Happy Thanksgiving! I know it's a few weeks away, but I want to share this special tip before everyone heads off to grandma's house or to the north woods to track down Bambi. If you're not from my part of the world, that means deer hunting.

Last year's Thanksgiving message was turkey dinner about using specific LinkedIn features to show thankfulness to the special people in our lives who have helped us.

The format caught lots of people's interest as I ranked the effectiveness of those features with drumsticks (the more drumsticks the better). You can click here to check out that post.

This year I will use the same format to talk about how you can use LinkedIn to help your favorite nonprofit organization grow and gain exposure with your network and in your overall market.

These features are grouped by expected time commitment, from good (takes just seconds; one turkey drumstick ) to best  (ten minutes; three turkey drumsticks). 

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  • "Follow" the organization's company page
  • "Like" one of the organization's company page status updates
  • Connect with key people on the organization's staff
  • "Like" a status update shared by a staff member about the organization

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  • Engage in a group discussion posted by a staff member about an upcoming event or activity
  • Comment on one of the individual status updates from the staff
  • Comment on one of the organization's company status updates
  • Share with your network some of the organization's status updates that highlight upcoming events or volunteer activities
  • Add to your profile the special section Volunteer Experience & Causes and include not only detail about the nonprofit but promote the general cause as well   

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  • In the Experience section of your profile, list as a current job your title and/or involvementalong with the name of the organization. You then have 2,000 characters to explain the organization's mission, accomplishments, and needs.   

    Also consider using the Professional Gallery to highlight their mission and programs. Include video, slide presentations or documents. Here is an example of how I've done this on my profile.

  • You can list three websites on your profile. Use one of the three websites for a hyperlink directly to the organization's website. 
  • In your Summary section, consider including a special paragraph to describe why this organization is important to you.
  • Use the LinkedIn Advanced Search function to find out who in your network knows people at the significant foundations and companies in your marketplace. Then facilitate an introduction to the staff of the nonprofit organization.
  • Use your status update or discussions in your LinkedIn groups to: 

    • Publicize an event
    • Recruit volunteers
    • Share results and accomplishments
    • Ask a question of the group or your network that will help solve a problem
    • Find employees, suppliers, and/or vendors for the organization
These actions will give your favorite nonprofit some "LinkedIn love" that will increase their exposure, but it may help you as well. People will see your passion for organizations in your community and around the world, and people love doing business with people who help others.