Is LinkedIn really worthwhile? I recently was part of a discussion about which social media tools an organization should participate in. LinkedIn was brought up as a suggested social media tool for the organization to participate in. The first thing I thought was “Why”? I see the value of LinkedIn for personal profiles, but unless your organization has paid staff members whose sole job is to focus on social media – it’s not the best tool to be focusing on.
When I’m on LinkedIn I’m looking for individuals to work with on projects and from conversations I’ve had, others seem to be using it in the same manner (to build professional relationships). I’m not really paying attention to what volunteer work someone has done, nor am I worried about the “causes” listed in my profile. Also, I have not seen any case studies of nonprofits that have used LinkedIn and found it to be effective in bringing in additional donations, volunteers, etc (if you know of one, please post in comments!).
With that being said, it’s not a complete waste of time. If your nonprofit has the time and resources for LinkedIn, there are two things I’d recommend using it for:
1) Claim your page. You don’t need to monitor it – you don’t even need to look at it. Just set it up, set up the feeds, and let it sit. It won’t take any time, but people will be able to “follow” you and it will be another way people can learn about your organization.
2) Find prospects. Search keywords to find potential donors. For example, I did a quick search for “homeless” and a list came up of people in my network that had it in their profile. There were individuals that had volunteered at some point for organizations that focused on homelessness, as well as people that had worked (or currently work) for this cause.