LinkedIn Basics For Nonprofits

By Katelyn PrestonJune 22, 2016

Facebook is personal. Instagram is visual. Snapchat has a time limit. Twitter is news. And LinkedIn, well, LinkedIn is its own animal. 

LinkedIn is the only social network designed to make connections specifically for professional and business purposes. Members use the platform to further their careers, find new jobs and converse with others in the professional space. 

For nonprofits, LinkedIn provides a unique opportunity to seek out supporters and engage with them in order to raise awareness of a cause. Here are a few steps to start building a presence for your nonprofit on LinkedIn. 

1. Create a company page  

In order to showcase your nonprofit on LinkedIn in the most effective way, you should create a company page. A company page will have all of the up-to-date information for your organization, your logo and a header graphic. LinkedIn members will be able to follow your LinkedIn page and your status updates will appear in their feed. Once the company page is created, it is important to appoint someone as page moderator. This person will be responsible for posting, answering questions and interacting with the followers. Please note that you must have a personal LinkedIn account in order to create a company page. The person who creates the page, however, can assign other page admins to share the responsibilities of the page with other members of the organization. The American Red Cross and JDRF both have complete and well written company pages. Using these and other examples as a guide, you can set up a company page in less than an hour. 

2. Share your story (and ask others to help)  

You may be wondering, “What do I post? Where do I get the content from?” Sharing your story can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. It is important to establish a presence by posting relevant, meaningful content on a regular basis. That way, your current followers will not only stay informed, but also engaged with what the nonprofit is doing. Examples include current events, fundraising results, spotlights on people in the organization, photos, etc. 

After you’ve begun posting status updates, make sure you invite all members of the organization, from supporters and the board of directors, to volunteers, friends and family, to follow the page and also connect with the moderator. These first followers, and those that have close ties to the organization, can help to spread the word about the nonprofit by sharing it with their connections. 

In addition, make sure that those directly involved in the organization (ie: board members or employees) list the nonprofit as their company on LinkedIn. That way, when potential connections view the page, they will also see the people they could connect with to learn more. 

3. Network to raise awareness

LinkedIn’s Groups and Publishing features make it easy to network your nonprofit. 

Groups on LinkedIn are communities of people who share a commonality, such as a skill or interest. Groups can be public or private; you may ask to be a member of a private group and a moderator will accept or deny your request. As a nonprofit, admins of the page could join volunteering groups in your area. Another idea would be to join a group that’s focused on fundraising to discuss new ideas with others. In these groups, and through conversing with the other members, you will show your knowledge and help others by providing ideas and sharing your experience. The Publishing feature of LinkedIn, part of their “Pulse” news app, allows you to write and share professional content. These articles can help position you as a thought leader in the nonprofit community and beyond. 

Now that you’ve got an idea of how to get started on LinkedIn, begin brainstorming within your organization for what to include on the page. You’ll need graphics, a description, and content to post. Pretty soon, you’ll begin to see that LinkedIn, like the other social media sites, can help you raise awareness for your nonprofit.