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LinkedIn as a Multi-Dimensional Fundraiser’s Resource

Resource Center - Foundation

By Paul Nazareth

Nazarath 150x225When LinkedIn launched in 2003, most professionals saw it as little more than an online resume—those days are long gone. Nicknamed the “Facebook of Business,” it has evolved into a highly productive tool for both for-profit business and social-profit philanthropy.

LinkedIn has over 175 million members in 200 countries. The net worth of the average user is more than that of Facebook and Twitter combined. Major gift fundraisers, are you paying attention? The prospecting power of the “advanced search” function allows you to look up donors, volunteers and supporters in dozens of ways. This is search engine optimization at its best.

Marketing teams should note that the new company page function can be used by any organization. Of the only 2 million company pages, less than 250,000 are charities or social-profit organizations. Is there an opportunity here? You bet. New features include the ability to upload marketing banners (for free), status updates for events and programs as well as free analytics and the ability to post jobs. How about job postings that hunt down excellent candidates based on their self-identified skill set and location? Dear HR dept., save funds by turning your entire staff into passionate recruiters!

Although the “Groups” function is less used, (many members don’t check in more than once a week or month) the ability to capture your board discussions and then retain the connection with leadership volunteers after their term is complete, presents a powerful opportunity. Remember when you used to get a high powered group around a table and make them write (on paper!) their most likely contacts to support your cause? When you connect with them, their network is instantly your network.

A secret hidden under the “More” tab is LinkedIn Answers. A great career and skill development tool, it’s a fundraising resource because peers can ask each other how to fundraise better on a local and global scale with the entire LinkedIn network able to answer. There are 14 applications that you can plug into your profile, including: Slideshare, blog-link, Amazon reading list, Events etc. It’s the most powerful but most unused part of the platform.

And to finish, an eWire breaking news item: JUST this month, literally days ago, LinkedIn non-profit rocked the social-profit sector (in the USA only for now, sorry fellow Canucks ) by launching “Board Connect.” Remember when I said how LinkedIn will search through profiles for indicators to identify the best candidates for jobs? How about identifying the hidden power of skills, experience, connections in your community for you to suggest a board role? How about if LinkedIn did this for you?

As fundraisers, there are many things LinkedIn can do for your career and cause. I hope these tips help!

Paul Nazareth is a philanthropic advisor with Scotia Private Client Group. He spent 12 years working in planned giving with charities and speaks at AFP chapters all across Canada. He teaches the planned giving course at the Georgian College postgraduate fundraising program and is a passionate advocate of “social business” and the power of networking in our work and lives. Visit him at on Linkedin or @UinvitedU on Twitter.

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