LinkedIn Could Help Your Nonprofit Reach Potential Supporters

LinkedIn for NonprofitsSince launching in 2002, LinkedIn has grown to include more than 380 million members in over 200 countries and territories. As a professional social network, it is widely misunderstood that LinkedIn is only for companies and nonprofits interested in establishing relationships with key stakeholders such as contacts within other companies, such as supporters, clients or donors.

While millions of nonprofit professionals have personal profiles on LinkedIn (Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management), many 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations haven’t taken the next step to create a dedicated LinkedIn Company Page, encourage employees or volunteers to connect with the company on LinkedIn, or use LinkedIn’s Job Seeker services to post free position listings that will help your nonprofit identify potential volunteers or full-time employees.

Although this professional social network provides a variety of free opportunities for nonprofit organizations via its LinkedIn for Nonprofits suite, most nonprofit organizations do not realize that this program exists and rely only on Facebook and Twitter to reach their target audiences. Here are three unique ways using LinkedIn for Nonprofits can help your nonprofit succeed in promoting your programs, services, and opportunities via LinkedIn.

Establish a Professional Presence

Every nonprofit organization has a specific goal, be it to raise funds for a specific cause or fulfill a need in your local community. It is important that every nonprofit have a professional presence online so that any potential constituent can not only find your organization, but obtain enough information to take action and pursue additional opportunities with your nonprofit.

By creating a free LinkedIn Company Page, your nonprofit is taking its first step towards increasing its online presence with working professionals seeking volunteer opportunities, board member opportunities, and employment in the nonprofit sector. Once your nonprofit has a Company Page, it can add multimedia content such as SlideShare presentations, Vimeo or YouTube videos, company news articles, and volunteer or job opportunities to your page.

Quick Tip: Make your Company Page unique by taking the time to upload a logo, profile image for your updates, and writing a detailed organization description before your start encouraging senior management to connect with the Company Page on LinkedIn.

Find Skilled Volunteers

According to by LinkedIn, 82% of registered LinkedIn professionals are interested in volunteer work. Just like posting a job, you can post volunteer opportunities on LinkedIn. Also, you do not need to worry about sending tons of InMail messages to ask people’s preference for volunteer work. LinkedIn has already done half the work for you by adding the “Volunteer Work,” “Volunteer Opportunities,” “Causes You Care About,” and “Organizations You Support” sections to each professional profile.

It is now easier than ever for nonprofits to find volunteers on LinkedIn. Users are now telling nonprofit organizations that they are interested in engaging with nonprofits that offer (1) volunteer opportunities, (2) opportunities to join a nonprofit board, (3) skills-based volunteering / pro bono consulting opportunities as it relates to a specific cause.

For example, Women Veterans ROCK!, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Philadelphia, PA that serves women veterans, military spouses, and girls in military families, is seeking volunteers to help with its signature programs in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. A staffer could visit LinkedIn and search for individuals seeking volunteer opportunities in Philadelphia, who are interested in education, social services, military veterans, politics, or human rights. The National Campaign Chair may even be seeking a vendor to revamp their website in 2016. LinkedIn could help them find a Web Developer or Web Designer that would be willing to work pro bono.

Simply by viewing a professional’s profile, you are able to find out whether he or she is interested in volunteer work, what kind of work he or she is interested in, and the skill sets he or she has. This reduces the amount of guesswork and allows you to make recruitment decisions based on the information available.

Engage Your Followers

One of the basic functions of social media is to help you engage your target audience. LinkedIn has two ways to help you achieve this. First, you can frequently update your LinkedIn Company Page by posting your organization’s activities, volunteer opportunities, and blog articles on your Company Page so that you can maintain a presence for your followers.

Second, you can create your own LinkedIn Group for your supporters and followers. Anyone interested in taking advantage of the information you share can join the group to engage with like-minded individuals and contribute to discussions. It is another way to directly communicate to and converse with your followers. Even better, LinkedIn Group members can subscribe to group notifications that will send deliver your updates directly to their inbox on a “as it happens,” daily, or weekly basis so your followers will always stay up-to-date with your nonprofit organization.

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Image via Social Media 4 Nonprofits and LinkedIn for Good

Yajie Mu

Yajie is a coming senior Chinese student at Purdue University majoring in Public Relations and Strategic Communication. She is currently a Public Relations Intern for YOakleyPR. She plans to go to graduate school to learn more about communication.

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