How much does your digital brand matter?

Your internet presence matters, and so does your digital brand. Take it from me, a major gifts researcher for a nonprofit who is focused on identifying new prospects for fundraisers to meet, cultivate, and ultimately give a substantial gift to our organization. My job is to analyze someone's internet presence and determine whether or not our organization's mission will align with their philanthropic values. So what do I look for in someone's digital footprint?

Your digital footprint must tell your personal story. In the case of a "major prospect," a person is likely to have a lot of public information posted on the interwebs. While some of that is written by others, there are elements an individual can control: a company profile describing career history; a list of organizations a person is involved with including honor roll listings; the Forbes list, etc. All of this public information paints a clear picture of who a person is and what they are passionate about. People like me analyze the data and find the most attractive prospects for our organization. Recruiters do the same to identify the right people to interview and hire.

"Key words you post are woven into the algorithms of the internet and connect people like me to your social media profiles."

While most young professionals are not appearing on the lists above (yet!), you still have a platform to shape your digital brand. Which influencers do you follow on LinkedIn? What do you post about on Facebook and Twitter? What are the topics of articles you share on all your social media platforms? Key words you post are woven into the algorithms of the internet and connect people like me to your social media profiles. If any of your profiles are barren, lacking content or recent updates, that also gives me information from which to draw conclusions.

How we present our LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms tells a story about who we are and what we are passionate about. So whether you are in a job search or not, it is important to think about who you are online. Have an interesting hobby? Consider adding it in your "About Me" sections. Are you proud of the organization you volunteer with? Include it on your resume. We have the unique opportunity to tell a story about who we are. Use it wisely, because who knows, someone might be researching you for an opportunity coming your way!

Michael Schapiro is a Major Gifts Research Associate for a nonprofit.

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