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Rekindling Corporate Donor Relationships with Sales Navigator

Managing donor relationships is a delicate and often tricky process, especially when your donors are major corporations with shifting priorities and leadership teams. To keep these donors engaged, it’s important to ensure your nonprofit’s work remains top of mind.

Of course, this won’t always be possible. As time passes and organizations change, your relationships with your donors will change, too. In some cases, a corporate donor may need to pause or stop their support altogether, often for reasons beyond your control. But just because these relationships cool doesn’t mean they have to be lost forever. One of the best aspects of LinkedIn is that it gives teams like yours the tools to establish professional connections and build or rebuild mutually beneficial partnerships.

With the help of Sales Navigator, LinkedIn’s sales and fundraising solution, your nonprofit team can strategically manage donor relationships, reconnect with corporate donors, and foster the kind of partnerships that lead to long-term support. Here are a few ways to make that happen:

Existing donor relationships

Set up custom account activity alerts

Sales Navigator gives you the ability to set up account-level alerts for LinkedIn Company Pages you want to keep up with. After you set up an account alert, you’ll receive notifications whenever the account in question grows, posts something, is mentioned in an article shared or published on LinkedIn, or experiences layoffs. You can filter the notifications you receive by account growth, account news, or new decision makers.

An alert in LinkedIn Sales Navigator. The alert shows that a tracked account is preparing for growth, job openings have accelerated in the past 90 days.

Use these notifications to inform how you keep in contact with your donors, so you can strengthen your relationship in meaningful and timely ways. For instance, if the company makes an exciting announcement, you could comment on their announcement post as your nonprofit’s LinkedIn Page, congratulating them and showing you’re invested in their success. 

You could even send connection requests to new decision makers as they join the donor organization, taking the opportunity to introduce yourself and your nonprofit, explain your history working together, and demonstrate gratitude for the partnership.

Build deeper connections with current contacts

To take your donor relationships to the next level, consider connecting with or following individual decision makers within the company. From there, you can set up “lead” alerts for individual contacts. These work similarly to account-level alerts, sending you notifications related to the individual, such as when they change jobs or roles, view your profile, or engage with your nonprofit’s content.

Use these lead alerts to build or strengthen relationships with individual contacts at the organization donating to your nonprofit. Reach out to congratulate them when they hit professional milestones, such as earning promotions. Comment on interesting content they post. Share relevant content you think they may be interested in.

Consider maintaining contact with multiple contacts at each donor organization, taking note of individuals who are particularly willing to reciprocate your engagement with them. These contacts could become long-time champions for your nonprofit, even if they stop working at their current organization.

Lapsed donor relationships

Identify new re-entry points

One challenge of rekindling relationships with lapsed corporate donors is that talent tends to move around. If your previous contacts have since moved on to other companies, Sales Navigator can help you identify new contacts at the organization. 

Start by saving the organization as an account, then use the Relationship Explorer feature in Sales Navigator to quickly surface the eight most relevant leads. This can give you a strong idea of who might be most helpful or receptive to your outreach. You can also set up account alerts to ensure you never miss when a new senior-level hire at the organization.

A simplified view of the Relationship Explorer feature in Sales Navigator, which shows an decision maker within an account who is likely a good path in because she is newly hired and follows your organization on LinkedIn.

After finding prospective contacts, use an InMail message to reach out via LinkedIn. InMails empower you to get the conversation started even if you’re not yet connected on LinkedIn or don’t have the person’s contact information. Personalize your message to get their attention, summarize your previous relationship with their organization, and express your interest in reconnecting. End with clear and simple next steps, like setting up a quick call to chat.

If you’ve been trying to reconnect with an organization for a while, Sales Navigator might provide a means of communication that succeeds where other methods fail. For example, nonprofit Hope for Haiti  once used the solution to reconnect with a funder that had no staff to answer the phone, with the team noting that people are sometimes more receptive to LinkedIn messages than they are to traditional methods like email. 

Research former contacts’ new companies

Old connections can sometimes prove invaluable for helping you find new sources of funding, even if they don’t work at the same organization anymore. Using Sales Navigator, you can find former contacts, see where they work now, and research whether their new organization might be interested in partnering with or donating to your nonprofit. If you’ve previously saved them as a lead, you’ll be automatically notified when they leave their company. 

With this knowledge in hand, you can reconnect with your former connection, congratulate them on their new role, and thank them for the support they gave your nonprofit in the past. From there, you can start exploring opportunities to forge a new partnership with their current company. Where appropriate, you can even ask them to introduce you to their new co-workers and key decision-makers they think you should know at the organization. 

As a nonprofit, time spent nurturing donor relationships is never wasted. You never know when an old contact is going to turn into a new opportunity. 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is available at a special discount for eligible nonprofits. Learn more here.