LinkedIn is commonly seen and used as a channel to dump your resume and move on—only coming back to the platform to check the jobs page or build up your list of connections.

Here at Prichard, we’ve come to know LinkedIn as so much more.

LinkedIn has become the platform of choice to make genuine and long-lasting professional connections as an individual and as an organization–whereas Facebook and Twitter can sometimes overflow users with constant content. As Founder Reid Hoffman states, “It is better to be the best-connected than the most-connected.”

Nonprofits and foundations can use LinkedIn to increase visibility, demonstrate thought leadership, and build community—without tapping into the budget!

Leverage Group Discussions

LinkedIn group forums are perfect for starting or engaging in discussions to interact with target audiences and to position yourself and your organization as a thought leader in your industry. According to LinkedIn, participants who comment on group discussions get four times the number of profile views.

Our client Reclaiming Futures started the Juvenile Justice Reform & Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment group in 2010 and it has now grown to almost 5,000 users—many of which actively engage within the group on a daily or weekly basis.

This group has successfully become a top resource for professionals in this sector to share and discuss news and best practices—a group that will continue to grow and reflect well on the nonprofit as professionals spread the word when suggesting resources for other colleagues and partners.

Utilize—or Mirror—the Influencer Program

The coveted and secret club of “LinkedIn Influencers,” are, according to the channel, “leaders in their industries, geographies and seniorities that talk about broad topics of interest such as leadership, management, hiring and firing, disruption, and how to succeed.” Influencers include Bill Gates, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO Risa Lavisso-Mourey, and Arianna Huffington. Applications are no longer accepted and LinkedIn now personally invites professionals to become Influencers.

However, you can still mimic the habits of influencers by utilizing the LinkedIn Publishing Platform. High-level professionals who have large audiences on LinkedIn should use this tool to share thought-provoking blog posts and grow brand awareness of your nonprofit.

Nonprofit leaders are in a unique position on LinkedIn due to the many professionals that want to connect with and hear from them—they have the power to become influencers within their sector and widely spread the word about their work and organization.

Engage with your Community Directly

LinkedIn provides many opportunities for you to connect directly with your target audience. If your organization has a LinkedIn group, you will be able to email all of your members to share upcoming events, webinars, announcements, new services, or speaking engagements. Within the group, you can ask and answer questions surrounding your nonprofits’ work in a straightforward, responsive manner, which goes a long way towards building credibility and trust with your members.

How does your nonprofit use LinkedIn?