While the traditional methods of gaining volunteers and donations have their place, LinkedIn expands the number of viable options for nonprofit organizations, bringing it into the digital age. It provides an environment where a nonprofit can establish itself as an expert within its field. Connections can be made with businesses, other nonprofits, and donors that creates a broader web of connections within your industry. We’ll give you a run-through of the best ways to arrange your LinkedIn profile and make connections with possible donors.
Things to Note
Like any social network, it’s important to have a rough idea of the atmosphere before joining. Knowing the etiquette can go a long way to ensuring your organization meshes well with the existing environment. Here is a brief overview of LinkedIn to get you up to speed quickly.
- Business networking is the name of the game on LinkedIn. Other social networks skew towards making friends, but this one emphasizes building powerful business relationships.
- LinkedIn is—above all—professional. Businesses and organizations all behave extremely professionally on LinkedIn, so it is expected that yours should, as well.
- Because of LinkedIn’s professional nature, social/personal conversation tends to be kept to a minimum.
LinkedIn is ranked as the 13th most-trafficked website in the world, and as such it ranks highly within Google’s search results. Simply having a complete LinkedIn profile for your nonprofit increases your SEO and visibility. Below are a few tips to help you fully utilize your LinkedIn account and create a strong online marketing presence.
- Encourage your staff and board to create 100% complete profiles and connect with one another. The LinkedIn platform offers an efficient and simple way to connect with your staff, supporters, and partners.
- Continually update your products and services tab with full example and details about your work.
- Have your staff, volunteers, and supporters add the Volunteer and Causes section to their profile. Adding this information to your profile will drive awareness of your brand and strengthen your online community.
- Direct supporters to your organization’s LinkedIn page to gain followers. Provide a link to your Company Page on all your organization’s marketing materials.
There are more unspoken rules to LinkedIn than perhaps any other social network. As such, there are a few basic guidelines which will get your nonprofit started on the right track.
- Create a complete profile – The more detailed, the better. Be sure to use appropriate keywords throughout to improve your company profile’s SEO.
- Write an engaging headline – Captivate the reader with a bold and succinct mission statement.
- Join groups – Search for related groups to your industry to expand your network and connect with other like-minded organizations.
- Share knowledge – If your organization recently published content that shares knowledge, share it with your connections by posting it as an update.
- Create a “vanity” URL – LinkedIn allows users to chose their own unique URL that links to their profile.
- Stay current – Get in the habit of regularly updating your profile with your nonprofit’s most recent accomplishments and awards. 3-4 times per year is acceptable.
Because LinkedIn exudes professionalism, it can sometimes be a little too easy to overstep your bounds by becoming too personal. However, simply avoiding a few faux pas can go a long way towards others viewing your nonprofit as a respectable, professional source of knowledge within your field.
- Don’t over-share – A little goes a long way, especially when it comes to personal updates on LinkedIn. So keep it professional.
- Don’t be negative – Project your nonprofit as a positive force within your industry, rather than pessimistic and critical.
- Don’t post inappropriate photos – This isn’t Facebook, so avoid
- Don’t try to connect with everyone – Asking to connect with too many people outside of your network appears desperate. Instead, strengthen your existing relationships and ask to be introduced to one of their connections.
- Don’t neglect your profile– Rarely updated profiles lend the impression of inactivity. Let those in your network know what you’re up to by posting updates 1-2 times per week.
As you can see, because of LinkedIn’s professional tone, there are a few more etiquette guidelines than Facebook or Twitter. But with a little effort, your nonprofit will have no trouble presenting itself in a respectable manner, expanding its network of connections and spreading cause awareness.
LinkedIn is all about making connections and building relevant business and donor relationships. We have some fantastic tips in regards to connecting with donors.
- Be sure to keep your profile up to date. You don’t want someone checking out your page and finding old or incorrect information.
- Ads are a great way to make yourself and your organization known. You can find LinkedIn ad coupons floating around for testing out ad spaces. The better ones are normally not free but they do offer a decent discount.
- Promote your profile anywhere you can. This could be beneath your email signature, eNewsletters, business cards, or your other social media platforms.
- It’s time to network! Request to become members of LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your cause and could help you reach possible donors.
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