A 6-Step LinkedIn Action Plan for Nonprofits
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with nearly 800 million members in more than 200 countries. If you’re a nonprofit looking to reach as many potential donors, volunteers, and partners as possible, then there is no better place to build your presence.
Not sure how to get started? This six-step action plan can help you ramp up your organization's efforts on LinkedIn. Don’t worry about cramming all the steps into a single session—free to bookmark this page and come back to it as you complete each step!
Step #1: Create
Why: Your nonprofit’s LinkedIn Page can be a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about your mission and work. Having a complete, updated page adds credibility to your organization, as well as one more Google search result to help people discover you.
How: It’s free and easy to create a LinkedIn Page for your nonprofit—no coding or design experience necessary. When you visit LinkedIn, click the “Work” icon in the upper lefthand corner, then click “Create a Company Page” and enter your nonprofit’s name. If a page already exists, you’ll be prompted to claim it (and if you’re one branch of a larger organization, you can connect your pages to show affiliation by contacting the page admin). If you don’t have a page already, you can create one using an email address linked to your nonprofit’s name. From there, add your logo, website link, a description of your mission, and other pictures and details to give visitor’s a clear view of your organization’s work and goals.
Step #2: Delegate
Why: When inactive, your organization’s LinkedIn Page serves as a static place-holding bookmark, and the information displayed on it may quickly become outdated. An active page, on the other hand, serves as a dynamic magnet for potential donors, volunteers, board members, corporate partners, employees, and more—inspiring engagement with your nonprofit.
How: Choose a person within your organization who can dedicate some time each week to actively managing your LinkedIn Page—including posting content, responding to comments, and ensuring your information remains up to date. Ideally, this will be someone in your marketing or communications department who is familiar with LinkedIn and has experience with campaign messaging. If you don’t have the resources, consider hiring a professional to put in at least an hour a week.
Step #3: Share
Why: Sharing information and updates is a core function of LinkedIn. People who follow your nonprofit’s LinkedIn Page will want to know what your organization is doing to advance its mission. And if people visiting your page for the first time see nothing but months-old content, they may assume that you’re inactive and click away.
How: LinkedIn offers many different ways to share information with your network. From your nonprofit’s LinkedIn Page, admins have the option to create announcements (up to 700 characters), run polls, and share photos, videos, and external content, like links to fundraising campaigns. You can also click the “write article” option to create longer articles, or use sponsored content to push key posts out to a wider audience. Whatever format you choose, your posts don’t just have to be related to your cause; you can also use LinkedIn to highlight your organizational culture and let people know about career opportunities at your nonprofit.
Step #4: Clarify
Why: Reach is one thing—but driving action is another. Without specific details and clear calls to action, followers may not be aware of all the ways they can help your organization
How: When posting content to LinkedIn, aim to balance informational content with actionable details about how people can get involved. Don’t overwhelm your followers with asks, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to encourage involvement. Do you need volunteers? Where are you recruiting, what skills will they need, and how can they apply?
Step #5: Build
Why: Simply posting and walking away won’t build community. To create an engaged and active network of supporters on LinkedIn, your nonprofit will need to foster two-way conversations.
How: Build a connection with your followers by responding to their comments and encouraging deeper discussion. You can also comment as your organization on other posts, helping to establish your expertise and get your page noticed. For example, if another nonprofit in your field shares some research they’ve conducted, you could respond with details about what your organization is seeing. Or if you see a news story related to your cause, you could comment with details about how your nonprofit is addressing this issue.
Step #6: Maintain
Why: Making the most of LinkedIn as a nonprofit is not a set-it-and-forget-it task. A consistent presence will help you achieve your goals from the platform, whether that’s attracting great talent, encouraging donations, increasing volunteer sign-ups, or all of the above and more.
How: Connect your LinkedIn to-do list with your organization’s overarching goals and activities. If you’re launching a new campaign, think proactively about how you can lay the groundwork for and amplify the campaign on LinkedIn. You can also check out LinkedIn for Nonprofits’ guide to LinkedIn Pages for more great ideas about what to post.
Get ahead of the game on LinkedIn
In the future, I foresee every organization dedicating at least one person to networking on LinkedIn. Whether this work is performed internally or outsourced, every nonprofit can benefit from developing strong content and building an active community of supporters on the world’s largest professional network.
Once the framework is in place and the right individuals are tasked with maintenance, you’ll be able to keep your LinkedIn community up to date on your nonprofit’s efforts—and encourage action.
Jarrod Best-Mitchell is an experienced sales professional and LinkedIn coach with a passion for helping others get the most from the LinkedIn platform. To date, he has helped over 200 people to improve their LinkedIn presence. Jarrod is also the co-founder of Sales as a Profession, the Caribbean’s only conference dedicated to sales.