Leveraging LinkedIn for Your Non Profit

Photo courtesy of jscreationzs, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of jscreationzs, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Note from Becky: I had the pleasure of meeting Sherman Mohr while working with a client in Nashville, TN recently. Sherman shared some of his thoughts about using LinkedIn to support non profit endeavors, so I invited him to write a short blog series on this topic. Enjoy!

I’m fortunate to live and work in Nashville, TN. While I have great aspirations for global work and passions for global causes, I can say that the “giving” community (i.e. the not for profit community) here in Middle TN ranks second to none. Private industry and individual charitable givers make Middle TN one of the most prolific non-profit communities in the world. The numbers in the Nashville MSA at the end of 2011 were as follows (all numbers provided by Center for Non-Profit Management http://www.cnm.org/Resources/Links):

  • Employs 151,734 people

  • 15.3 percent of all regional employment

  • 2,045 nonprofit organizations account for 5.44 percent of all regional businesses

  • Top line revenue of $9.4 billion comprising 6.7 percent of all regional business revenue

  • One in every three individuals over 16 years of age has volunteered for at least one nonprofit organization; generating an economic value of $376 million in wages and salaries and 8,147 in full-time equivalency work hours.

  • The nonprofit sector has a strong export base, attracting $2.7 billion from sources outside the Nashville MSA, or one in every three nonprofit dollars.

  • The economic impact of the direct spending of $2.7 billion (export base) by the nonprofit sector accounts for $6.12 billion in business revenue, representing 4.37 percent of all business revenues in the Nashville MSA.

I’m sharing these numbers as it relates to this article as a study in what is possible when a community backs its non-profit community. The entire community benefits when non-profits work together, as is evidenced in Nashville. This represents the full potential of not just human assistance, but corporal or community benefit. Keep this in mind as we discuss how LinkedIn may be used for non-profits. Every click and connection matters.

The information that follows is high level. There are additional resources you may use to get granular in your implementations.

A mixed blessing. One of the things that non-profits should glean as an advantage is the fact that there are incredibly cumbersome regulations around their ongoing tax status. The government’s involvement in a non-profit’s tax status is a double edged sword. You have to comply or risk loss of value non-profit status. By virtue of complying, your organization has to answer significant strategic questions around mission, vision, purpose, existence, audience, and more. These are all items that many for-profit entities just bail on. Not so with the non-profit. Why is this important?

Strategy and purpose is key when maximizing marketing and sales efforts. Your organization’s work on any online platform has to reflect the narrative or story around the entity’s existence. Once you’ve revisited your strategy, purpose, and mission, you can then utilize LinkedIn’s targeting and connectivity potential to the max.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Your very first stop on LinkedIn should be this link. https://nonprofit.linkedin.com/. This is the general starting point for resources for finding employees, finding volunteers, and finding board members.

If you’re looking for employees, this helpful link will get you started. https://nonprofit.linkedin.com/find-employees

LinkedIn currently drops the price of a monthly listing for non-profits looking for employees to $29.90 a month as compared to the nearly $100.00 monthly paid by the for-profit business. This is an incredible value given the potential quality pool of employees already on LinkedIn’s platform.

On the search function, let me share a quick example of what is possible. When I used LinkedIn search to identify non-profit employees with the word “relationship” in their profile, I found 237 LinkedIn profiles with that word in their profile in Middle TN. What that alludes to of course is the individual is responsible for some aspect of their current or past employer’s relationships with donors. With a Premium subscription to LinkedIn, I would have had access to all kinds of data. More on that in a moment.

If you’re looking for volunteers, this helpful link will get you started. https://nonprofit.linkedin.com/find-volunteers

LinkedIn also currently drops the price for their job placement tool so it may be used to find interested volunteers as well. Again, for a nominal $29.90 a month, you could proactively recruit those people interested in volunteering for the organization. My search test for volunteers in Middle TN garnered 520 within minutes of downtown Nashville. These were people with histories in volunteering in the non-profit space. LinkedIn makes the work easy for me.

If you’re looking for Board Members, this helpful link will get you started. https://nonprofit.linkedin.com/find-board-members

Why leverage LinkedIn? LinkedIn members possess needed skills and 78% of those surveyed want to join a nonprofit board. You’d be wise to compliment your search for board members via LinkedIn for the following reasons:

  • The results of your online search through LinkedIn already share massive amounts of detail showcasing early stage fits for your organization.

  • The resulting profiles in your search show how you are connected to the individual. You may more easily vet the results by contacting your connections and finding out what they know about the individual.

These are just a few of the major benefits of establishing a presence on LinkedIn. There are many reasons to utilize LinkedIn for your non-profit. If any of this assisted you and your organization, I’m pleased. I recommend going to the links above and reviewing all of them. View the videos and enjoy growing your non-profit’s influence on LinkedIn.

In the next article in this short series, we'll explore LinkedIn company pages and some of the strategic moves and best practices you should deploy prior to pulling the trigger on too many recruiting efforts. 

Sherman Mohr is a Nashville entrepreneur and serves as Enterprise Worldwide Relationship Manager for The Rainmaker Companies. You may find him at http://shermanmohr.com or http://therainmakercompanies.com.