How to Unlock the Full Power of Your Nonprofit’s Network on LinkedIn
A few years ago, I led LinkedIn’s Connected Nonprofit Initiative, which helped nonprofits activate their collective networks in pursuit of their missions. This approach can be hugely beneficial, helping nonprofits to expand their reach, build awareness, and drive engagement with their programs and campaigns. But in my current role leading our nonprofit relationship management program at LinkedIn, I’ve heard from many nonprofit leaders that they’re looking for advice about where to start.
While many nonprofits rely on their board members and major donors to make connections and introductions, these people represent only a tiny fraction of your existing network. Your organization touches so many lives—from employees to volunteers to people you’ve helped. By thinking more holistically about your network, you can empower those who are passionate about your organization to play a bigger role in advancing your mission—whether that means sharing a post about your upcoming events with their own network, or making a referral that leads to an exceptional hire.
With that in mind, here are a few simple ways to unlock the full power of your organization’s network on LinkedIn using both the platform itself and LinkedIn solutions.
Encourage people to list their experience with your nonprofit on their LinkedIn profile
Chances are, the majority of your former and existing employees, volunteers, and board members are already on LinkedIn. But how many of them have listed their experience with your nonprofit on their LinkedIn profile? Doing so is beneficial for everyone involved, allowing them to present a more compelling picture of their experience to potential employers—while getting more eyes on your organization.
To encourage people to list their experience, consider mentioning it in your internal newsletter or sending a quick note to people in your database. You could even include a suggested description that they can easily copy and paste into their profile—like an overview of your organization’s mission, vision, and programs. Moving forward, it’s worth touching on this during volunteer orientation too so that it will be fresh in people’s minds.
Create a group for your nonprofit to activate your network
Creating a LinkedIn Group for your nonprofit and inviting your network to join is a great way to tap into their collective resources. For example, if your organization is currently hiring, you could share the job post in the group and ask if anyone knows someone who might be a good fit for the role. Or, if you have an upcoming event that you’re excited about, you could post the link and encourage people to share it with anyone who might be interested. Building an active virtual community like this also helps to keep your nonprofit top of mind for people, even if they haven’t been involved with you for some time, which may encourage some to jump back in and work with you again.
This article details how you can quickly and easily create a group. Similar to the strategy above, you can encourage your employees, volunteers, board members, donors, and program participants to join by linking to the group page in internal emails and newsletters. Try to share updates regularly (at least once a week) to keep the community engaged and up to date about your efforts.
Look for warm connection opportunities with potential donors and job candidates
In addition to using free features on the LinkedIn platform, there are various strategies you can deploy to activate your network that utilize LinkedIn’s products and solutions.
For example, if you use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for fundraising, it’s easy to map your network and identify people who are connected with prospects you want to speak to. These people may be willing to make a warm introduction for you, increasing the likelihood that the prospect will be open to having a conversation with your nonprofit about a potential donation or partnership. And if you post recruitment ads on LinkedIn, the solution will share personalized ads with strong candidates in your secondary network (people who are connected with those in your immediate network). Seeing that somebody you know is working for an organization can be a powerful incentive to explore the opportunity—and click apply.
Engage your existing network—and help it grow
By using these strategies, you can make the most of your nonprofit’s existing network and turn it into a powerful driver of change. At the same time, remember to strengthen your organization’s presence on LinkedIn to organically grow that network. By having a complete and compelling LinkedIn Page, for example, you can encourage more people to follow your nonprofit—and get involved in your cause.
To learn more about how you can grow and engage your network on LinkedIn, download our free Action Plan for Nonprofits.