Non-profits use LinkedIn as individuals do. The initial frame is the same: establish a profile, upload a photo or logo, connect with your people.
There is a virtuous connect: Your organization proudly highlights committed individuals (staff, board, donors). In return, those individuals publicly share their bond with you. The networks of both organization and individual benefit. A double good.
- Create an organization profile
- Ensure a staffer (or a few) to maintain and refresh your profile
- Publish news stories, images and video regularly
- Create an “editorial” schedule for LinkedIn updates
- Tell your board about your organization’s profile; invite them to connect to the organization from their individual profile (Volunteer Experience and Causes)
- Don’t hold back on great, big, or interesting news
- As with all social media, curate, edit and manage your content
Your organization’s profile is a digital cornerstone. Founding date, number of employees, web site, mission and location are displayed.
Currently, non-profits must choose company type: non-profit in their profile.
As more non-profits professionals and organizations turn to LinkedIn, I’m optimistic there will be a more accurate way to identify the profile as something other than a company.
Features for Non-Profits
One offering on LinkedIn is Board Connect. This matches prospective board members with skills needed by organizations. Being clear about your goals, mission and needs, and strengthening your network of employees, donors and board members sets a solid foundation for Board Connect. I look forward to experimenting with this. See nonprofit.linkedin.com.
LinkedIn has a dedicated area for non-profits: Linked in for Good. Follow them on twitter, @linkedin4good, and on the LinkedIn Blog. Follow Meg Garlinghouse, Head of LinkedIn for Good.
The LinkedIn for Good blog shares stories of success. If you have used LinkedIn for an organizational purpose, tell your story. Not to game the system, but keep in mind how LinkedIn could benefit your activities. Then see if that effort results in something blog-worthy.
There’s a balance between under posting and overdoing it. Presently, I think non-profits are timid on LinkedIn. Take advantage of the immense strength in networks. They are growing, and all data points to the power of people, or “human capital.”
Groups and Influencers
LinkedIn spotlights non-profit thought leaders, and offers groups for discussion. Look at those recommended for your organization, take some chances, and see how entering a group or following an Influencer works for you. Are you learning and engaging? Edit this list as well.
I recommend these Influencers:
- Beth Kanter
- Katya Anderson
- Aaron Hurst
- Charles Best
Try following them on LinkedIn and Twitter (and Facebook) to see how they present across media. You might get some great ideas you can use. I find I’m more likely to follow one person’s tweets and another’s LinkedIn posts. Voice and mission may be more authentic on one platform than another.
Share with your staff how you are using this information, and encourage them to create profiles and use LinkedIn. Strength in numbers!
Getting recognition and being poised for successful campaigns, collaborative efforts, and shared findings are some perks of being connected. There is real street cred for organizations with heart, purpose and reach. LinkedIn offers a way for non-profits to step into the conversation. And lead it.