You know major gift fundraising is a marathon, not a sprint. But your boss wants results now. So you screen your list for wealth. Or maybe you have a predictive model developed to determine whom to contact first. Next, you send a letter to your prospect and promise to follow it up with a phone call. Then you make the call and what happens? Usually nothing.
So you think to yourself, “There’s got to be a better way!”
And I’m here to tell you that the better way is with LinkedIn. It is powerful and effective but only if used wisely. Here’s how to do just that.
But first, some of you might doubt that LinkedIn will really work to help connect you with prospects. If you are in this group, consider these stats:
Need more? A survey conducted by Cogent Research titled Influencing the Mass Affluent studied people with $100,000 to $1M in investible assets (40 million people in the United States). This group included people who were still accumulating wealth, soon-to-retire, and retired. The findings were as follows:
Even better, according to a July 2014 Spectrum Group study, 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn (only 10% use Twitter).
What does all this mean? Your prospects are using LinkedIn. So you need to be there too. But how do you actually use it to reach them? It’s actually easier than you might think.
First, you have to complete your profile by being as thorough and honest as possible. It is essential that you include a photo. If you don’t, people simply won’t trust you.
Next you need to build your network. Everyone and anyone you know should be a connection.
Once you have done all that, you can take a pause because it’s time to get strategic. To do so, you have to stop thinking of LinkedIn as a computer tool and start thinking of it as good old-fashioned networking. For instance, think about what you do when you go to a party or event with the purpose of networking. If you’re smart you:
The same strategy goes for LinkedIn. Treat the tool like a face-to-face networking event even though it’s virtual because the same rules apply.
With your strategy vetted, your profile set-up and your network built, now you can search for ways to connect with your prospects. Use LinkedIn’s 1st degree, 2nd degree, and “get introduced” functions to determine how many degrees separate you from your best prospects. Then ask the people you already know to introduce you. And even if you don’t have a connection with a prospect, you can send a direct InMail to anyone (as long as you have a Premium Account or your prospect is an Open Link Member— like me!).
But what do you say? I agree. Starting the conversation is a challenge. So here are 5 tips for sending that first InMail so you’ll get results:
And here’s one more idea: Try the “lookie-lou.” It’s simple. Just click on your prospects’ profile. They’ll see that you looked and they’ll probably look at your profile next. Then you’ll see that they looked at you. That’s when you’ll want to send your InMail using the 5 tips I outlined above.
I don’t know the psychology behind it, but for some reason, people tend to be much more responsive to InMails sent right after a “lookie-lou.” Try it. You’ve got nothing to lose.
So there you have it. Now you know how to reach out to your major or legacy gift prospects on LinkedIn. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. And, if you need a little cheat-sheet, you can download ours here.
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