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Ed Stephon

Ed Stephon

How to Use LinkedIn & Facebook to Research Major Donors

Properly utilized, LinkedIn and Facebook can be excellent sources of information about potential major donors. Of all the social media sites, these two are the most advantageous to a prospect researcher. LinkedIn provides an especially good synopsis of a potential donor’s current business, professional experience, education, work-related achievements, and membership on nonprofit as well as corporate boards of directors. Facebook offers more personal information like places lived, family background, birthdays, anniversaries, and other significant life events.  Even these tidbits can be used to a researcher’s advantage when meeting with a prospective funder. 

At a minimum, try to glean the following information from LinkedIn and Facebook to provide a useful profile on prospective donors before approaching them: 

  • Current and past professional job titles, along with dates of employment 
  • Date and place of birth 
  • Personal and work-related achievements, awards, and professional designations  
  • Post-secondary education 
  • Fair market value* of their home (available from Zillow, Trulia, or Realtor) 
  • Likes or hobbies 
  • Charities already supported, including board memberships 

When meeting with a prospect for the first time, he or she will be impressed and occasionally even flattered that you did your homework.  This will make it easier to schedule subsequent meetings and ultimately make the “big ask.” 

*Most wealth studies suggest that the fair market value of one’s home represents approximately 25% of that person’s total wealth; for younger prospects it is usually closer to 30%, and for older prospects it can be between 20% and 25%.   

By the Numbers

Consider the recruitment opportunities for your organization that these stats indicate:

  • About 63 million Americans (25% of the adult population) volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference.
  • These people spend an average of 52 hours/year volunteering.
  • 72% of volunteers are involved with only one organization, while 18.3% are involved with two.

Random interesting stats presented monthly from various sources.