing you to quickly map your network and spot people who can vouch for you and your organization to add an extra layer of trust.
You’ll know if you have a mutual connection with a prospect if they’re classed as a 2nd-degree connection on LinkedIn. This essentially means that they’re a connection of one of your connections. Grace notes that if someone is a 3rd-degree connection (basically, a connection of your connections’ connections), you can still find a warm introduction, but you’ll have to go through more people to get it.
5. Make your message stand out
Even if you can’t find a warm introduction, you can still encourage prospects to respond to your outreach by sending the right message. Grace recommends including a catchy and personalized subject line, addressing the prospect by name, and highlighting any personal connection they have to your cause. You can still include templated information about your organization, but if the whole message reads like a generic template, people are unlikely to resonate with it.
In terms of length, keep it short and sweet, and end with clear next steps. If you want to set up time to chat with them, consider including a link to your calendar to make scheduling a breeze. The easier you can make it for prospects to read your message and take action, the more likely they’ll be to do so.
Elevate your fundraising efforts
With 740 million global members, LinkedIn offers a vast opportunity for fundraisers. If you’re not already using the platform for fundraising, we hope these tips will help and inspire you to get started!
To learn more about fundraising solutions from LinkedIn for Nonprofits, contact our Nonprofit Consultants today.