Fundraisers, Does Your LinkedIn Profile Establish Trust?

Fundraisers, Does Your LinkedIn Profile Establish Trust?

As a fundraiser, your LinkedIn profile plays an important role in shaping prospective donors’ and partners’ first impressions of you. Even if you’re not reaching out to them directly through the platform, people may still look at your profile to learn more about who you are when deciding whether or not to engage with you. If your profile doesn’t establish trust and credibility and invite conversation, they may leave your message unanswered. 

Beyond basic characteristics like being complete and up to date, a great LinkedIn profile should let the reader know who you are as a fundraising professional and why you’re passionate about your organization’s mission. If readers can’t quickly grasp why you care, they’ll be less inclined to care themselves—which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to set up a meeting with a busy executive or request a major gift. 

If you’re not sure whether your profile is pulling its weight, here are a few immediate steps you can take to audit it and ensure it radiates trust.

Look for language the reader might not understand

If you’ve been working in the nonprofit world for a few years, you’ve likely picked up a few phrases that people outside of the sector won’t be as familiar with. You may even use some terminology that’s specific to your organization. Since you use this conversational short-hand every day, you probably don’t even notice it anymore. But if it shows up on your LinkedIn profile, other people will—and they may be confused. 

Jargon, acronyms, and other industry-specific terminology can make it harder for readers to grasp what you’re trying to say, which in turn makes it harder for them to make an emotional connection. Try to root out this language and replace it with clear, straightforward descriptions that anyone can understand. It may be helpful to ask a friend or family member who doesn’t work in the sector to read through your profile and provide honest feedback, pointing out anything they find confusing or unclear.

Identify opportunities to cut back on adjectives

LinkedIn profiles are often full of adjectives like “dynamic,” “results-oriented,” “collaborative,” and “trusted.” While you may be all of those things, using too many adjectives in your profile may cause people’s eyes to glaze over—because it starts to feel like a sales pitch. 

Focus on telling your story in a clear, direct manner, keeping adjectives to a minimum. Think of it this way: would you describe yourself as a “dynamic, results-oriented, collaborative, and trusted” fundraiser if you were having a face-to-face conversation with a prospective donor? And if someone kept insisting to you that they are “trusted,” would you believe them? Focus on showing, not telling—that’s how you’ll earn your adjectives. 

Weigh up the balance when it comes to accomplishments

Beyond allowing people to research you, your LinkedIn profile is also a way for you to present your skills and accomplishments as you grow your career. But focusing too much on what you have personally achieved may put off people who are deciding whether to engage with your organization. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t sell yourself, but striking the right balance is key. 

Since your LinkedIn headline and summary are the parts potential donors and partners are likely to focus on, use these sections to highlight your nonprofit’s mission and work. What drew you to the organization? What successes has the nonprofit seen so far—and what is there still to do? Tell a compelling story that invites readers to be part of the solution your organization is working toward, then use the sections dedicated to your experience, skills, and accomplishments to share more information about yourself, without it looking like you’re bragging. 

Better profile, better results

Giving your LinkedIn profile a refresh can help you draw people in and encourage them to engage with you. That means more connections, more conversations, and more opportunities to bring people who can make a difference into your nonprofit’s network. 

If you’re looking to elevate your fundraising efforts on LinkedIn, we can help. Reach out to our team to learn how our Nonprofit Fundraising Solutions can help your organization. 

This post was inspired by the LinkedIn Sales Blog article “Does Your LinkedIn Profile Make You Look Like an Approachable Human?” authored by David J.P. Fisher.