How many LinkedIn contacts do you have?

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

How many LinkedIn contacts do you have? I’m always surprised when I click on a major gift or planned gift fundraiser’s LinkedIn profile and see that they only have 30, 50 or 100 connections.
How can that be possible? Assuming they work for an organization that has a committed donor base and assuming that they have determined who their prospects are… they simply must have more donor relationships than that!
Maybe they haven’t connected with their supporters because their LinkedIn profile is not up-to-date. Well, that’s a bad reason to evade an engagement opportunity!
Maybe they think LinkedIn is just meant for seeking new fundraising positions or keeping in touch with colleagues.
Well, think again!
Stop right now. Is your photo a good one? Is your profile up-to-date? If not, fix that right now!
Then, reach out to your supporters and connect with them on LinkedIn. That way, you’ll be able to:

  1. See what they’re up to in their careers.
  2. Congratulate them when they achieve successes like awards or promotions.
  3. Learn when they might have sold their business or benefitted from an IPO (Initial Public Offering), etc.
  4. Recognize when they retire.
  5. And more!

You’ll also be able to share:

  1. Offers for supporters to get involved in your organization’s mission.
  2. Alerts about openings on the Board.
  3. Opportunities for involvement such as volunteering.
  4. Successes your organization has achieved.
  5. Stories from beneficiaries or other supporters.
  6. And more!

If your caseload contains a hundred or more prospects you should aim to connect with all of them on LinkedIn. Doing so will help you understand who wants to be more connected with you and your organization’s mission.
If you have trouble getting your donors to respond to your emails and phone calls, you won’t want to avoid this very simple and FREE channel for communication and engagement.
While you’re at it, check out our LinkedIN company page!
FREE Guide | The Fundraiser’s Ultimate LinkedIN Cheat Sheet: How to reach out to a major or legacy gift prospect online
 

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4 responses to “How many LinkedIn contacts do you have?”

  1. Sheila Hard says:

    How many min. a day (or hours per week) would this kind of investment in Linked In require? For people whose donor portfolio is mainly retired folk, are there any statistics about the % of them who have adopted Linked In?
    (Disclosure of bias: I stopped using LI because it consumed more time/attention than I thought it was worth, even to keep up with colleagues.)

    • marketsmart says:

      Hi Sheila
      Great questions. But the thing is this… LinkedIn is a “watering hole.” If none of your donors go there because they’re all retired, you shouldn’t be there at all. If they still working (and most major donors are) then they might be there a lot so that would mean you need to be there a lot. It depends.
      Time is money. So I can relate with you and applaud you for making sure you spend yours wisely. But the stats show that LinkedIn attracts engagement from wealthier people and older people compared with all the other social networks. Yet Facebook is on-par and frankly tons of retirees use that but major donors may feel uncomfortable with your connection there. They may prefer LinkedIn.
      Checking in once a day might take 1 to 10 minutes unless you dawdle. There’s simply no better, more cost-efficient way to keep track of what your donors are up to in their careers and it’s only going to be more important as time goes by. So I recommend fundraisers start connecting with their major donors and prospects now. You might be very surprised by the results and it’s a lot faster and cheaper than running an event.

  2. Great advice. LinkedIn also a great tool for researching donors.
    On a different note, I am in the process of rebranding my company, new name i5 Fundraising. Focus? Keeping it simple by employing the five I’s — Identify, Inform, Involve, Invest, Impact.
    I provide consulting and coaching services. Happy to answer any questions you might have.

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