I think too many major gifts fundraisers – and people in most other industries as well – are not using their LinkedIn profiles to their fullest potential. Not even close. What you write in your about section on LinkedIn can play a big role in encouraging or discouraging your major gifts prospects from wanting to talk with you.

Your LinkedIn profile should not feel like a resume. You have a job. You aren’t looking for a new one (well, hopefully). And your LinkedIn profile is one of the first places many major gifts prospects will go to find out more about you after you first reach out. LinkedIn is the social media platform with the highest concentration of wealthy people. This is where many of your major donors congregate online.

So, it’s time to reimagine how this valuable social platform can be put to better use to engage your donor prospects.

So, what should gift officers put in their LinkedIn about section? What impression do you want to make with new major gifts prospects when they find you on LinkedIn? We’re going to give you several practical strategies to use. Pick the one or two you like best, and spend some time upgrading your About section.

Also, keep in mind that your LinkedIn About section should follow from your LinkedIn headline. What you write to describe yourself in your headline should lead directly into what you say in your about section. Here’s an article with 5 strategies for upgrading your headline.

5 Approaches to Writing Your LinkedIn About Section

Many wealthy people, after being given the opportunity to hear from you or meet with you, will go on LinkedIn to check out your credentials. Here are five ways to reward their curiosity.

1. Give a Clear and Inspiring Description

When a donor prospect takes the time to look at your LinkedIn profile, you can assume this means they have at least some degree of openness to making a gift. They care about the mission of your organization enough to spend their time looking you up.

So, in your About section, use this first approach to describe what you do for people like them.

The formula is, “I help A do B using C.”

‘A’ refers to your typical major donor prospect. ‘B’ refers to the benefits and value donors get from engaging in your major giving experience. And ‘C’ refers to how you deliver that outcome.

What do donors want? They want to feel great about having made a profound impact in an area of the world that matters to them. They want to solve problems and, in the words of charitable giving researcher Dr. Russell James, advance their personal hero story.

So, you might say something like this:

“I help people who care about [problem your organization solves – your mission] make a life-changing and lifelong difference in the lives of [beneficiaries of your organization] through a personalized and customized giving experience.”

Notice how this doesn’t mention your hometown, your educational achievements, your hobbies, your family, or any other stuff that clutters most LinkedIn about sections.

Now, if you feel information like that will make you more appealing to potential prospects, you may be able to include some of it. But all of that is secondary to what you deliver for your donors. What do they get out of knowing you and meeting with you? That must be your focus.

If you want to share some personal information here, you might do better to explain why the mission of your organization matters to you. In this way, you will find some commonalities with your prospects. Demonstrate your passion, and you will remind them of theirs.

But even if your entire LinkedIn about section just follows the formula above and includes a clear response action, with nothing else, that is sufficient to do the job.

2. Tell a Good Story

Another approach is to share a story about yourself or about another major donor. The idea here is to demonstrate how great an experience donors have when working with you.

So, sharing your own story, you could talk about how fulfilling and meaningful it has been to walk alongside so many donors and enable them to fulfill their dreams and desires of making a difference in the work related to your mission.

Share a specific story about someone who made a particular gift. Talk about what that gift accomplished, how much it meant to the donor, and if possible, even a quote from that donor about their giving experience. This is like a testimonial.

If you want, you can combine this with the first strategy, as long as the story isn’t too long.

3. Make a Compelling Offer

This is a variation on the first approach. Instead of telling them what you do, focus instead on an immediate outcome or benefit you can deliver for them.

The formula here is, “If A, then, do B and get C.”

‘A’ refers to the problem they want solved. This will have some relationship to your mission, but it could also refer to the giving process itself. It depends what ‘C’ is.

‘B’ refers to the action you want them to take. So this could be to send you an InMail message, or to email or call you.

‘C’ refers to what they will receive when they reach out to you. What will you give them? The important thing here is that ‘C’ must solve whatever they are responding to from ‘A’.

Here’s how this might look:

“If you want to see what happens when [beneficiaries of your organization engage with your org’s field team], send me a quick email and I’ll share a video with [name of specific beneficiary’s] story.”

The idea is, you are offering something of value that the donor prospect can have right away. All they have to do is ask for it. That item should relate to your mission and the impact of making a gift.

It could be a video, an eBook telling stories of impact, a field report, or something similar to these. But it should be emotion-rich and organization-lite.

4. Lay Out the Details

This one can also work well in combination with the first approach, or as a standalone. With this strategy, you list out the benefits and outcomes major donors get from working with you.

This could go in many directions, but you might say things like this:

“I help people who care about [organization’s mission]

  • Become the generous and change-making person they have always wanted to be
  • Experience lifelong fulfillment and joy
  • Feel connected, valued, and part of something bigger
  • Use their assets in creative ways they never knew were possible”

The idea here is to fixate on outcomes donors experience by giving major gifts to your organization, and especially by working with you.

5. The Better Choice

A final approach is to present the experience of working with you as a far better alternative to what most major donors have experienced in the past with other organizations, or on their own. It depends on the challenge or problem you know your donors have faced that you want to focus on.

It could sound something like this:

“So many people who want to make a big difference with [mission of organization] have a hard time figuring out where to start, who to talk to, or what to do. They often end up doing nothing, or they do something on their own but feel unappreciated, unheard, and as if their efforts didn’t really matter.

Many such people who have worked with me have had a profoundly different experience, and consider their collaboration with me one of the best decisions of their lives.

Find out for yourself what it feels like to work with me, Director of Donor Guidance for [organization name].”

The idea here is to contrast the negative experiences many donors have had elsewhere with the promise of something far better when working with you. You don’t get too specific. But you make them believe there is a better way to fulfill their dreams and desires to make a difference in the world. The path to that better way is to work with you, rather than keep doing it alone or using someone less qualified to help with philanthropic decisions, such as a financial advisor.

And by the way, ‘Director of Donor Guidance’ is an example of a good job title for gift officers.

Many job titles given to gift officers by their organizations are actually major turnoffs to donors. Dr. James has run fundraising experiments on this. See the best and worst job titles for fundraising gift officers.

The title you give yourself in your LinkedIn profile makes a big impact in how donor prospects perceive you. This can affect your headline as well as your about section.

What ALL LinkedIn About Sections Need

No matter which of these strategies or combinations of them you end up using, don’t forget to include the most important piece. Every LinkedIn about section should include a call to action.

If your about section goes on a bit longer, put in a CTA more than once.

You saw some CTAs in the above examples. Make sure you tell any prospect seeing your page what to do in response. And it’s best if you can tie it in to the other content of your about section.

In other words, don’t just say “email me to connect,” or “send me an InMail.” Those are too vague and uninspiring.

Here are some better examples:

Send me an email and I’ll send you a

Send me an InMail to get access to a survey about [area of impact from your mission]
Find out for yourself what it feels like to work with me, Director of Donor Guidance for [organization name]

Again, the goal with LinkedIn is to make a good impression and give your donor prospects an idea of what you really do and how you can make their lives better. You want to position yourself as someone they want to know and hear from, and not just because your work for an organization they care about.

Do that, and you’ll improve your outreach to new prospects and start more conversations from a good foundation.

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