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LinkedIn for nonprofits

publication date: Sep 25, 2012
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author/source: Leanne Hitchcock
These tips are edited from a longer interview with Danielle Restivo, LinkedIn's manager, corporate communications in Canada and Brazil.

LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network on the Internet. It's helped companies promote their marketing and hire staff. But how can nonprofits use it?

Donors and volunteers

The main area where nonprofits can leverage LinkedIn is by promoting their organizations and finding donors and volunteers. One of the things we've added over the past year is an area on profiles for volunteer involvement. A nonprofit looking for volunteers can search this area on LinkedIn. You can go into Advanced Search to use key words like fundraising or volunteering. 

Company pages 

We've been encouraging nonprofits to create a company page on LinkedIn. It's completely free - anyone who works full time or on a volunteer basis can be attached to that page. You can have an overview of your nonprofit and what it does. This is a great way for nonprofits to showcase their organization. Once you have a company page, encourage people to follow your nonprofit. In email correspondence or marketing material. if you include ‘Follow us on LinkedIn,' people can keep up to date on what you are working on. 

Prospect research If you have companies in mind as prospects, LinkedIn can help with your research as well, whether you're looking for corporate donations, volunteers, or engagement of particular people within the company. 

Employment guidance
One area we've been helping nonprofits with is helping people find employment. We've worked with agencies helping immigrants find employment, for example, the YMCA. And we've helped nonprofits to train their key staff in a ‘Train the Trainer' session to help others find jobs:  how to search for jobs, create a profile and participate in groups.

It's a matter of time 

LinkedIn is a quick, efficient way to get the word out about your organization. The initial time investment of setting up a company page doesn't have to be onerous. After that you need an hour or two a week for status updates. Another LinkedIn feature is the ability to create a group. That requires community management - perhaps by volunteers - as well as enough content.  If you have a few hours a week, it can be a great way to stay connected. 

LinkedIn in 5 easy steps 
  • Create your nonprofit's company page. 
  • Build a community around your nonprofit. 
  • Keep your status updates regular. 
  • Find volunteers/donors through Advanced Search (but be careful that your first communication after connecting isn't an ask for money or skills - advice from @Leah Eustace, Twitter, September 26).  
  • Network by creating and joining groups. 
One more tip Check out the LinkedIn Today feature - the most shared news on the LinkedIn network. It highlights what professionals are reading right now. You can follow all the top articles about nonprofits and to get industry insights. 

For more information, Danielle Restivo, LinkedIn, 416-545-6304, http://ca.linkedin.com/in/daniellerestivo


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