How nonprofits can get the most out of LinkedIn’s free features
Nonprofit professionals are masters at stretching their budgets. Leveraging free platforms and features is one of the best ways to make a budget go further—but I know that these tools are only helpful if you can quickly get up to speed with how to use them. That’s why, as the Head of LinkedIn for Nonprofits, I was disheartened when research revealed that only 19% of nonprofit professionals on LinkedIn feel confident that they’re using the platform to its full potential.
Our team set out to fix that. In January, we launched the LinkedIn for Nonprofits Resource Hub — a free, curated collection of step-by-step guides, best practices, live webinars, and more designed to make it easy for busy nonprofit professionals to get started with and make the most of LinkedIn’s free features.
If you’re part of the majority that feels their organization could be doing more with LinkedIn, here are three key steps that can help you get there.
1. Have a LinkedIn Page that invites further action
Today, there are over 900 million members on LinkedIn spanning more than 200 countries and territories. Among those millions are people who can help move your nonprofit’s mission forward by making a game-changing donation, volunteering for your board, or introducing you to your next great hire—the possibilities are limitless. But in order to connect with those people, your nonprofit needs to establish a strong presence on LinkedIn.
That starts with creating and optimizing your organization’s LinkedIn Page. If you’re reaching out to people on LinkedIn or posting content to catch their attention, you want to give them an easy way to research your nonprofit without leaving the platform—and a compelling reason to get involved. A LinkedIn Page that’s complete, up to date, and active helps to convey credibility and build interest, giving your audience the confidence to take the next steps in supporting your organization.
2. Activate your team to tap into your extended network
Your nonprofit may not have a big following on LinkedIn yet, but your network is likely larger than you realize. Think about how many past and present employees, board members, and volunteers you have—and how many people they collectively know and are connected with on LinkedIn. That’s your nonprofit’s extended network, and you can tap into it to find support by asking your team to take a few simple actions on LinkedIn.
First, make sure that everyone who has a role at your organization lists it on their LinkedIn Page, either in the “Experience” or “Volunteering” sections. This is beneficial to them, too, as it helps them tell a well-rounded professional story. Then, ask them to follow your nonprofit’s LinkedIn Page and encourage them to share important posts by utilizing LinkedIn’s “Notify employees” feature. The more your team engages with your nonprofit on LinkedIn, the more people in their network will see this activity and get curious—leading to future support.
3. Don’t wait for the right people to come to you
If you’re on the fundraising or development team at your organization, you probably have a long list of people and corporations you wish you could have meetings with. There’s a strong chance that the decision-makers you need to reach are on LinkedIn—and you can find them by strategically using the LinkedIn search function.
Whenever you find someone you want to connect with on LinkedIn, be sure to follow a few best practices, including adding a note to your initial connection request, asking for warm introductions wherever possible, and using information from their profile to personalize your message. Not every person you reach out to will connect or respond—but it only takes one person to open a door that changes everything.
There’s so much that your nonprofit can do for free on LinkedIn, and you don’t have to figure it out on your own. If you need more support after exploring the LinkedIn for Nonprofits Resource Hub, you can find it by visiting the Community section. There, you’ll find information about upcoming webinars, Ask-Me-Anything sessions, and other opportunities to connect with our team and get your questions answered. We can’t wait to see nonprofits thriving on LinkedIn, and we’re always here to help if you need it.