The internet is awash with posts such as ‘Why Your Non-Profit Needs to Stop Ignoring LinkedIn’ and there is a danger of charities feeling pressure to invest in yet another social networking platform.
If you’re strapped for time and resources and already engaging on multiple social platforms, do you really need to use LinkedIn? Sure it can be useful, but how useful, and in what circumstances is it worth it?
In this post we will look at six criteria to meet before your charity invests more time and effort into using the platform.
But first here’s the bare minimum that your charity should do on LinkedIn:
AT A BARE MINIMUM:
Set up a profile and make sure your basic information, a link to your website and your logo is up-to-date
Encourage your team to use their personal profiles to build connections following meetings, conferences and networking events
Implementing these steps will enable your employees and volunteers to connect with you on the platform, and help you to build on the social capital within your organisation. (Creating a profile will only take 10 minutes, so no excuses!)
Now to the question at hand: when does it become worthwhile to invest more time and effort in LinkedIn? We suggest that if your charity meets any one of these six criteria, then it could be a valuable tool.
1. If you’re looking for volunteers
If your organisation has a need for regular volunteers, then LinkedIn is an excellent place to connect with them. You can add volunteering opportunities to your profile and use the rich features in LinkedIn for Volunteers to find potential candidates.
With over 3 million people featuring causes and volunteering on their profile, there’s a big pool out there to connect with. Here’s a case study of how one organisation found a volunteer through LinkedIn (PDF).
2. If your mission is to train, teach or equip
Because LinkedIn is a platform for professionals, many of the updates shared on it feature learning or tips for work. The majority of groups are focused around professional interests - think ‘Charity UK’ rather than ‘Cat Memes’ - so finding relevant groups in which to share educational information, provided your target audience is on LinkedIn, could become a key part of your outreach strategy.
Integration with features like Vimeo and Slideshare mean it’s easy to show off your slideshows, videos and presentations.
3. If you’re conducting market research
If you have a questionnaire you need to get in front of interested people, then LinkedIn groups could be a brilliant tool. In this post, Zoe Amar talks about how Lasa used LinkedIn to share their Big Society survey.
4. If you recruit regularly
Charities such as Save the Children use LinkedIn to post jobs to groups and their company profiles, and for a fee you can get them listed in LinkedIn’s Jobs Directory. As we move into a new era of recruitment, listing job vacancies online in networking forums will become increasingly important. With statistics claiming that 73% of 18-34 year olds found their last job through a social network, if you have vacancies to fill you would be foolish to ignore LinkedIn.
5. If you already use a scheduling tool to push updates to social platforms
There are plenty of different tools out there for scheduling and posting content to different social media channels. If you’re already doing this, then it won’t take much effort to also integrate it with LinkedIn and select that option too. Regularly posting updates will alert your connections to your work and contribute to your wider marketing strategy.
6. If you have a global team
The company reports that in the third quarter of 2014, 75% of new members came to LinkedIn from outside the United States. With members in 200 countries, LinkedIn is reaching a global audience, and it can be a useful tool in connecting volunteers, employees and interested parties from around the world.
If you are liaising with people outside the UK who you might not want to email regularly, LinkedIn updates can serve as a useful way of keeping in touch with them, helping to foster connections and relationships that would otherwise be difficult to maintain.
Ready to conquer LinkedIn for your charity? Have a read of these posts first:
- 5 Ways Charities Can Use LinkedIn (Bright One)
- How To Use LinkedIn For Your Charity - Presentation (Thomas Müller , Child Helpline International)
- How LinkedIn Could Become Every Charity’s Secret Weapon (Just Giving Blog)
Can you think of any other specific scenarios in which LinkedIn is an indispensable tool for your organisation?
Let us know in the comments below.