“LinkedIn” is basically shorthand for “online networking” at this point. And as anyone who has worked for or run a charitable organization or NGO knows, networking is even more important in the nonprofit world than in the corporate world. Unfortunately, many otherwise well-run, successful nonprofit organizations don’t have strong LinkedIn presences.
That’s putting it mildly, in fact. Many nonprofit organizations don’t have any LinkedIn presence at all.
The reasons for this are familiar. Often, it simply comes down to a lack of resources. As stewards of their donors’ precious contributions, not-for-profits need to watch every single penny. They may not have the funds to hire a social media manager or even cover the extra few hours of a modestly paid intern’s time.
In other cases, nonprofits assume that they don’t need to network with individual or corporate benefactors on LinkedIn because they have other means of reaching them: email marketing campaigns, direct mail, corporate fundraising events, you name it.
These excuses are understandable if misguided. Nonprofits need to view robust LinkedIn presences as investments in donor development — gifts that keep giving in the weeks and months between quarterly mailing campaigns and annual confabs.
Making these investments is not as hard as one might imagine. These eight simple elements are essential for any nonprofit or faith organization seeking a better presence on LinkedIn.
- A LinkedIn for Nonprofits Subscription
LinkedIn for nonprofits is a “nonprofit resources hub” that helps not-for-profit organizations with few resources to spare conduct hiring, marketing, fundraising, and staff training with an eye to cost-effectiveness. It’s the sort of resource every organization could use to build a better online presence.
- A Company Description That Touts Your Wins
When it comes to improving your nonprofit organization’s LinkedIn profile, the first area to receive your attention should be your company description. This is your opportunity to “humblebrag” about your organization’s successes and merits. To see how a rapidly growing nonprofit threads the needle, read the LinkedIn profile for V1 Church — it’s pitch-perfect.
- A Link Out to Your Website
LinkedIn, as a whole, gets more traffic than your organization’s website. A lot more. That’s just a fact.
LinkedIn gets more traffic because it’s an authoritative domain. Search engines trust it. Accordingly, any link pointing from anywhere on LinkedIn to your own website makes your website look good by association. Don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of this “conferred” authority.
- The Names of Your Principals
Visitors to your organization’s LinkedIn profile should know who’s who within its depth chart. At the very least, your profile should list the executive director and voting members of the board.
- Fresh, Original Blog-Style Content
Use your organization’s LinkedIn page to showcase your team’s authority. The best way to do this is by publishing original blog-style updates using LinkedIn’s easy-to-use content creation tools. The more you write about what you know, the more your audience will look to you as a source of insights about your niche.
- Frequent Short Updates About New Initiatives and Milestones
Short LinkedIn updates are important too. Once or twice a week, post a quick update to your page about something you’ve been working on recently or a new milestone your organization just passed (perhaps a fundraising or service goal). Give your audience what it craves: new content.
- An Eye-Catching Cover Photo
Do you know what goes into a strong LinkedIn cover photo? Learn all about it — then find an image that does the trick.
- Active Job Postings (If You’re Hiring Right Now or Even If You’re Not)
Successful organizations are always growing. Which means they’re always hiring.
That’s the story, anyway. Keep up the appearance of momentum by constantly advertising open positions or assuring your audience that you’re seeking new talent, even if you’re not technically hiring at the moment.
Help Your Organization Stand Out From the Crowd & Do More Good
Your nonprofit organization is not consumed by a singular focus on maximizing profit. You’re no doubt proud of this. It’s why you went into the not-for-profit world rather than the corporate world, where you would in all likelihood command a higher salary (among other benefits).
Your organization and the people responsible for steering it must still think like corporate competitors, however. Because you are corporate competitors. You are locked in a competition with other nonprofits and causes for a finite amount of donor dollars. If you are to achieve what you’ve set out to achieve, you need to increase your share of the pie.
A robust LinkedIn presence can help you do this. It’s high time you began investing in your organization’s online networking capacity — because you can be sure that your competitors are too.