With over 150 million influential (and affluent) members of the LinkedIn community, it is a social media platform that should definitely be part of the fundraising mix – albeit in a very different way to Facebook and Twitter (which I’ll come to in later posts).
If you can link to those members of the LinkedIn community who share your interests and whose passions match those of your organisation, the opportunities are endless!
Unlike some of the other social media platforms, the emphasis is very much on professional rather than social networking and you do need to bear that in mind when communicating with people on LinkedIn.
So, what are the main ways in which LinkedIn can help your fundraising and what do you need to take into consideration to make sure your efforts hit the mark?
HOW YOUR NON-PROFIT CAN USE LINKEDIN WHEN FUNDRAISING
1. Boost Your Fundraising Knowledge
LinkedIn provides opportunities to post questions to audiences and get their feedback, which means that there is potential there to test out fundraising ideas and generate new ideas. There are many experts out there on LinkedIn – and many of them are members of specialist groups – so it’s a great way to get feedback from those with experience or expertise in the particular area that you’re looking for guidance in. Or simply to get another view from your own.
There’s a great example from Anthem Pets, about how Corinne Cuvelier, a new board member used LinkedIn to get some ideas to help support her own fundraising efforts. (WARNING: there is a cute picture of a puppy on this page!) On a practical level, you can post questions to groups who have an interest in fundraising or who are based in your local area or who are perhaps within a specific group that you are looking to target, such as specialist business networks or local authorities. I’ve used groups myself to ask questions about areas of fundraising and you get lots of ideas as well as different perspectives and, as LinkedIn is global, it can really open your eyes to new possibilities and different ways of doing things.
2. Find Potential Volunteers and Donors
With 150+ million connections, you can use LinkedIn to boost your research, establishing where potential board members, volunteers or donors are. Perhaps you’re looking for board members with a particular skillset such as marketing or finance? You can use the search tools on LinkedIn to narrow down the results for you and establish who might share your interests. Thinking about the ‘type’ of people that you are looking for can provide you with a starting point for your research. And of course, you can also ask your Board members to carry out similar research to uncover their potential 2nd and 3rd connections on LinkedIn.
I’m not suggesting making a ‘cold’ approach to anyone – far from it – but you can start to use LinkedIn to boost your knowledge and research and to gain introductions to people, for example, by finding people you have 2nd or 3rd level connections with and choosing the ‘ask to be introduced through a connection’ tab. LinkedIn is a good way of beginning the relationship building process by uncovering potential contacts and starting to communicate with them.
PRACTICALITIES TO CONSIDER:
I’d be really interested to hear how people get on with using LinkedIn to boost their fundraising so please post any suggestions you might have.
Our next post will be looking at fundraising and Twitter and the very different approach you should take…