18 Aug Engage Your Donors On LinkedIn
Advancement professionals can no longer say, “I don’t need LinkedIn to help me find or engage with donors.” How we connect with donors has changed and there’s no going back. Don’t put it off. Engage your donors on Linkedin daily.
LinkedIn is a necessary tool when it comes to building your personal brand, establishing authority and credibility, researching and recruiting new volunteers, donors and employees, and building stronger relationships with your current constituents. It’s a vehicle to share your knowledge and experiences so that your connections keep you top of mind.
As an advancement professional, it’s a place where you can check in on your donors wherever you may be in the world, see what they’re up to, and celebrate their successes and achievements.
Here’s how you can apply the 6R’s of Donor Engagement on LinkedIn:
Research and Recruit
(1) Who do you know?
Dig into your donor list. Begin building your LinkedIn network. Sync your profile with your email address book. This enables LinkedIn to suggest people you could connect with. It’s also simple to use LinkedIn’s search bar to look for your major and prospective donors’ profiles. Personalize your connection request with an encouraging note or a reason they might like to connect with you.
(2) Why should they know you?
It’s important that your profile is complete, and your photo is current and professional. Add links to your organization’s company page, articles, enews, or publications.
(The last thing you want to do is look like you don’t know what you’re doing – here is a list of 25 things you’ll want to avoid.)
Building donor relationships is a marathon not a sprint. Just as you would phone calls or email messages, dedicate time daily to engage on LinkedIn. A good rule of thumb is to set 15 minutes aside each morning. (Watch going over, it’s easy to do!)
(1) Check your donors’ posts often.
Engaging with your donor connections puts your profile directly in front of their networks; and all it takes is a “like” or comment on their posts. A simple, “Great thoughts” or “Thanks for sharing” can help expand your reach and it’s simply the considerate thing to do when someone’s thoughts or content resonate with you. Commenting with your personal insights or questions will increase engagement and exposure even more.
(2) Often post yourself.
Posting often creates additional opportunities for engagement, thus syndicating your content across home page feeds everywhere. Don’t be concerned about annoying people by posting every day. LinkedIn’s algorithms are tricky, and your network isn’t likely to see every post (A great idea is to publish articles natively with LinkedIn’s newsletter tool which does notify your network.)
Posting the answers to these questions will help you turn your followers into donors:
-What knowledge, insights, information, experience, or stories can you share?
-How can you draw your followers closer to your mission and vision?
-What posts could you share from your organization along with your own personal comment?
Important note: Watch your approach. Stay away from blatantly “selling” what you do or putting out the “ask.” LinkedIn is a professional network for independent thought – not a storefront, lemonade stand, or collection plate.
If there is a prospective donor that you’ve connected with and would like to get to know more, use the private messaging feature to ask them if they’d like to connect virtually, by phone, or in person. This is the best place to make requests of a more personal nature.
As you see fitting posts by your donors, “like” and comment by thanking them for what they do for the community or our society. Celebrate their work anniversaries, birthdays, milestones, successes, and achievements. Use the private messaging feature if you’d like to make your encouragement more personal. It’s also great to share their posts in your own personal feed along with an encouraging caption.
Lastly, endorse skills and post recommendations for your donors and connections if you’ve worked alongside them on campaigns, projects, or in service. This is a great way to recognize others and build rapport.
If you have some exciting personal news or accomplishments to share, by all means, share it! Let your donors and connections encourage you! Remember, you are extending them the privilege of being there for you.
If your organization is in the middle of an exciting campaign or has its own exciting news, keep your donors and connections updated. Share posts and send private messages on progress.
It’s also favorable to share annual reports, video tours, photos, success stories, ribbon cuttings, media coverage, testimonials, and more.
LinkedIn is today’s way of accessing your supporters’ networks and “Rolodexes.” It allows you to draw supporters closer by engaging them on another level and in another place where they congregate. It’s about relationships, not rocket science. Don’t look back. Engage your donors on LinkedIn daily.
Article submitted by Pam Jacobs, Project & Digital Specialist