Connecting with decision makers on LinkedIn: three tips for fundraisers
Whether you’re trying to get the attention of a grantmaker or a potential corporate donor, connecting with the right decision makers can fast-track your organization to success. And one of the best platforms for making those connections is LinkedIn.
Recent data from LinkedIn for Nonprofits reveals that 64% of surveyed nonprofit professionals agree the people they want to connect with to raise money for their organization are on LinkedIn. But in order to establish a connection and grow the relationship, you first need to earn your target decision maker’s attention.
To help you fine-tune your approach, here are three tips to help you stand out from the crowd and successfully network with funders on LinkedIn.
1. Ensure your organization’s LinkedIn Page—and your own profile—convey credibility
When deciding whether to accept a connection request from someone they don’t know, LinkedIn members will often click on your profile to get a better sense of who you are. If you’re approaching them about a grant or donation to your nonprofit, there’s a strong chance that they’ll look at your organization’s LinkedIn Page, too. Outdated information or incomplete sections on your profile or your nonprofit’s Page may send the wrong signal, making decision makers less likely to want to connect.
Auditing your nonprofit’s LinkedIn Page every three to six months can help you ensure that it’s up-to-date and presents a compelling overview of your organization’s mission, vision, and impact. It’s also worth reviewing your personal profile at roughly the same frequency. Some quick enhancements that can go a long way include using the “About” section to highlight your professional journey and interests, and adding a profile photo if you don’t have one already. If someone else at your organization will be responsible for outreach, consider reviewing and revising your profiles together to ensure you’re both positively representing your organization and team.
2. Prioritize effectively and lean on mutual connections whenever possible
Many nonprofits face resource constraints. To save you time, you may want to use insights to identify the right funders to prioritize. Knowing which decision makers you should be reaching out to and building relationships with can be a critical step to achieving fundraising success. Tools like Candid’s Foundation Directory can provide you access to this information, and its built-in LinkedIn integration helps make connecting with funders easier.
If you share a mutual connection with your target decision maker, asking for a warm introduction can help you get your foot in the door. Not only is your target more likely to respond to a message from someone they already know, but they’re also more likely to trust you if your mutual connection is willing to vouch for you.
LinkedIn makes it easy to understand who you know—and, more importantly, who they know—so you can ask for more warm introductions. To do so, look for any mutual connections listed at the top of the decision maker’s LinkedIn profile.
If you don’t have any direct connections, consider visiting the target organization’s LinkedIn Page to see if anyone from your school works there. Even if you’ve never met, they might be willing to help a fellow alumnus out by connecting you to the right person at their organization. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
3. Provide context in your connection requests
Sometimes, you won’t have any obvious connection to a company or funder that you want to connect with on LinkedIn. In those situations, be sure to select the “Add a note” option when sending a connection request.
Use this space to provide a little context about who you are and why you’re reaching out. Don’t make an ask right away, though, as this may be off-putting. Give the decision maker a good reason to want to connect with you, then focus on growing the relationship once they hit “Accept.”
For more tips on finding, connecting, and engaging with potential donors and funders on LinkedIn, watch LinkedIn for Nonprofits on-demand webinar now.