LinkedIn for Non-Profits

Why LinkedIn Company Pages Matter to Non-Profits: 5 part series

I co-authored this series in late October/early November 2011 with my colleague and fellow LinkedIn evangelist Colleen McKenna, owner of Intero Advisory in Baltimore, MD. 

We will soon make this into an ebook.

See Colleen’s website and blog postings for some more really great material:  www.interoadvisory.com.

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Part 1

Recently, many non-profits overlook or ignore the easy and obvious marketing opportunity that LinkedIn provides. It’s crucial for non-profits to be exposed to a potential audience 120 million+, so why waste the organization’s time by producing incomplete company pages?

Non-profits wrestle with the continuous turnover in the development sector and changes in staffing at lower echelons. Layer on little-to-no time to do more than mission-critical talks. Thus, you might be thinking, the mere thought of something else to maintain doesn’t seem ideal, BUT that is actually why LinkedIn would be most beneficial to you.

Whether the organization’s pages are used for branding, business development, recruiting, or potential funding/alliance and partnership, LinkedIn undoubtedly positions your non-profit to be relevant, while providing a stage to show how vital your non-profit is to a cause, especially when in competition with other non-profits.

Take the time to build out your LinkedIn Company profile, as LinkedIn audiences will prove to be the more well-to-do, professional givers. Other LinkedIn members, companies, and associations will be more enticed to offer your organization their time and money because LinkedIn has given them a more thorough representation of what your organization is all about.

Consider how you can build the non-profit’s LinkedIn Company Page to highlight the organization’s value and brand, services, and recruiting efforts. Use the above link to direct you to begin.

Go to “Companies” on the navigation bar and click again where it says “Add Company” on the right side of the page.

It’s important to make sure all employees, volunteers, current donors, and board members, are “mapped” to the non-profit’s title by listing it on their profile the same way it’s listed on the organization’s LinkedIn Company Page. Remember, the most connected and affiliated the company page is, the more attention and exposure it will receive from the LinkedIn community.


This company page also gives a more “human” side to your organization than a website can offer. Potential donors and affiliates will be attracted to the organization because it is more directly connected to an actual person, rather than having to sift through contacts on a website page, while also avoiding someone feeling uncertain about whether or not they could actually reach you to donate, volunteer etc.

LinkedIn also provides a section for others to write recommendations and references directly to each profile, which will be discussed later in the series.

Part 2

Again, a complete LinkedIn profile is essential in order to get the most out of your organization’s exposure, and every individual profile contributes to the company profile.

On average, it takes people about 10 seconds on a webpage to decide whether or not they’ll continue reading…if they haven’t already moved on. An anemic non-profit profile filled with anemic individual profiles makes for an extra-anemic looking organization. They won’t be compelled to move on to your website, or to think that your non-profit is a legitimate organization.

Personally, we like to follow companies and non-profits that interested us, and offer a compelling cause, or that function as a compelling resource for us.  We often check various profiles from the organization’s page and we’re usually intrigued by the authentic and valuable insight they post.

All of this being said, profiles should be up-to-date and accurate. This is part of the overall branding of the organization, and therefore needs to be managed to present the best message. Think about some of the following and how should be highlighted through your LinkedIn non-profit page.

  • Keep profiles dynamic, and not static, by continually updating the profile (ex. if someone leaves the organization, they remain associated with the organization until the profile is updated, closing out the position; post recent and relevant news, etc.)
  • Post a status update from your Company Page. As you build out your Company Page you’re able to publish content that you’re branding to a new level on LinkedIn. Any LinkedIn member can comment on, like, or share a Company Status Update. You can post images, video and URLs…and you have up to 500 characters (including spaces).

[Go to the “Overview” tab click on “admin tools” go to edit. In “edit,” select “Designated users only” type in the people you want to have administrative rights. Once you have added them click “Publish” upper right corner.]
  • Use repetitive keywords throughout the profile without being redundant. Key words explicitly describe your non-profit, classify employee positions, place emphasis on your cause, etc. The more key words used, the more your Company Page will come up in searches done by other LinkedIn members. You’ll be more easily found.
  • Ask for recommendations. Recommendations from other corporate sponsors and organizations keep your profile relevant and also show constant efforts to network.
  • Follow other non-profits and organizations you admire and do business with to associate your funding efforts. [There is a share button next to “follow”.]
  • Ask clients, donors, volunteers, members, and other affiliates to follow your non-profit on LinkedIn.
  • Add the code/link of your website
  • Forward blog posts and tweets to your profile page. This shows how involved you are in social media. [Go to admin on your profile to add this option.]
  • Add video to your profile and each service page. Here is a great tutorial on how to add video.

When it’s all pulled together, your profile will speak volumes about the type of organization you are, even for start-up non-profits and other agencies. You should also visit Waveny Care Network, in New Canaan, Connecticut, whose company profile pages we have been spotlighting to show how they represent their nonprofit through their own resources.

Part 3

LinkedIn’s Press Center reported, as of August 2011, more than two million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages. Aside from continually updating their profile, non-profits need to leverage themselves above other Company Pages by adding their logo, a value proposition, key causes and services, hiring information, employees, and other social media activity.

When built well, profile pages become similar to “microsites” that serve to create a more well-rounded perspective as we’ve already discussed. Websites, in comparison to a fully built LinkedIn profile, seem static and audiences seem to lack a more authentic understanding of the organization. Your non-profit’s website should avoid looking like an electronic brochure; instead, aim to present your audience with a more interactive and engaged portrayal of your organization. 

A well-built non-profit company profile page creates a human view of your organization with live and dynamic content based on those attached to that particular company profile page. This perspective is increasingly important and serves to generate greater awareness and potential engagement 

Take a quick look at the analytics your viewers will find on LinkedIn Company Pages. Go to the “Overview” tab on the Company Page and find the image below on the right side, click on “Check out insightful statistics about {your non-profit} employees.”

Displayed on every Company Page will be a quick graphs and insight into employees, functions, experience, educational degrees, and most commonly attended universities, that contribute to the non-profit’s culture and the types of professionals that gravitate to the organization.


These graphs paint a picture of an individual organization, while also comparing it to others. In today’s economy, people want to be associated with non-profits and other organizations that are innovative and vibrant, while offering proof of financial security and active growth.

Keep in mind as a potential donor, taking a few minutes looking at a non-profit’s statistics, there are other equally compelling snippets of information that emerge on each Company Page, and each employee profile, that will ultimately be of some benefit to your organization. For example, the individuals below may or may not have the largest internal network (of connected current employee pages), but they clearly have a strong external network of connections. Each profile has their specific connections displayed on the main page.


The user-generated details that surface provide insight for recruitment efforts done by staff, board members, and volunteers.

These details communicate important information, tell a story, convey your message, evoke emotion and create a call to action for your organization. Turn your Company Page into an “Interest Page.”  Don’t forget, you can direct people to certain pages on your Web site from areas with the Company Profile Page. Consider a link that says “Click here to reach our online donation page!”

How are you building out your non-profit’s Company Page?  Stay tuned for more ways to create a Company Page that speaks to who you really are.  Tell us your story, we want to hear.

Part 4

Putting your profile together may seem daunting after having read through Parts 1-3, so in Part 4 you’ll find more helpful specifics.

Analytics provide a lot of insight, but in the end, what will you take away from the information? In regard to your non-profit’s profile, check out who’s looking at your site and what they’re looking at. Now, do this with other sites; what are people interested in looking at on other sites? Look for patterns.

As previously discussed, the difference between a LinkedIn profile and a standard website is how much more interactive your non-profit profile will be. Many successful non-profits use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to establish and present their vision and strategy, each presented differently to the different audience in each social media platform.  They always have a great website too. In turn, this creates conversation and connections.

In its entirety, your non-profit Company Page will help you gain the following:

  • Recruiting opportunities. Young professionals have been the most immersed and engaged in the newest ways to market and network. LinkedIn provides non-profits the ability to post current job openings on their Company Page, and with a couple clicks, they can apply right there on your profile.
  • Donor Relations. As non-profits educate and create value as a resource, donors will be become more invested in the organization. Donor relations is no longer about solving the last problem, but instead thinking about how to engage in order to build greater traction for the future.
  • Differentiation. Non-profits who highlight and empower their employees to be active socially will stand out in the respective campaigns. Create more interest and more credibility. Further stand out as you compete for the same donor dollar as other non-profits.
  •  Donor Development. Donors want to work with non-profits that are shaking and stirring it up, moving things forward, that have a recognized voice, and are seen. Let your non-profit development staff come out from behind their desks and have a presence in front of their constituency via LinkedIn. Let LinkedIn work for you.

Part 5

Now, turn your non-profit organization into a sales force!

In the efforts of being found, connecting, engaging and creating opportunities, building a strong and compelling profile and Company Page is both necessary and strategic. Tell your organization’s unique story. Take the donor’s point of view (i.e. business professionals you are targeting in LinkedIn will become engaged if you fully portray and develop the need, the crisis, the imperative of WHY they should choose YOUR organization to volunteer their time and money.  But first you have to get them to follow your progress.

Outside of LinkedIn, if your Company Page is complete and “key-worded” properly, you will rank higher, and strengthen credibility, in search engines such as Google. Optimize these tools to displace another non-profit competing for the same donor dollar.

Expand and analyze your reach. How can you extend it? Rally your colleagues, teams, and associates to stay current on LinkedIn, and to build new content within their profile. If a new section is added to Linkedin remind them to add to it. A great new section is Volunteer Experience and Causes. [Go to edit profile and scroll down to Add Section, click there and choose Volunteer Experience and Causes]. Promote, promote, promote!Building digital assets are vital in the B2B world. It’s how prospects and consumers learn about individuals and companies. These digital assets level the playing field between non-profits and big companies! Use this unique opportunity intelligently, and for the exact purposes they are intended.

Also rather than a drawn out bio taking up valuable website real estate, place link from your site to the appropriate LinkedIn profile. Remember to hyperlink so a new page opens instead of leaving your original site. Drive people to View My LinkedIn Profile.

Another helpful hint: LinkedIn gives you a unique code for your Company Page. Take the code and add it to your site and display the “Follow us on LinkedIn” badge on your blog or website.  Or add the LinkedIn logo alongside the other social media logos.

 

There is no question that “followers” equates to visibility. Your employees should be followers of your page as well. [Click the arrow on Following and choose settings. See below.]

Every tab in your Company Page has its own URL, promote those and remember to use the Analytics tab to check how your page is doing.

Summary and Take-aways

The Most Important LinkedIn Company Page To-Do’s for Non-Profits

1.  Create a Company Page

2.  Set up proper administration rights

3.  Build and develop your Overview Section with keywords and value propositions

4.  Add to your Services tab with up to 640×220 banners that link to specific URLs of your choosing (i.e. map to pages on your website)

 5.  Add YouTube videos and connections to provide specific recommendations to your Services tab.

Again, your Company Page can carry the same weight as a website, and certainly more than a Facebook page, once it’s developed and properly managed.

Need help with the Company Page plan? Let Intero Advisory and Connect2Collaborate know!

Need a refresher on parts 1-4?  Feel free to visit Intero Advisory’s Resource Page or Connect2Collaborate’s blog, and get more free tutorials on how to be the most successful on LinkedIn.

2 Responses to LinkedIn for Non-Profits

  1. This presentation is excellent. Given these very challenging times for non profit organizations paying attention to posting updated info and giving potential supporters a clear idea of how an organization serves its clients is essential.

  2. Great stuff folks. Many thanks for sharing and showing another thing nonprofits can and must do in this increasingly interactive world.

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