LinkedIn’s $18.6 Million In-Kind Gift to Help Nonprofits Attract Skilled Volunteers

LinkedIn for Good LinkedIn renews commitment to social sector and the promise of skilled volunteering

In June of 2014, VolunteerMatch announced a game-changing partnership with LinkedIn For Good that automatically reposts every skilled volunteer opportunity created on VolunteerMatch to LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace — and with it the potential to reach LinkedIn’s 400 million members.

This is the promise of the nonprofit sector partnering with the tech sector to take social change to scale.

Everyday VolunteerMatch is now republishing nearly 40,000 skilled volunteer opportunities from tens of thousands of local causes across the country looking for passionate and talented volunteers.

LinkedIn announced the Volunteer Marketplace in 2014 and described it as an extension of LinkedIn doing what it does best — “connecting talent with opportunity at massive scale.” For VolunteerMatch, it has been a high-leverage opportunity to expand the market for skilled volunteering and better serve the 100,000+ nonprofits already using VolunteerMatch to find the volunteers they need.

And the impact goes beyond VolunteerMatch’s nonprofit members. LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace is also working with other exceptional organizations challenging the status quo like Taproot, BoardSource and Catchafire.

Since launch, LinkedIn has become VolunteerMatch’s #1 network partner, engaging nearly a million new volunteers and giving tens of thousands of nonprofits unprecedented access to the volunteer skills they need to advance their mission. It’s matched a wide range of talented professionals with ways to use their experience and skills to help their communities. And it’s brought well-deserved attention to the concept of skills-based volunteering and broadened the concept to include not only consulting and technical skills, but also talent and experience in education and the arts.

How does it work? Let’s look at just one example we recently profiled.

Last year, Mercy Housing posted on VolunteerMatch for a skilled yoga instructor to teach a weekly class to its senior residents. This opportunity was automatically reposted to LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace. Hannah, browsing LinkedIn, found the opportunity, and was immediately interested. She’d grown up with volunteering, but it wasn’t until she found a way to use her specialized skills to give back that she realized how enjoyable and fulfilling volunteering could be.

And Hannah is not alone. Since VolunteerMatch’s partnership with LinkedIn began, we’ve connected more than 100,000 interested volunteers with opportunities to put their talents to good use.

Giving the social sector world-class access to volunteers in a connected world is what VolunteerMatch is all about. We are breaking down barriers to close an engagement gap that frustrates and marginalizes the promise of everyone finding their opportunity to make a difference.

This commitment from LinkedIn for Good provides VolunteerMatch’s nonprofit members with access to the equivalent of $18.6 million dollars worth of free recruiting services, because LinkedIn believes every nonprofit should be able to find the talent and connection they need to succeed.

If you are interested in joining the 10,000,000 LinkedIn members already participating in the program just add the Volunteer & Causes field to your LinkedIn profile and indicate that you are interested in ‘skills-based volunteering’ opportunities.

If you are a nonprofit just make sure all your VolunteerMatch opportunities are tagged by skill and we will do all the rest.

On behalf of all the amazing people and causes we serve, I want to thank the LinkedIn for Good team, and our amazing board member Meg Garlinghouse, for this opportunity to come together to put the power of technology to good use.

Interested in partnering with VolunteerMatch? Find out how.

Session Recap: Tech Platforms for Volunteering

“How many of you work for nonprofits?”

Joel Bashevkin, Executive Director of Taproot Foundation, posed this question to a packed room in downtown San Francisco last week. As might be expected at an event for the group San Francisco Tech4Good, a majority of the audience raised their hands.

“How many are tech workers?” Joel went on to ask. While less than before, a substantial amount of hands went in the air.

“How many are nonprofit tech workers?”

As a few lonely hands proudly went up (mine included), the audience let out an embarrassed chuckle.

Why aren’t there more organizations that merge technology with the social sector? As an employee of VolunteerMatch, I’m fortunate to see technology put to work every day for social good, and I know the large-scale effect it can have. (Last year alone, VolunteerMatch generated $1.34 BILLION in social value).

This quandry, along with many others, was discussed at last week’s Technology Platforms for Good. The event rounded up pioneers in the tech-volunteering space. Our own Greg Baldwin joined the panel along with Joel Bashevin and Meg Garliginhouse, Head of Social Impact at LinkedIn.

The ultimate conclusion? With so many ways (and free ways at that!) to find, manage, and engage volunteers online- if you’re not using technology, you’re missing out.

I’ve chosen a few of my favorite live tweets from the session, some of which include actionable advice for engaging volunteers via technology (see below). Want even more? Watch the video recording of the event.

4 Steps to Grow Your Volunteer Program with LinkedIn

Guest post by Monique Craig

Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Volunteer ProgramWhen 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

Nonprofit Insights: The Brave New World of Engaging Skilled Volunteers

The Nonprofit Insights webinar series brings major thought leaders and experts to you for thought-provoking presentations on a variety of issues related to technology and engaging your community members for social good.

head shots of professional people and their faces.In today’s connected world, new ways of involving volunteers in your organization’s work are popping up all the time.

Have you thought about how volunteers with specific skills could help your nonprofit?

The Brave New World of Engaging Skilled Volunteers

Register for this free event.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
10am – 11am PT (1-2pm ET)

Follow along with the conversation on Twitter: @VolunteerMatch and #vmlearn.

Join VolunteerMatch and LinkedIn on Wednesday, November 19, 2014, for this Nonprofit Insights webinar about the benefits of engaging skilled volunteers, and best practices for setting up a skilled volunteering program in a strategic way.

With 300+ million potential skilled volunteers on LinkedIn alone, connecting with the help you need doesn’t have to be time-consuming or scary. We’ll show you how to make the most of the unique partnership between VolunteerMatch and LinkedIn, including real-world examples of how other nonprofits have successfully connected with skilled volunteers via LinkedIn.

Register for this free Nonprofit Insights webinar now.

Volunteering Annals: Helping Our Community Use Linkedin at the Public Library

Volunteering with skills at san francisco public library

Greg Baldwin teaches the class.

The incredible thing about giving is just how much you get in return – even when you’re not expecting it.

That was one of the takeaways from an afternoon of training a few of us from VolunteerMatch recently conducted at San Francisco Public Library’s main branch, when what was originally a fun challenge for our readers became an important lesson in the power of skilled volunteering.

This story begins earlier this year. As VolunteerMatch prepared to pass a key milestone in our work to make it easier for good people and good causes to connect – our 6 millionth volunteer connection – we bet readers of Engaging Volunteers that they couldn’t guess when we’d hit the mark. To put our money where our mouth is, we promised to let the closest guesser do something special: they could tell the VolunteerMatch team where to do our next employee volunteer outing.

Two weeks later, we hit 6,000,000… a mere 30 minutes after Carla Lehn, a consultant for the California State Library, said we would. Carla, bless her heart, asked us to do our volunteer service in a California library close to us. But what would we – what could we? – do to help?

Moving from Service to Skills

What we came up with was VolunteerMatch’s first ever skilled group employee volunteer outing. Working closely with volunteer program coordinator Kai Forsley and the Volunteer Program at the San Francisco Public Library, myself, Shari Ilsen and Greg Baldwin put together a free hour-long training on using Linkedin to find a job.

The event took place at the city’s popular main branch and was attended by around 15 members of our San Francisco community. We covered how to create an account, set up a profile, network with other professionals, and take a strategic approach to your job search.

Don’t get me wrong: All three of us have presented in the past to much larger audiences. But this was on a topic that had nothing to do with VolunteerMatch and everything to do with the unique needs of the audience served by SF’s library. In short: it was skilled volunteering to support the mission of a local organization.

The hour flew by and we stayed late with the audience to answer questions. Afterwards, as Greg, Shari and I headed back to our office, we talked about how much we enjoyed being able to do what we love — helping people — using the skills we already had. And how great it felt knowing that we were also learning how to talk and present on something we’d never shared with an audience before.

One thing that kept coming up in our discussions was that this was how many other members of the VolunteerMatch team could benefit from getting involved in delivering trainings like this. We all have the ability to put ideas into play for a willing audience. And we can all stand to get better at how we deliver that information.

Laughing, we talked about how great it would be to move beyond the types of unskilled but beneficial volunteering we’d done as groups before (think: fun park clean ups, social service facility rehabs, environmental restorations, etc.). What if VolunteerMatch made it a point to help our team to find skilled roles we could use to give back and also augment our own professional abilities?

Fast forward to today. Shari has stepped forward and has worked with Kai and the Volunteer Program set up monthly training sessions on a variety of topics through the next year. Different members of the team will be invited to take part, meaning we can rotate more people through this exciting opportunity. And of course more of us will be able to help the library fulfill its mission while also strengthening our own presentation skills.

Today we just passed 6.5 million volunteer connections — and we’re moving to the next big landmark faster than ever. What’s that, you ask: Will we have another contest to let the crowd determine where we’ll volunteer? Sounds like a great idea to me!

How about you? Do you volunteer your skills through a program set up by your employer? What have you learned? Share your experiences here.