When it comes to developing a content marketing strategy for nonprofits, the benefits of blogging, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are widely known. But another social media platform for nonprofits, and one that often gets overlooked, is LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn, the platform has, “More than 645 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide” and almost half are regular active monthly users.

By leveraging the power of LinkedIn for nonprofits, organizations can tap into the world’s largest professional network to create awareness for their cause, cultivate donor relationships and network with professionals across the globe.

How To Begin Using LinkedIn For Nonprofits In Seven Steps

1. Set Goals For Using LinkedIn For Nonprofits

First, it essential to understand how using LinkedIn for nonprofits benefits the cause in the big picture. As you begin your discussion about these topics, ask which of these five questions are priorities:

  1. Do you want to increase the number of LinkedIn followers?
  2. Do you want to use LinkedIn to drive traffic to the website?
  3. Do you want to increase the number of shares?
  4. Do you want to generate donation leads?
  5. Do you want to build a reputation as an expert for your cause?

This prioritization will give you a list of key goals. A critical component at this stage is also outlining how key performance indicators (KPI) will measure the outlined goals, such as increased followers, website page views and donation leads.

2. Establish a LinkedIn Company Page

With goals established, the next step is to create a free LinkedIn company page that brings the nonprofit’s mission to life with engaging descriptions and pictures that pop. For LinkedIn users, the nonprofit’s company page could be the first place they look, which means everything should accurately represent the organization and its mission.

Be sure to include a logo, cover photo and website link, and fill out all the necessary tabs correctly. Discover more tips and advice for setting up LinkedIn for nonprofits here.

Content marketing strategy timeline.Developing a content marketing strategy is crucial when using LinkedIn for nonprofits.

3. Develop A LinkedIn Content Marketing Strategy

Now that objectives outlined and a company page is built, it is time to create a content calendar and decide who will implement and maintain the schedule, respond to comments and make new connections. Since nonprofits run on a tight budget, it is crucial to keep in mind the resources at hand. We suggest having at least one person dedicated to managing the LinkedIn account, with additional people to help during events and fundraisers. To begin, build a three or six-month marketing plan calendar and each quarter, review the analytics to make adjustments.

Another best practice is to ask the nonprofit’s CEO, board members and key employees to post updates on their personal page about the organization at least once a week. To do so increases the nonprofit’s presence on LinkedIn and strengthens network connections.

4. Post Regularly on LinkedIn

When developing a content calendar, remember that posting updates consistently and frequently are keys to a successful marketing strategy. Both build authority for the nonprofit’s cause and keep supporters up-to-date on the latest news.

What should a nonprofit share on LinkedIn? Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Testimonials
  • Behind-the-scenes of fundraising campaigns
  • Job openings
  • Call for volunteers
  • Press releases
  • Shared content
  • Breaking news
  • Relevant statistics or insights

Along with each post, use visuals, such as photos, motivational images, infographics or videos, to boost engagement. LinkedIn notes, “Posts with images get twice as many comments,” and videos get, “Three times the engagement of text-only posts.” Free resources like Canva for Nonprofits makes it easy to create eye-popping and attention-grabbing graphics.

An image of social connections all over the world.With more than 645 million users, nonprofits can tap into LinkedIn’s network on a global scale.

5. Leveraging LinkedIn’s Network

With a network of more than 645 million users, leveraging LinkedIn for nonprofits has enormous potential to create relationships with potential donors, volunteers and individuals or corporations all over the world interested in giving to a cause.

How do connections on LinkedIn work? The most basic type is a 1st-degree connection, or someone known directly. From there are extended connections, such as 2nd and 3rd-degree connections.

It does take time to build relationships on LinkedIn, and one of the best ways to grow a network is to encourage board members, employees and volunteers to join LinkedIn and create a polished LinkedIn profile.

Keela notes three essential profile elements:

  1. Add a profile picture, as complete profiles are more likely show up in searches
  2. Create a personal summary that also includes why they are passionate about this cause
  3. Complete the experience and volunteer sections with information about their role at the nonprofit and link back to the nonprofit

Once each profile is complete, ask members to reshare the updates posted on the nonprofit page as well as relevant updates posted on a board member or key employee profile page. The act of multiple people sharing has the potential to help increase a post’s reach and find new supporters through each individual’s connections.

Help Support Fundraising Donate Charity ConceptLinkedIn is an excellent place to connect with potential employees, volunteers and donors.

6. Use LinkedIn For Nonprofits To Fundraise and Recruit

Nonprofits are generally in short supply of money and volunteers. Using LinkedIn is one way organizations can accomplish both. Since the platform is network-based, there is tremendous potential to connect with corporations that want to partner with a cause and individuals who wish to volunteer or donate.

Here are six impressive stats from Nonprofit Source:

  1. 90 percent of corporations believe partnering with a nonprofit enhances their brand
  2. Corporations raise approximately $5 billion through workplace giving each year
  3. 9 out of 10 companies offer a matching gift program
  4. An estimated $2 to $3 billion is donated through matching gift programs
  5. Almost 60 percent of companies offer paid time off for employees to volunteer
  6. 92 percent of executives agree that employee volunteering improves leadership and professional skills

Some of the ways to connect with this audience are by:

  • Regularly posting on a company page
  • Joining a group with similar interests
  • Creating a group for the nonprofit

For a nonprofit with little funding, the investment in these three options is low and most likely involves time and resources. For nonprofits that do have extra funds, consider a paid LinkedIn ad campaign.

7. Create a LinkedIn Group

Why would a nonprofit want to create a LinkedIn Group? Think of it as a gathering space for supporters to engage and network with the nonprofit and each other. Expertise can be shared, discussions can be made and new relationships formed. A group also enables nonprofits to build credibility and authority about their cause by providing valuable information and insights within the group, and by taking the time to respond more genuinely with members.

To begin, develop a strategy that defines goals, a target audience and measurable actions. Once the objectives are clear, such as nurturing existing supporters who then become advocates for the cause, you’ll better understand how to contribute to the group and make meaningful interactions.

Like the company page, a LinkedIn Group needs to have all the pertinent information, including a logo, group name, description, and link to the nonprofit’s website. When it comes to setting up your group, one key difference from a standard page is the group rules. These guidelines should note how to interact within the group, what posts and comments are appropriate, and explain that if a member doesn’t follow the rules, they may be removed. For more insights on maximizing LinkedIn for nonprofits, LinkedIn Groups, this post by Buffer shares useful Group tips.