Today we’re talking about ways to invite others to introduce you to people they know.

In case you’re like me and prefer to read something instead, here’s the transcript:

Hello – this is Kirsten Bullock again of The Nonprofit Academy. Today we’ll be briefly talking about inviting other people to introduce you to their network.

Earlier in this series we talked about Linkage, Ability and Interest. These are three very good predictors of success in any fundraising program. Taking this one step further though, we should pay attention to who people are connected to. This can take many formats – everything from a personal introduction to a high net-worth donor to inviting our supporters who are active on social media to share a message with people they are connected to.

So how do we do this?

The first step is to identify connections. Social media – especially LinkedIn – has made it simpler to track these connections. Let’s say you’ve identified John Smith as a person who has given significant gifts to other organizations that are similar to yours, but you don’t have an existing relationship. One option is to track down a phone number for him and cold call him. Now it is possible to do this and with persistence it could work.

However, if they’re even moderately active on LinkedIn you can take a look at John Smith’s profile and see if you’re connected to anyone who knows John. Rather than sending an inquiry through LinkedIn that may or may not get forwarded, I recommend reaching out to your friend personally (by email or phone) and ask her to make an introduction on your behalf. Typically you’d want to put together a draft letter or email to make it really easy for her to do this.

The last few years many nonprofits have begun running purely online campaigns and finding unique ways to stand out and encourage their followers to share information with people they know. Services like Kickstarter and other more nonprofit friendly platforms make it simple to turn that simple engagement into a fundraising possibility. Just keep in mind that the dollars raised with these campaigns has not been large – and it’s still too early to tell if these one-time donors might become repeat donors.

With an online campaign, it’s about more than just pushing information out. To ensure the highest potential of success, you’ll still need to (1) identify specific people whose network most closely resembles potential donors for your organizations and (2) invite those people personally to share information. In fact, if you can engage them in the planning phase of the campaign even better!

I hope you’ve picked up on the underlying theme of today’s training – even with online programs, personal relationships are essential.

That’s it for today. Thanks for joining me and I’ll see you next time!