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The Art of the Warm Introduction

One of the most successful nonprofit fundraising tactics relies on connecting and creating relationships with high potential donors.

One of the most successful nonprofit fundraising tactics relies on connecting and creating relationships with high potential donors. While many factors play into donor prospecting, utilizing your contacts can be a fruitful way to create connections. Expanding your base starts with warm introductions from your existing connections.

Why Securing a Warm Introduction Is Important 

Warm introductions provide you with outreach to potential donors, as well as affirm your current donor’s belief in your mission. Bear in mind that when a current donor assists you in securing an introduction to their friend or colleague, they are tacitly endorsing you and the organization you represent.

Warm introductions can prove to be an essential networking tool, enabling you to concentrate your fundraising efforts on prospective donors who demonstrate a shared affinity with your current supporters. These referrals are also important because they affirm your current donor’s belief in your mission. 

Leveraging Your Network


A primary element of successful fundraising is the ability to develop strong donor relationships and maintain high retention rates. Using quality marketing tactics and thoughtful messaging, your organization should have a strong network of recurring donors.

An organization works hard to cultivate a network, so it’s beneficial to fully capitalize on this success. Of course, maintaining excellent relationships with your current high potential donors is a priority. But what else can these donors do to expand your mission? 

This is where leveraging your network for prospecting comes into play. Your list of contributors can prove to be the key to recruiting new high potential donors. Instead of relying on cold outreach initiatives, you can reach out to your established connections and request their assistance in introducing you to their like-minded contacts.

Looking Beyond Your Existing Contacts

Before asking for a warm introduction, you will need to research and create a donor profile detailing individuals with common interests that you wish to add to your network. You’ll want to make sure your donors are connecting you with other high-potential donors who will be interested in supporting your mission.

Before requesting that your connection make a warm introduction for you, provide a clear purpose for the introduction, explaining how it will be beneficial to your cause. Your connection can provide you with details about the potential prospect to help further your efforts.

7 Key Elements of Successful Warm Introductions

Warm introductions are important networking tools that can make a huge difference in fundraising efforts. A warm introduction is simply a means to get in contact with potential contributors. 

Download The Full Guide for 7 Key Elements of Successful Warm Introductions



While nonprofits spend a lot of valuable resources on fundraising efforts, it’s important to remember that the majority of your gifts will come from a small percentage of your donors. This means strategically using your network can help increase those gifts by connecting with other like-minded contributors.

Major gifts, those totaling $25,000 or more, are crucial to sustaining a nonprofit. The best way to secure donors at this level may be through warm introductions rather than wasted cold efforts. This is because a warm introduction from existing donors signals a level of trust to the individuals they refer to you and your organization.

In addition to the challenge of securing warm introductions, your organization may struggle to pinpoint appropriate potential leads. While your board members and current donors have large networks, you’ll need to properly analyze this data to target worthwhile prospects.

By screening your current donors, you’ll be able to uncover potential contacts in their networks and develop an understanding of how strong their relationships are. This will help you decide whom you should ask for a warm introduction.


Securing the introduction is only the first step. The quality and speed of your follow-up behavior plays a vital role in maintaining your existing relationship with the donor who made the introduction. 

For example, if the introduction is made over email, be sure to respond as quickly as possible. Include your current connection in your reply so they know you took the time to outline the next steps.

The timing of a warm introduction is crucial. Try to ask for one when there is an upcoming opportunity for the prospect to engage with your mission, or after your organization has accomplished a major goal you can share with the prospect as an example of how your efforts to fulfill your mission are coming to fruition with the steadfast support of your donors. 

When responding to the prospect, provide them with details that will help guide the conversation. Share your availability for a phone call, confirm your interest, and give a clear indication of what you would like to discuss with this person.


Download The Full Guide to see 5 tips for nurturing warm introductions Below


Speaking with a connection of a current colleague is a great way to start softly pitching your cause. This should not be treated as a sales pitch to a prospect, but rather, you are sharing your organization’s mission with a potential donor based on a mutual connection’s recommendation.

Using these interactions as soft pitches will help increase brand awareness and target prospects who match your organization’s donor profile. Soft pitches require an established relationship and should be treated like a conversation rather than a presentation.

When you use this technique after a warm introduction, be sure to listen to the prospect’s story and focus on demonstrating why your mutual connection endorses your organization. These conversations should be had with decision-makers, business owners, and prospects that can truly get involved with your mission.

The more you do it, the better your soft pitches will become. 


Leveraging BoardEx to Target Prospects for Warm Introductions

The BoardEx platform specializes in revealing unknown connections to more than 1.5 million executives and decision-makers across the globe. Using BoardEx’s proprietary Relationship Mapping Algorithm, you can accurately pinpoint the most actionable connections for your organization to the leaders from more than 2 million companies within the BoardEx database. 

The BoardEx team includes more than 350 professional analysts who research, verify and maintain millions of profiles collected from credible, public sources. By effectively harnessing the power of this extensive database you can dramatically increase your professional network and nurture relationships with prospects that fit your donor profile virtually.

Through its advanced Relationship Capital Management tools, BoardEx empowers you to use your organization’s total relationship capital to successfully implement initiatives while raising your profile. 

Once you uncover the ways you can reach the people and companies you want to reach using BoardEx, you can then approach those first degree or direct contacts and request they facilitate a warm introduction.

Interested in how your existing network can reveal more prospective donors? Request a free BoardEx demo today.

By properly leveraging your existing network of connections, you substantially increase your ability to extend your donor base by concentrating your efforts on those most likely to be in a position to make significant financial contributions and a long-term commitment to supporting your organization.