Your Nonprofit's Guide to LinkedIn

With 740 million users in more than 200 countries across the globe, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network. However, nonprofits have been slow to embrace LinkedIn, using it inconsistently and without strategy.

Your Nonprofit's Guide to LinkedIn

Why LinkedIn for nonprofits

LinkedIn outperforms Facebook and Twitter in organic reach. Which means that posts on LinkedIn receive higher reach without having to pay for it. According to Nonprofit Tech for Good, nonprofits that have been regularly posting and engaging on LinkedIn have received an 8% organic reach compared to 6% on Twitter, and 3% on Facebook!

Another thing that makes LinkedIn stand out compared to other social platforms is its audience. LinkedIn users are senior level influencers in high positions. This is an audience that is looking to advance its career and business and to create partnerships, which makes LinkedIn a great place for professional networking. For nonprofits, this is a great space to cooperate with other nonprofits, share knowledge and learnings, create brand awareness, and to find and attract corporate sponsors and major donors.

That being said, your LinkedIn page is not the place to ask for individual donations, it is the place to establish your nonprofit as a serious and impactful organization.

How to begin using LinkedIn

First, create a Linkedin page for your nonprofit. The page should include your logo, cover photo, link to your website, and a description of what your organization does. You should also add a call-to-action button to your page like "visit website".

To make your organization appear professional, fill out as much information possible. If your profile page is missing information, potential supporters are less likely to take you seriously or think you are trustworthy enough.

Some best practices for your Linkedin page:

  • Profile picture - Choose a high quality image of your nonprofit’s logo (60 x 60 pixels). Prefer a logo with a white background.

  • Cover photo - Choose a cover photo that reflects your brand. This can be a photograph of your beneficiaries, volunteers, offices, team members and more. If you have a designer, another option you have is to create a cover photo with your nonprofit's tagline and a nice background.

  • Description - Should be short and clear. Use simple sentences to describe your organization’s mission and opportunities to get involved. You may include the year your organization was founded, the founders name and the geographic location you are active in.

  • Be consistent - Make sure you are consistent across all your social platforms and website by using the same name, logo and colors for your brand.

Get Followers:

Now that your page is set up, the next thing you need to do is get your initial followers. A page with many followers gives a sense of reliability and trust, whereas a page with no followers or a small amount of them can create a feeling that your nonprofit isn't known and trustworthy enough.

To get followers, ask your team, board, and volunteers to follow your page. You can use LinkedIn's "invite connections" feature to invite up to 100 people every month.

You should also add a LinkedIn social button to your website, newsletters, thank you letters and other email correspondences, so that people you communicate with can follow you easily. As you create more content on LinkedIn and engage in conversations on the platform, more followers will come organically.

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7 Effective tips for your nonprofit's LinkedIn strategy

1. Post regularly on your page

Your goal on LinkedIn is to maintain a presence among your peers and colleagues so that your nonprofit is considered a known leader in your field. Along with staying on top of people’s minds, posting regularly increases the credibility of your organization and keeps your supporters and followers in the loop.

Post 2-3 times weekly to your LinkedIn page and respond to your followers. Keep in mind that posts that include an image or a video get more engagement than ones without and that by adding relevant hashtags it is easier for people to find your posts.

Notice that the type of content that you post shouldn't focus on direct asks for donations, rather it should focus on branding your nonprofit as a professional, active leader in the field.

Relevant types of posts for LinkedIn can include:

  • Upcoming events

  • Your articles, blog posts and original content

  • Other nonprofits content

  • Press releases about you in the news

  • Announcements

  • Image videos

  • Testimonials

  • New projects you are working on

  • Messages from CEO or Founder

  • Job openings

  • Volunteering opportunities

  • Your take on trending events

  • ‘Behind the scenes' images, and get to know the team posts

Posts on LinkedIn should not include:

  • Links with no context or explanation

  • Repeating requests for donations

  • Sensitive information (for example names and pictures of your beneficiaries or donors if they haven't given consent)

  • Disturbing graphic images

2. Tag people

Tagging other LinkedIn users is a very common practice. By tagging board members, corporate sponsors and partners you give them respect. They in return, are more likely to take notice of your post and engage with it, which helps reinforce their commitment to your organization. Often when you tag someone on a post they share it on their profile, thus increasing your post's reach to a second circle of connections.

That being said, only tag people that are relevant to the content of the post, Otherwise that can be quite bothering and may be considered "spammy", which will result in an unfollowing.

tagging on linkedin
Tag people to your post to get higher engagement rates

3. Comment on other people's posts

Comment on discussions that are relevant to your field of work to create connections and to establish your position as an industry leader. Be sure to make meaningful comments that add value and seem authentic and refrain from using generic comments just for the sake of commenting.

4. Join Groups

Groups can be excellent platforms for learning and asking advice. They are also a great forum for teaching and giving advice. Conduct a search of LinkedIn groups based on your interests and category and join a few.

Being active in a group is a great way to create new connections, catch up on new developments in the field, and hear about upcoming professional events. Once again, refrain from posting fundraising links or asking others to follow your organization on social media. If they find you interesting based on your content, they will do it naturally.

5. Encourage your team members to be active on LinkedIn

Encourage your team members to have updated personal profiles on Linkedin and ask them to follow the organiztion's LinkedIn page. Ask staff, board members, and volunteers also to share and engage with the organization’s content .

Your executive team, or at least one of them (the CEO or Executive Director for example) should be regularly active on their personal profile on LinkedIn. This is because many people prefer following real people rather than organizations as they feel that with the first they will get real interactions, and with the latter, self-promotion.

6. Use LinkedIn to expand your audience of major donors, corporate sponsors, and foundations

Search and send “Connect” requests to potential donors and colleagues that work at companies and foundations that sponsor your nonprofit. Once the connection is made, engage with the content they share on LinkedIn or if you’ve worked together, endorse them and give them a positive recommendation. Be sure to also follow and engage with their organization's or company's page. Cultivating a relationship with these people can lead to partnership and donation opportunities in the future.

If you are not sure how to search for relevant connections you can use LinkedIn's Sales Navigator that help's organizations map their network, identify strategic prospects at scale, spot warm introductions, and provides real-time updates on prospects and donors.

Use LinkedIn to expand your audience of major donors, corporate sponsors, and foundations.

7. LinkedIn for Nonprofits and LinkedIn Grants

As part of LinkedIn's social impact strategy, the company has created a dedicated resource center that helps nonprofits get the most out of LinkedIn: LinkedIn For Nonprofits. In the center you can find resources and tips in four key areas: (a) recruiting and hiring quality talent, (b) fundraising and cultivating the right prospects, (c) marketing to new audiences, and (d) online learning to support your team and help them develop their professional skills.

LinkedIn also has a Ad Grants program that provides grants to nonprofits. They partner with nonprofit organizations that support job seekers facing barriers to economic opportunity such as opportunity youth, veterans, refugees, and formerly incarcerated job seekers.

In conclusion

LinkedIn is built to cultivate real professional relationships, and used correctly it can help you advance your mission and vision!

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Remember you are not alone! Join GivingWay’s community of nonprofit organizations to share your insights and questions with organizations similar to yours.


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