It’s like a treasure chest, right there in front of you, heavy with the gold inside. But you don’t have the key. At least that seems to be the case for most nonprofits who responded to Ventureneer’s soon to be released survey about best practices in using social media.
About 60 percent of the survey respondents have LinkedIn profiles yet only 14 percent of them found LinkedIn to be “very effective.” Another surprise: Those nonprofits that are the heaviest users of social media are just as ineffective when it comes to LinkedIn. Only 12 percent of those who spend 25 hours or more a week on social media rated LinkedIn as “very effective.”
Most of these nonprofits wanted to build community or awareness of a cause. Some wanted to increase traffic to their websites. Others used LinkedIn for advocacy or fundraising.
Yet, LinkedIn failed them. How could that be?
LinkedIn is best used for research. Once people “get” its data mining capability, it can become a powerful tool. Once the executive director and other leaders of the organization have a stellar profile, the nonprofit is ready to exploit LinkedIn for research.
They’ll find, quite literally, a treasure trove of opportunities to:
- Find donors, board members and volunteers to support and advocate for their cause.
- Find the right contacts at other nonprofits and at corporations to start partnerships and sponsorships.
- Get an introduction to people they want to meet.
- Get feedback on questions from subject-matter experts and others who have been through similar experiences.
- Start a LinkedIn Group to promote a cause or address a problem.
- Educate themselves about people before you meet them. Whether you’re going to be asking for a donation, advice or time, it helps to know who they are and what they care about.
That’s a lot of potential yet … ineffective for about 86 percent of the nonprofits who use it. Does that mean give it up? Scrap the LinkedIn profile and move to other media?
The answer is a resounding “NO!”
LinkedIn is a marvelous tool for those who use it well. The key word in that last sentence is “well.”
As with any other tool, you have to know how to use it. While I seldom promote Ventureneer’s classes in this blog, I’m making an exception this time. The survey results made it clear that nonprofits need to change their LinkedIn ways.
To address the survey results and increase the effective use of LinkedIn by nonprofits, Ventureneer is hosting a one-session Vcourse, taught by Marc Halpert, a LinkedIn and nonprofit guru. It will be held Tuesday, Sept. 23 from noon to 1:30pm ET.
The focus of the course will be very personal:
- building the profiles of participants, section by section;
- using LinkedIn tools to advantage;
- making yourself and your organization very visible.
Give it a try. We guarantee you’ll learn the effective way to build a LinkedIn presence that can open all sorts of doors for your nonprofit.