Most professionals see LinkedIn as a great job seeking tool. It is a platform where thousands of potential employers can browse thousands of future employees, reviewing their resumes quickly and easily. LinkedIn responds to this perception and its user’s needs by constantly developing new features to highlight professional achievement. For instance, last year they developed a “Skills” section where professionals can highlight their skills (such as Html, Financial Modeling, or Data Entry) and their network can then “endorse” these skills – providing the added bonus of social proof.
Recently, LinkedIn also developed “Volunteer Experience” and “Causes” sections where professionals can share the causes they support, or the places they have volunteered, with their entire network. These are great tools for recent graduates, who have a limited job history, but are looking to stand out from their peers. These new features can also be extremely beneficial to your Non Profit by providing you with free exposure and potentially boosting your brand.
So what is the difference between “Volunteer Experience” and “Causes” sections? How can they help your NPO?
Volunteer Experience Section
This section allows users to select the Non Profit where they volunteered from a list of LinkedIn NPO pages. If your Non Profit doesn’t already have a LinkedIn page, the user can type in the name of your organization. They can also include other relevant information, such as how long they volunteered and what duties they performed. For each volunteer experience, the user can also select a category, such as education or healthcare. Categorization is important because it improves LinkedIn’s search algorithm, making your organization easier to find.
The “Causes” section differs from “Volunteer Experience” section because it allows a professional to include your Non Profit on their profile, whether or not they have volunteered. It is a simple way for professionals to reveal a little more about themselves, by sharing the causes they are passionate about with their entire network. Your Non Profit can benefit from this authentic (and free) promotion and a boost in traffic to your website.
Make Your Nonprofit Stand Out
The first step your Non Profit should take to benefit from these features is to create a branded LinkedIn page with interesting images and a link back to your website. The second step is to encourage supporters to note your organization on their profile, either under “Volunteer Experience” or “Causes” section. In this way you can increase awareness of your organization amongst the professional community, as well as enhance your overall brand. You may also benefit from the competitive nature of LinkedIn users, as talented professionals try to match up to their peers by supporting or volunteering for organizations with high visibility on LinkedIn.