Guest post by Monique Craig
When it comes to professional networks, there’s none better than LinkedIn.
You can be sure that all profiles are real, information is (usually) up-to-date, and people are ready to take on challenges that can help them gain new skills, build new relationships, and get their name out there.
Here are 4 simple steps to make the most of this social network.
- Set up a LinkedIn profile for your organization
Don’t have a LinkedIn page yet? Or have one, but don’t mention your volunteers’ work? It’s time to change that. Create a profile with full information about your activities, and make sure to include relevant keywords people search for when looking for volunteering opportunities.
Now, it’s time to be active. Join relevant groups, listen to what people are taking about and once you spot the right moment, share you expertise by leaving an insightful comment or advice. People will start to notice your organization and seek you out themselves.
- Make sure your volunteers add you to their profiles
If your current volunteers have profiles on LinkedIn, ask them add you as an employer to their profiles. This is something that will make your brand more visible on the network. It might inspire the connections of your current volunteers to reach out to you and ask about some volunteering possibilities. LinkedIn users realize the value of volunteering in their profiles, as well as to the overall recruiting system – this is something recruiters like to see.
- Make the most of LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace
LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace is a great new feature that allows you to get your volunteer listings in front of LinkedIn’s corporate audience. The best part? This service is free for VolunteerMatch users. All your listings on VolutneerMatch.org automatically post to LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace. And when viewing a potential volunteer on VolunteerMatch that connected with your organization, you can clearly see if the volunteer found your opportunity through LinkedIn.
To make the most of your postings, make sure you include required or desired skills for the volunteer position, and show how this role will support your overall mission and its impact on your nonprofit.
- Find volunteers through Advanced Search tool
In addition to using VolunteerMatch to make yourself visible to potential volunteers, you can use LinkedIn to seek out volunteers yourself. Using the Advanced Search tool, you can find many professionals who’ve indicated an interest in volunteerism.
Click ‘Advanced’ next to the search bar – you’ll find a section of ‘Nonprofit interest’ where you can choose from two sub-categories: Board Service and Skilled Volunteering. Check the ones you’re interested in. You can narrow down the results of your search by title, location, industry, school, spoken languages and many more.
Now you should have a clear idea about LinkedIn as a potential talent pool for your nonprofit, and a way to increase visibility for your program. Try these methods, and you’ll be on your way to building a strong brand that attracts volunteers.
Monique Craig is an Australian blogger and marketing specialist who works for Oneflare, an online marketplace which connects customers with local service providers.
Photo credit: Sheila Scarborough – flickr