The COVID situation has struck a crucial connective tissue in India – the nonprofit sector, especially the small regional nongovernmental organization (NGO). To add to their woes, the recent foreign grants regulation and climatic disasters have stalled grassroots programs completely. NGOs are the last mile connect to the people in greatest need, for both government and corporate programs. And they’re closing shop.
So why am I suggesting NGOs use LinkedIn in this difficult time?
Well, what the NGOs need right now are people who have influence, who can raise issues, lend support to their cause, and give direction. Here are my arguments for using LinkedIn to achieve this objective.
India has the second-largest user base on LinkedIn with 62 million members. The engagement level on LinkedIn is also at a global high with a 27% year-on-year rise in 2019. Students and young professionals are the fastest-growing segments for LinkedIn in the Asia Pacific.
Today, more than 500,000 active jobs and 557,000 companies are represented on the platform in India alone. This is a mix of C-level executives, entrepreneurs and students. A good many are decision-makers.
What does this mean for an NGO? You have access to potential volunteers, donors, partners and supporters.
LinkedIn is a professional network, so it’s not as crazy as Facebook where your message gets lots in feeds of entertainment and gloss. Make sure you follow the right set of people and organizations, accept invitations mindfully (and not to increase your follower count), and be part of the right groups. This way, your own feed stays relevant to your work, and you see many opportunities to authentically engage with other people’s content. That’s how you build relationships.
Then find out how you can connect to the people who can help you. They may be connected with your immediate first-degree connections. You can approach them and ask for an introduction. You may also be part of the same groups and you can engage there.
Be participative. And be helpful. It will be reciprocated.
There are valuable nonprofit groups (LinkedIn for Nonprofits group being one) on LinkedIn where you can learn about fundraising, using technology, improving your programs and much more. You can also connect with likeminded people who can help you with ideas on how to survive the pandemic. Remember, COVID has impacted nonprofits all over the world, in small and big ways.
I have encountered multiple posts on LinkedIn offering help and support to people looking for jobs, references, connects or simply, encouragement. The period from March has seen a surge of positivity and support on LinkedIn that you too can benefit from.
LinkedIn itself offers some services for nonprofits. LinkedIn for Nonprofits offers:
- exclusive webinars on best practices and trends for nonprofits,
- significant discounts to access recruitment, fundraising, and marketing features.
However, even without the discounted paid features, you can leverage LinkedIn’s strengths if you go about it strategically.
Start by ensuring your own LinkedIn profile reflects your experience, passion for the cause and your organization, among a host of other things. And your NGO should have its page too.
There is a lot of free content available online to learn how to use LinkedIn for your nonprofit’s benefit. I also conduct a 2-part webinar for NGOs. If you’re interested, you can register here.
To conclude, don’t underestimate LinkedIn. It’s a powerful platform to increase your reach and impact.