It’s that time of year here in the U.S. when many of us think about giving thanks for the important people in our lives. For me, it’s also a good time to reflect on how I can continue to help my favorite nonprofit organizations.
On several occasions I have taught a LinkedIn seminar that is specifically designed for the board members of nonprofit organizations. I show them how they can help their organization by leveraging their existing network and experiences.
7 Strategies to Help Your Favorite Nonprofit
Here are seven strategies you, too, can use to help the organizations you care about.
1. As a board member/volunteer, be sure to include information about the organization in your individual profile in order to help promote involvement, recruit volunteers or donors, explain the mission of the organization, or facilitate any other public relations or communication effort. The following are ways you can accomplish this:
- Add the special profile section Volunteer Experience & Causes, and include not only the detail about your group but promote the general cause as well.
- In the Experience section of your profile, list as a current job your title and/or involvement along with the name of the organization. You then have 2,000 characters to explain the organization’s mission, accomplishments, and needs.
- Use one of the three websites in the Contact Info section of your profile for a hyperlink directly to the organization’s website.
- As part of your Summary section, describe why this organization is important to you.
- Write LinkedIn recommendations for fellow members of the board.
- Use your Professional Gallery to show a Power Point or video about the organization.
- Use your Professional Gallery to connect your organization’s blog or other web pages to your
- List the name of the organization in the Groups & Associations section of your profile.
2. Use the Advanced Search function to find out who in your network knows people at the significant foundations and companies in your marketplace.
The Advanced Search function is one of the top-rated features on LinkedIn. However, the problem you may run into is that some of the people involved in your organization at the highest level (especially board members) have these large and deep networks that you would love to leverage, but some will be reluctant to join and participate in LinkedIn. If you can persuade these people to build a LinkedIn network, you will be able to capitalize on their influential networks.
To assist the most networked people in your organization, consider hiring a social media intern who can help them connect with people on LinkedIn.
3. Use the Status Update Box on your home page or Discussions in groups you are in to:
- Publicize an event
- Recruit volunteers
- Share results and accomplishments
- Ask a question of the group or your network that will help you solve a problem
- Look for employees, suppliers, and/or vendors
- Share articles and websites
4. Search for and join groups that are in and out of your regional market that appear to be in the same space or have a similar mission as your organization. Remember – you can belong to 50 groups on LinkedIn, and this is a great way to keep track of what others are doing, saying, going to, and sharing in your space.
5. Consider starting a LinkedIn group for the organization’s supporters, donors, and/or volunteers. You may want to have a subgroup in order to share information that is only pertinent to volunteers, for instance. You may also wish to start a group for an event you are going to have so you can share information leading up to the event and wrap-up information after the event.
6. Consider starting a LinkedIn group that focuses on the general mission and/or purpose of your organization. In addition to starting a group for Make a Difference Wisconsin that helps educate high school students about financial literacy, I could have a more general group that is centered around improving financial literacy for youth. This group could have a national or international audience. This will establish you as the clearinghouse for information relating to this topic.
7. Use the “Follow company” function in the Companies section of LinkedIn to follow similar or related organizations that have a company page. Then you will get updates from those similar organizations so you can keep track of what they have going on.
You’re now equipped to help your favorite nonprofit organization in a new way, and I’m sure they’ll be grateful for your assistance.
Have you found any other easy ways to use LinkedIn to help your favorite nonprofit group?