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LinkedIn For Nonprofits: How It Can Help You Reach Your 2021 Goals

Tatiana Morand Avatar
Tatiana Morand
Published on January 22, 2020

You’ve probably heard of LinkedIn.

Maybe you’re already using it for your professional life, and have connected with lots of other nonprofit workers to trade best practices.

Or maybe you made an account a few years ago when you were looking for a new position, and then promptly forgot about it.

However you’re using it personally, you might be wondering: Isn’t it just that boring corporate platform where people post jobs and faux motivational quotes? How will it help my nonprofit?

gary vee linkedin


Well… sometimes.

But regardless of your personal views, it’s still the largest professional networking platform, with nearly 660 million members over 30 million companies listed.

That’s why it’s the place to establish your nonprofit as an impactful organization, your executive staff as thought leaders in your industry, and enlist high-quality members, board, volunteers, and staff.

In this post, we’ll show you exactly how to succeed on LinkedIn as a nonprofit by covering:

How to Set Up a Nonprofit LinkedIn Page

Setting up a LinkedIn page is easy, and can be done in about 20 minutes.

With that said, do take the time to complete it fully, since pages with complete information get 30% more weekly views.

(So, even if you think you’re all set up, it’s worth reviewing this section to make sure everything is the way it should be!)

Golden Phase

Organization Information: What You’re All About

When you begin to set up your page, you will be prompted to provide information in two sections, the “header” section, and the “about” section.

In the header section, you will provide the name of your organization, a tag line, and a button to add your website to your page.

In the about section, you will provide a brief description of your organization’s mission and more details like contact information, company size, and industry. In the location tab, you can provide a full address. There’s also a hashtag section where you can add relevant hashtags to help people find your organization. You can even showcase LinkedIn groups on your page and select languages spoken at your organization.

Images: What’s Your Brand? 

Next, you will add relevant images to your profile image and banner. Your profile image is typically your logo, and the banner is an image that represents the work your organization does. We suggest using the same banner image used across all social media networks to ensure a consistent brand.

Be sure you are using the correct dimensions so your banner and logo are seen in its entirety. The recommended logo image size is 300 x 300 pixels, and the size for a company page cover image size is 1536 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall.


6 Ways You Can Get the Most Out of LinkedIn for Your Nonprofit

Once you’ve gotten the boring stuff out of the way, it’s time to get to the fun part: how you can actually use LinkedIn as a useful resource for your nonprofit!

Just like all social media platforms, each has a purpose, and best practices that will ensure you get the most reach out of its network. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, where users go to engage with leaders and colleagues in their industry and causes they care about.

One caveat, though: if you’re trying to reach a demographic that’s not on LinkedIn, such as teenagers or retirees, it may not be worth it.

But if you’re trying to reach executives or business professionals, it may be worth a shot.

linkedin demographics

If that sounds like the right audience for you, here are the top 6 ways you can get the most out of LinkedIn for your nonprofit.

1. Use it as an Outreach Tool

With users gathered to find professional opportunities, this is the go-to platform to recruit for qualified and eager new members, board, volunteers, and staff.

According to Nick DeSarno, Director of Digital and Policy Communications at the Public Affairs Council, LinkedIn is a must for your association engagement strategy. He says, “It’s where your members are. Gone are the days when your members come to you. Your association needs to be active where your members are spending time and consuming content. In addition, since many of the users provide extensive amounts of professional information in their profiles, LinkedIn has unmatched professional user data.”

So, how do you go about finding new members on LinkedIn? Its robust search function will allow you to search by industry, company affiliation, interests, degrees or certifications, and job titles.

LinkedIn has a specific Volunteer Marketplace, which is optimized to help you find board members and volunteers (and for them to find you!). They’ve partnered with VolunteerMatch to give organizations looking for skilled volunteers direct, easy access to LinkedIn’s network. This means that when you post your board member and volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch, they are automatically added to LinkedIn within 24 hours.

While you can post job opportunities organically on your LinkedIn feed, you should consider taking advantage of its job posting feature if you have a little more budget. It includes personalized targeting, screening questions, and smart matching algorithms. LinkedIn boasts helping 80% of hirers receive a qualified applicant in just 24 hours.


2. Keep Your Followers Posted

As your following on LinkedIn grows, be sure to keep your audience updated on what they are following for: updates, activities, successes, and news relevant to your industry.

LinkedIn pages that share content weekly will double engagement on their page, and companies that post weekly see a 2x lift in engagement with their content. Try to include media with every post, whether that is an image, video, or link. Posts with images have twice the engagement rate, and posts with multiple photos perform even better.

“LinkedIn used to not be a high driver for us, but we are gaining traction, that’s for sure,” said Angela Roeber, Director of Communications at Project Harmony. “The posts that seem to do the best are agency event posts and job posts along with posts recognizing and celebrating community partners.”

project harmony linkedin for nonproifits

If you get stuck on what kind of content to post on LinkedIn, they have a nifty content suggestion feature to help you discover trending topics and articles to post that are specific to your audience’s interests.

“After building up our Facebook and Twitter pages we decided to shift our focus to our LinkedIn page which was lacking in content and followers. We decided to appeal to specific topics of safety that would directly interest business professionals,” said Brianne Deerwester, Communications Coordinator for Electrical Safety Foundation International.

Electrical Safety Foundation International linkedin

3. Build Your Brand Through Thought Leadership

If thought leadership is a part of your marketing strategy, support your CEO and other executive staff to frequently post long form articles directly to their personal LinkedIn pages. This can be done by clicking “write an article link” under the “start a post” section on their feed.

Start a post

Need more inspiration? Here are five nonprofit leaders making a major name for themselves on LinkedIn. They provide insight and leadership in their respective industries by being active LinkedIn users and regularly contributing LinkedIn articles.


Jim Yong Kim, Former World Bank President


Jim Yong Kim

Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS Executive Director


Winnie Byanyima

Nishika Bajaj, Financial Communications, Impact Investing, and Fundraising Specialist


Nishika Bajaj

Sarah Menker, Founder and CEO at Gro Intelligence


Sarah Menker

Adam Garone, Starlight Children’s Foundation CEO


Adam Garone

4. Get Your Staff Involved

An important thing to note about LinkedIn is that when a member lists your organization as an employer in their profile, they automatically become a follower. As their networks grow, your organization’s network grows.

To take advantage of this low-hanging fruit, ask your employees, volunteers, alumni, and board members to keep their LinkedIn profiles up-to-date, and have your organization listed as an employer (they will be able to indicate their role).

This should be a priority for executive staff, who represent your organization at the highest level and are the most likely to be found in searches of your brand. Work with these staff members to ensure they have a complete profile, a good description of their role in your organizations, and a quality profile image.

If you want to bring your organization’s LinkedIn brand to the next level, consider providing branded LinkedIn copy and background photos for all of your staff like


Just by looking at these images, it’s very clear that they all work for the same organization. This kind of recognizable branding will make it easy for potential partners or donors to know who to reach out to with questions, and helps build trust in their brand (since it’s clear that there are real people associated with it).


5. Pay to Play

Just like Facebook and Twitter, organic posts on LinkedIn will only reach your current audience. You can boost updates to reach new people outside of your network. LinkedIn allows you to target audiences by member skills, job title, company industry, fields of study, and more.

Sponsored content is especially useful if you want to reach new people to attend community or fundraising events who have a professional interest in your work.


6. Build New Relationships

The big question all nonprofits ask before committing to a new social media network: can I use it for fundraising?

In the case of LinkedIn, the answer is yes.

LinkedIn may not be the ideal platform for cold appeals, but it is a fantastic platform to cultivate both individual and corporate donor relationships. The LinkedIn Sales Navigator feature is perfect for doing just that. It maps out your organization’s network so you can make introductions, and it will provide you with updates on key prospects and donors.

For this reason, we stress ensuring that your current network (staff, volunteers, alumni, and board) are linked to your organization and have up-to-date profiles, as we mentioned earlier in this post.

Plus, it’s a natural spot for people to share information about your organization with their professional network.

“Donors may not have opportunities to sit down in-person to talk with ten of their colleagues about why they support a particular cause, why they feel they are making a difference in their community or share information about an upcoming event that their colleagues could become involved with,” said Nicole German, previous Global Head of Enterprise Marketing at LinkedIn. “LinkedIn allows donors to communicate what causes are important to them and NFPs can enhance these natural connections by providing donors with information in formats that make it easy for them to share.”

You can also focus on using it to build better partnerships with corporations. Using the Search feature (or Sales Navigator as mentioned above) you can look for members of the CSR team or the corporate partnerships team. If you’ve identified who they are, you can reach out for event sponsorships, in-kind donations, or ongoing donations. It can also help you see who your current connections are connected to in order to build your network further.

“For example, if your development person asks the board for introductions to law firm partners, that’s too vague and make the person think or look in their database,” said Beth Granger of Beth Granger Consulting. “If, instead, they search using LinkedIn to see who the board knows and make a very specific ask: I see you know (whoever), please make an introduction, it’s likely to be more successful.”

Read More: Social Media Fundraising: 6 Tips to Make It Work for You


What LinkedIn for Nonprofits Can Help You Achieve

LinkedIn has long cared about supporting nonprofit organizations. LinkedIn For Nonprofits is a resource that helps nonprofits leverage this professional network.

They provide resources and tips in four key areas specifically for the nonprofit industry: recruiting and hiring quality talent, fundraising to the right prospects, marketing to new audiences, and online learning to help your staff and volunteers develop their professional skills.

LinkedIn for Nonprofit will even connect you to a Nonprofit Specialist that is trained to help you get the most out of LinkedIn. You can communicate with a specialist by visiting this link.


What You Need to Know About LinkedIn Grants

Aligning with its commitment to social impact, LinkedIn provides grants to numerous like-minded organizations with a track record of support job seekers who are facing barriers to economic opportunity.

Qualifying organizations work with populations with limited professional networks, possibly due to low-income backgrounds, like opportunity youth, veterans, refugees, or formerly incarcerated. Previous grantees include Year Up, Halogen Foundation, and Mo’MAGIC. If this sounds like your organization’s mission and work, head over to Nonprofit Partnerships, LinkedIn Social Impact to apply.

LinkedIn is a unique social network that can situate your organization and staff as thought leaders in their field, strengthen your brand as a quality organization, and reach new professional audiences — a significant asset for member-based associations.

If that sounds like it aligns with your social media marketing goals, then why not give it a try?



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