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Building Donor Lists for Nonprofits to Reach Your Fundraising Goals

Would you rather have your nonprofit’s donor list contain 10,000 strangers or 1,000 contacts you already know care about your cause? 

Fundraising smarter is always more effective than fundraising harder, and it all starts with your donor lists. Organizing smarter donor lists for nonprofits is the difference between connecting with the major supporters and corporate donors who are right for your cause and sending out hundreds of fundraising emails that will end up getting ignored.

Luckily, building these smarter donor lists has never been easier. Follow these steps with LinkedIn Sales Navigator — LinkedIn’s fundraising and sales solution — to create donor lists that will maximize the impact of your next fundraising initiative.

Upload your current list via Comma-Separated Values (CSV) and start tracking on LinkedIn

You can upload and update your existing donor lists to Sales Navigator in a few simple ways, including by adding up to 1,000 accounts straight from your CSVs. The resulting list will be labeled “My CRM Accounts” by default.

Once you’ve uploaded them, use Sales Navigator to filter through your existing CRM lists and prioritize useful information. For example, you could filter by:

  • Size of company: Apply annual revenue, company headcount, and department headcount to your filters to find the largest companies on your lists.

  • Recent growth: Apply Headcount growth, Department headcount growth, or Funding event (within the Recent activities option) to highlight accounts that have grown recently.

  • Buyer Intent: Use Buyer Intent, a special Sales Navigator feature, to see if anyone within an organization on your list follows your nonprofit on LinkedIn, has interacted with your content, or has taken other actions indicating interest. 

Buyer Intent will even assign the accounts within your CRM lists a Buyer Intent score based on how likely they are to be interested in hearing from you. Consult these scores in the Buyer Intent Dashboard in Sales Navigator, where you can start tracking high-intent account activity on LinkedIn.

A view of the Buyer Intent dashboard in LinkedIn Sales Navigator showing that the Buyer Intent score is very high and key factors affecting this score include Company Page Visits and high InMail acceptance.

After uploading and filtering your list, you can also make new lists for custom tracking based on your findings. For example, you could sort the top 20 major donors in your CRM list into a “high-intent” list and then set up Sales Navigator alerts for whenever the account or even individuals inside it perform specific actions on LinkedIn. 

Build new lists with advanced search functions and save searches for future use

Sales Navigator provides unlimited searches of LinkedIn’s member base and features over 40 advanced search filters you can choose from. Use a combination of these filters and Sales Navigator’s Exclusion Search function to find prospective donor organizations and individuals that match the specific criteria you’re looking for.

You can use Buyer Intent to organize search result lists by Buyer Intent score just like you can with pre-created lists. This will help you identify the organizations that both fit your search criteria and are likely to be interested in making a donation or supporting your organization in some other way. 

After you narrow down your search criteria, save both your results and the criteria itself by clicking “Save Search” in the upper-right corner of your results page. 

When you save a search, you can also set up daily, weekly, or monthly alerts notifying you of new leads who match the search criteria. These alerts can help you keep track of new leads as soon as they become available.

Combine your custom alerts, lists, and saved searches to ensure your notifications are as helpful as possible. For example, the LinkedIn sales team uses a list that notifies them whenever it discovers new leads that match saved search criteria, have never been contacted, and do not appear in the CRM list.

Make lists of individual high-intent contacts within target companies

Relationship Explorer and TeamLink are two advanced functionalities in Sales Navigator that allow you to dive even deeper into your donor lists to find individual champions at companies you’re targeting. 

TeamLink shows you the first-degree connections of everyone on your team. By using TeamLink to filter your donor lists, you can find any individuals within your tracked organizations who have connections to someone on your team.

Illustration of two people with a dotted line between them, indicating a connection.

Relationship Explorer takes this a step further by proactively analyzing your tracked organizations for the individuals with the highest buyer intent working there. This feature can show you up to eight of these leads ranked according to different “Spotlight” insights indicating how likely they are to talk to you.

You can create lists of individual contacts just like you can for organizations. Track particularly active leads to look for signs of buyer intent, such as visiting your nonprofit’s LinkedIn Page or checking out your leader’s LinkedIn profile. Then, leverage your mutual connections with these individuals to create a personalized, “warm” introduction.

Successful fundraising isn’t about the number of messages you send — it’s about sending the right message to the right person at the right time. By using Sales Navigator to create your donor lists, you can fundraise smarter and secure more support for your organization. 

To start using LinkedIn Sales Navigator at your nonprofit, get in touch with our sales team today.