Social Media Analytics of Linked-In Network Identifies Key Prospects
C ASE S TUDY:S TR ATEGY
Social Network Analysis Reveals Hidden Gems & Landmines
How One Institution Used Linked-In To Identify Good Prospective Donors
Summary: As it prepared for a big fund raising effort, one
university applied social network strategy to use Linked-In to
fine tune its pre-launch prospecting and hone its targeting.
As a result, it uncovered alumni who knew which other alumni
to approach, found new prospective donors to approach and
revealed potential donor landmines to avoid.
C ASE T H E C HALLENGE
S TUDY: A university prepared for a major fundraising effort. With a donor base in the tens or
S TR ATEGY hundreds of thousands it needed to determine the most efficient way to make sure it
had current and accurate information about the capacity of potential donors to give.
O C T. 2008
NO. 1003 The goal is to identify which active donors are prospects to
increase their contribution and which are at risk of
decreasing it? This information lets the school evaluate
the total amount it can raise and determine the
number of gifts it needs at specific dollar amounts–
i.e. how to define its donor pyramid; especially the
top and middle. It needs to identify discretely and
confidentially new and past alumni donors who
may or may not be financially able to make
medium or large donations.
The school had to find alumni likely to know which other alumni to solicit, and which to
leave alone. In the past, it asked alumni who made big donations these questions.
C O M PA N Y:
UN- T H E S OL UTION –W H AT W E DID
But, using social network analysis, we demonstrated that the size of a donation does
I N D U S T R Y: not correlate highly to knowing a person’s donation capacity. We used networking
FUND websites, a.k.a. “social media,” to develop innovations to 50%
R AISING; identify prospective donors. 45% 46%
HIGHER First, we applied the strategic insight taught by social 35%
E D U C AT I O N network analysis; that highly connected alumni should be
% a g e o f Alu m n i
chosen early to ask these questions; regardless of how
PROFILE: much money they gave. They know who feels close to the
TOP R ANKED school or to classmates, who started a new business or lost
U.S. a job, and who is focused on finance-affecting family issues;
COLLEGE e.g. divorce or health. “Connectors” are likely to know who in
the alumni body are open to being approached and those
who are not. 10 35
75 150 250 400
The school did not systematically identify any alumni as 500
Source: Bruce E. Segal
“Connectors.” We showed they are easy to find on Linked-In and are
as well connected off-line to other alumni. Then we developed a process to build
several lists using Linked-In to find alumni with the top 60 Linked-In networks, and
thus let the institution discreetly and confidentially approach them.
Bruce E. Segal ● 610-667-8188 ● BruceESegal@gmail.com
Page 2 of 2
Second, we developed a process to use Linked-In to sub-segment the highly
connected alumni into those who feel an affinity
for the institution, and those who do not. In the 5.0%
process, we revealed alumni the school did not 4.0%
know felt close affinity because they connect 3.5%
through classmates and were inactive alumni. 3.0%
We used this process to create a contact list 2.5%
of alumni with warm feelings for the school. 2.0%
Lastly, we developed a systematic and 1.0%
repeatable business process using Linked-In to 0.5% 5 WW2 4 Boomer 3 Millenial/Gen X 2 Gen Y
update these lists and the school’s internal 0.0%
data with current information. On an on-gong
basis, the school could validate and update its Source: Bruce E. Segal
internal information against data from Linked-In.
Plus we showed the generational distribution of alumni on Linked-In. It looms large.
Did you just ask yourself How did he do…that? Would you like to learn the details? Call
or email Bruce for “How We Did It,” the companion piece. See “How We Did It” below.
T H E R ESULT – S T R AT E G Y. TA C T I C S . A C T I O N !
In a short time, the school found alumni most likely to know which other alumni to
approach for medium to large donations. It discovered alumni to approach it
previously did not know, found known alumni it might have otherwise skipped and
revealed landmines of alumni not to ask. It updated its database with current
information as well as expanded it with new information. And it began to understand
generational differences in alumni with profiles on a major social networking website.
Strategy: Identify alumni most likely to know who to approach for donations based on
social network analysis–who is a connector outside of the alumni body–and not solely
how much money they last gave. Connectors are likely to know many people across
the alumni body.
Tactics: Identify alumni who Use Linked-In (an online networking or “social media”
channel) to augment the internal database. Use it to identify connected and trusted
alumni it did not know existed and add them to its database. And use it to update
alumni already in its database with new information from Linked-In.
Results: Use Linked-In social network analysis to fine tune pre-launch prospecting and
hone targeting. Generate targeted and focused list of donor prospects, additional
connector-sources and validate them against house list. Identify alumni with Linked-In
profiles by generation. Expand initial list from the top 60 alumni connectors to the top
150 or more. Use the consolidated lists of connectors, donors to approach or leave
alone to start campaign. Then after launch, measure results by money generated.
H O W W E D ID I T
Did you ask yourself “How’d he do that?” Want to learn the details? Call or email
Bruce E. Segal for the companion piece “How We Did It.” To include those details here
makes this Case Study too long.
To learn how Bruce Segal can put strategic insights like this to work for you
and help you achieve similar results, call Bruce at 610-667-8188, or e-mail
Bruce E. Segal ● 610-667-8188 ● BruceESegal@gmail.com
1003 ESQunltd Case Study Strat Using LinkedIn.doc