Today’s PD Opportunities




How to Find New Donor Prospects with LinkedIn

Siobhan Aspinall

By Siobhan Aspinall

(This post originally appeared on Siobhan Aspinall’s blog : 
F is for Fundraising.)

Yes, I’m on a bit of a tear for using social media to fluff up your fundraising efforts…and I can barely figure out my i-phone! All I’m saying is, this stuff is not nuclear physics. Trust me and give it a whirl.

So there are lots of ways to look for new prospects, but they can vary from the really daft (let’s find the list of our city’s richest people!) to the really expensive (let’s subscribe to a batch of research databases at $2K each a year!). LinkedIn is free and is a great source for finding corporate and foundation prospects in particular.

As you’re digging around, remember this fundraising basic – we need prospects with Linkage, Ability and Interest. That is: Can we reach them? Are they wealthy and generous? And are they into our mission?

First: Check your own LinkedIn connections with a fundraiser’s eye 

Scan your connections for the following:

  1. Good-sized companies that are likely to have enough money to give away (or that at least have some sort of community engagement or CSR activity).
  2. People at those companies with the fancy titles. Skip contractors as they usually lack the influence needed to get you in the door.
  3. Foundations. Although really, if you were connected to a foundation you’d already have a relationship in play, right?

Do a bit of research on the people and organizations that you find to make sure they’re Givers. Look up their websites and search their names along with keywords like “donation.” Discard the cheapos and send a message to the selected ones asking for a brief meeting to discuss your charity. Or, better still, ask your board members (or any well-placed volunteers) if they know the prospect and could make a real-world connection.

Second: Check your board members and senior volunteers for their connections

You need to connect to your volunteers first, and then you’ll have access to see all theirconnections. Do the same scan detailed above. The good news here is that you already have your volunteer in place to open the door to the prospect. Keep in mind that the volunteer might not be comfortable reaching out to everyone you identify. Give them a list and ALWAYS limit them to a short list of prospects – maybe three at a time max – or they’ll feel overloaded and never get the job done. (Personal experience here people!)

Third: Research your offline prospects 

You probably have some Dream Prospects on a list somewhere. Maybe you gathered them at an event, off someone else’s donor wall, or even off one of those “richest people” lists I warned you about. Often, the easiest part of prospecting is finding people who are wealthy and interested in your cause. The tricky bit is finding someone to make that connection.

Grab your Dream Prospects list and run each name or organization through LinkedIn. Check the little visual on their page that shows which people you have in common. Bingo! Once you spot someone in common, talk to the potential connector offline about getting you in touch with the prospect. Yes, you can click a button and request an introduction on LinkedIn, but you’re drifting into a schmoopy way of contacting people that is easily ignored. Pick up the phone instead.

This is one of the simplest ways to give your board members a delicious, pain-free fundraising role. Some of them won’t be on LinkedIn yet of course, but encourage them to do so and to proudly list your organization and their board service in their bios.

Siobhan Aspinall, CFRE has been fundraising for over 15 years for non-profit organizations including Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, the Canadian Cancer Society, the David Suzuki Foundation and United Way. She teaches two fundraising courses at BCIT, consults, and is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She holds a BA in languages from UBC and an Associate Certificate in Fundraising Management from BCIT. She obtained her Certified Fundraising Executive designation in 2013. In her spare time, she writes for her fundraising blog and surfs in Tofino.

Siobhan Aspinall
Sand Dollar Consulting

Executive Director, Signal Hill

Signal Hill

About Signal Hill

Signal Hill is a charitable organization that seeks to strengthen society by inspiring young people to cherish and protect human life. Signal Hill does this through contemporary media, educational programs and compassionate support services that help real people and families in British Columbia. Signal Hill offers a dynamic work environment and a fulfilling opportunity to shift culture and help the most vulnerable in our society. To assist with the organization’s growth, Signal Hill is seeking an Executive Director.


  • The Executive Director gives direction and leadership toward the achievement of Signal Hill’s mission, strategy and annual goals and objectives.
  • With the chair, enables the Board to fulfill its governance function.
  • Implements the strategic goals and objectives of Signal Hill.
  • The Executive director is accountable to the Board of Directors.


Fundraising & Communication

  • Develop and sustain major donor relationships including work with foundations and individuals.
  • Deepen and refine all aspects of communication, from web presence to external relations with the goal of creating a stronger brand and presence.
  • Expand revenue generating and fundraising activities to support existing program operations.
  • Serve as advocate on behalf of Signal Hill by seeking opportunities to speak publically, to educate and champion Signal Hill’s Values, Vision and Mission.

Planning & New Business

  • Forge partnerships with foundations, peer non-profits, faith communities, businesses and individuals that provide for synergy to accomplish greater outcomes.
  • Support the Board of Directors by serving as an ex-officio member of each committee and by engaging Directors in strategic planning and donor develop activities.


  • Give vision and leadership while championing change and innovation for how Signal Hill can accomplish its mission.
  • Assure Signal Hill’s Values, Vision, Mission and objectives are consistently presented in a strong positive image to relevant stakeholders.
  • Publish articles that support the Executive Director’s credibility as an expert and leader.
  • Lead, coach, develop and retain Signal Hill’s staff team.


  • Keep the Board of Director’s informed and report quarterly the progress in achieving the annual operating plan.


  • Serve as head of staff by providing oversight to the Operations Manager.
  • Interface with Board of Directors.
  • Serve as primary spokesperson for Signal Hill.
  • Nurture and sustain relationships with peer organizations, and major donors.


  • The Executive director will be thoroughly committed to Signal Hill’s mission and core. values, and have proven leadership and relationship management skills.
  • Demonstrate effectiveness and have experience in fund development.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, and be a gifted public speaker.
  • Proven ability to build coalitions and nurture strategic partnerships.
  • Action orientated, entrepreneurial, adaptable and be an innovative thinker.
  • Track record in having developed and operationalized strategies that have taken an organization to a new level of success.
  • Passion, idealism, integrity, positive attitude, mission driven and self-directed.

For more information, to receive the full position prospectus, or to apply please contact:

Gerard Consulting Logo Web

Gérard Consulting – Fundraising Talent Management
Phil Gérard, President

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only those candidates invited for an interview will be contacted.


Today’s Career Opportunities

Executive Director, Signal Hill
Director of Philanthropy, Ecojustice

Director, Development, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary
Senior Manager, Resource Development, Calgary Humane Society
Revenue Development Coordinator, Canadian Cancer Society
Executive Director, Campaign Management, Development Office, University of Calgary
Associate Director Development for the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary
Director, Development, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary
Director, Development, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Coordinator, Major Gifts – Toronto, Ontario, Nature Conservancy
Director of Philanthropy, TIFF
Manager, Annual and Leadership Giving, University of Toronto
Senior Manager Campaign, Seneca College
Corporate Development Officer, Canadian Cancer Society

Today’s PD Opportunities

I am pleased to present a new regular feature on Phil’s Careers Blog – Fundraising ONLY! 

In this section I will be summarizing, similarly to the career opportunities, upcoming professional development opportunities in the fundraising sector.

I hope this will be helpful as you are planning your ongoing career advancement.




A blog about fundraising careers and fundraising issues. By Gérard Consulting – Fundraising Talent Management


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