Your school’s alumni are frequently using LinkedIn, and data shows that it’s a great place to engage them. As important as it is for your advancement department to stay connected with former students, your end goal remains generating donations.
When it comes to a gift appeal, you already know that timing is everything. To maintain ongoing stewardship, it’s normal to try and avoid seeming pushy and invasive. Digital communication is great, but it also makes it harder to read verbal and body language cues that may tell us how interested an alumnus is. So how can you know when the time is right to make your ask over a social platform like LinkedIn?
Here are four suggestions:
After you’ve provided value over LinkedIn
In your efforts to stay engaged with alumni, there are many ways you can offer help and support. For example, you can offer job search tips, make an introduction to someone they should network with, or suggest a candidate for a role they are hiring.
Reaching out in this way is always appreciated, and should leave your alumni with positive feelings. Since you don’t want damage that by rushing to ask for a donation right away, we recommend waiting a week or two and then making your request.
Upon a major career milestone
Sometimes, your alumni will feel good about your school based on the help you’ve directly given them, but often, it will come from the success they have after graduating. This is typically felt most when a big career achievement is reached. Not only are they feeling extra proud, but these milestones may also mean that they now have more disposable income.
Those factors combined make this a great opportunity to appeal for a donation. After your alumni have shared their big news on LinkedIn, you can send a congratulatory message to them. This can include a quick note about why and how they can give back. You may not want to do this on the day of their announcement but should aim to do so within the week.
At the year-end & holiday season
Recent studies have shown that almost one-third of all donations are made in December. As many people get into the festive spirit, they also become more open to giving to causes they care about. From a financial standpoint, the year-end also serves as a reminder that supporters can contribute and receive a helpful tax receipt.
Regardless of factors relating to specific alumnus, the holiday season is a great chance to reach out. You can create a standard LinkedIn message with giving options, a clear appeal, and instructions. For best results, you’ll want to start with a message template that can be quickly personalized to suit each alumnus.
During a significant, timely initiative
Sometimes, there won’t be an external factor that tells you it’s the right time to make a donation appeal. But if your school has a timely campaign or initiative going on, it can create an effective sense of urgency.
Whether your initiative has a deadline to raise funds or has recently gained publicity, the buzz can help interest any many former students. Remember, though, that these are cases where you are reaching out to supporters because you need their help. You will see the best results if you have been offering assistance to them when they have needed it in the past.
Now that you know the basics of using LinkedIn for advancement, download our 10 free LinkedIn message templates and start stewarding your alumni right away!