What Nonprofits Can (and Should) Do with LinkedIn’s New Volunteer Field

Last week we gave you a short overview of the new field LinkedIn has added to its professional profiles, “Volunteer Experience & Causes.” The new field enables individuals like your volunteers to enhance their professional profiles online. It’s important to recognize, however, that it also presents opportunities for nonprofits to develop and improve your volunteer programs, as well.

"Volunteer Experience & Causes"
Volunteer experience on LinkedIn

The addition of volunteering to LinkedIn sends a message to the network’s more than 120 million users around the world. It reinforces the idea that this type of experience is an important aspect of an individual’s professional qualifications.

As everyone else learns what we nonprofits have always known about volunteering, we also have a new opportunity before us. The “Volunteer Experience & Causes” field makes LinkedIn a more useful tool for nonprofits, especially for volunteer managers.

"Volunteer Experience & Causes"
Cause interests on LinkedIn

Currently we are continuing to work closely with our friends at LinkedIn to make their network an even more valuable resource for nonprofits. So to begin, here are some ways this new field on LinkedIn can benefit your volunteer program, your organization, and your mission:

Recruitment and Outreach

When your volunteers list their volunteer experience on their LinkedIn profiles, your organization name becomes clickable and links directly to your Company Page. Everyone that views their profile can then reach your Page with one click.

To take advantage of this feature, however, you must do two things:

  1. Encourage your volunteers to add their work with you to their LinkedIn profiles. You may even want to give them pre-written descriptions that they can simply paste in, to make it easy.
  2. You must have Company Page on LinkedIn. It’s free and a great way for potential volunteers, employees and even funders to find you in the network. Click here for easy instructions.

Volunteer Screening

LinkedIn has recruiting products used by some of the biggest companies in the world, but even without these tools LinkedIn is a great resource for screening potential volunteers.

Perhaps you recruit a volunteer through VolunteerMatch, for example. You can then plug their name into LinkedIn and learn more about their volunteering history and interests.

Engagement and Retention

Finally, the new section at LinkedIn is a great place to recognize the impact volunteers have on your work. Your volunteers can use it to showcase this impact to their networks.

When you encourage your volunteers to add you to their LinkedIn profiles, you demonstrate that they are an important part of your team. Your volunteers will then be more engaged in their work with you, and more likely to stick around and become more involved.

So if you haven’t already, make sure your nonprofit has a Company Page on LinkedIn, encourage your volunteers to add their work with you to the “Volunteer Experience & Causes” section of their profiles, and report back to let us know how it goes!