What Gift Officers Should Put in Their LinkedIn Experience Section

If you’ve read our other posts about LinkedIn, you understand that the point of your LinkedIn profile is not to get a job. You have a job. As a gift officer, the best use of your profile is to appeal to your major donor prospects.

Your LinkedIn experience section is the place to demonstrate your expertise in the field of philanthropy, with the goal of solidifying the trust and confidence a potential donor will feel about working with you.

From our other posts, you have already learned how to upgrade your LinkedIn headline, and what to write in your LinkedIn about section.

Now, let’s look at what to put in your LinkedIn experience section.

Why LinkedIn Matters for Major Gifts

Of all the social platforms, LinkedIn has by far the highest concentration of wealthy people. There are some statistics for this in the two posts referenced above.

LinkedIn has more wealthy people using it, more millionaires, and greater numbers of people in this demographic who check it daily.

That means, when you make outreach to a wealthy prospect and include your name, title, and other identifying information, some of your prospects will look you up on LinkedIn. What do you want them to see there?

NOT a resume. You want your LinkedIn profile to position you as someone they would like to actually meet, talk to, engage with, and respond to.

Here’s what gift officers should include in their LinkedIn experience section:

1. Don’t Ruin What You’ve Already Achieved

First of all, no one looks at the experience section first. Anyone making it this far down your profile has already seen your photo, probably your headline, and parts of your about section. So, if you have already optimized those sections to appeal to major donor prospects, all the experience section has to do is confirm that you’re a trustworthy and interesting person who they might want to respond to.

In sales terminology, the headline and the about section have sold them, and the experience section helps them ‘justify’ the buy. In this case, all it means to ‘buy’ is to respond to your invitation to connect and start a conversation. So, it’s not a high bar. But you need them to cross it.

So, don’t blow all the progress your previous LinkedIn sections have made by having an experience section that has no relevance or interest to a potential donor.

2. Who You Have Worked for

Start by listing out your past work experience. At the top should be your current organization, and below that any others.

But be careful here. If you have hopped around from nonprofit to nonprofit and have something like eight different organizations under your belt, each for just a couple of years or less, this could actually work against you in the eyes of a prospect.

They might look at that and conclude you’re not going to be there very long, so there’s no use in taking the time to get to know you.

If that’s your situation, there are a few ways to handle it.

First, include current and active non-paid experience that will push down some of your older work so it looks like it was more distant in the past. For example, are you serving on any other boards or committees? Have you spoken at any events? Are you a member of any organizations? Have you done any consulting? Include these as well, even if the years are concurrent.

Even if some of this work is for the same organization, if you can title it differently, it will give the impression that you are a person with broad experience and knowledge of the industry. Call yourself a fundraising speaker, industry consultant, volunteer, or board member.

And, if you do have too many nonprofits in your background, remember that this is not a resume. Maybe leave off the ones with the shortest stints, or only include three or four.

Next, be sure to include other relevant work experience, especially anything related to finance or investment. The more of an expert you can present yourself to be, the more your experience section is doing its job.

3. Years of Experience

Dates are important, especially for a major gifts officer looking to establish trust with a new prospect. The longer you’ve been at your current organization, the better.

But again, what if you don’t have this? Another way to alter the impression this might give is to not list the organizations, but instead list the job title.

So you might call yourself the Director of Donor Guidance, which is a great job title for a gift officer. See the best and worst job titles for fundraisers.

Using this approach, you may have been a Director of Donor Guidance for twenty years, even if during that time you worked for six different organizations. But hopefully, you’ll be able to remain longer at your current workplace, because that will result in more and bigger gifts in the long run.

And, as mentioned in the last section, you can also include your years of experience in your other ventures, board positions, and even volunteer experiences. The goal is to make it clear you have worked in this industry for a long time and have a diverse set of experiences that make you very effective at working with individual donors.

4. Additional Authoritative and Helpful Content

Beyond your experience section, you can also add more content that serves your prospects and positions you as an authority in your field.

A few ideas for content you can include:

Blog Posts

If you have a website of your own, or have written any articles for your current employer or as a guest blogger somewhere else, include the links to those here. But remember – be sure the topics of any articles you post here are relevant to a donor prospect. If it’s not, leave it off. This isn’t a resume.

Case Studies

If you have any stories of donors who have had outstanding giving experiences while working with you, consider writing one or two of them up as case studies.

Begin with the problems or challenges the donor was facing with regard to making their gift. What did they want? What mattered to them? What was making it difficult to achieve their desired outcome?

Then how did you help them navigate and overcome those challenges? And what was the final outcome? How did they feel about their resulting experience and impact? What did they get out of it?

This sort of content demonstrates what you do in ways that job titles and experience lists cannot equal. So if you can make this happen, do it.


In your other outreach to prospects, you may have mentioned something like a special report, a story of impact from your organization, a video, or some other tangible asset. If that’s something you can post on your LinkedIn profile, and if it serves your prospects and positions you as an ally, a partner, a guide, a sage, or a trusted advisor, then including it here would be a smart decision.

More Help with Outreach

LinkedIn is just one part of your overall outreach strategy. Some prospects will look you up on this platform. Others won’t. And in some cases, you may also try reaching out directly using LinkedIn’s messaging tools.

But outreach involves much more than just one social media platform.

It involves calling, texting, leaving voicemails, and more.

Here are 6 outreach tips and strategies for initiating and connecting with new donor prospects who are on your caseload.


Related Resources:


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