Tip of the Day: LinkedIn for Friends and Profit

Editor’s note: All this month we’re publishing tech tips for nonprofits. Keep a look out for a new tip each day and let us know what you think in the comments. -Dan 

LinkedIn is an interesting site that falls somewhere between social networking for the general public and a niche social networking site. Targeted at professionals interested in professional networking, it’s likely to be of particular interest to groups whose mission is to support people in their jobs—for example, an association of nonprofit executive directors—or that have a focus on networking, specifically in particular groups (such as a “young professionals” group).

A LinkedIn profile is essentially a resume. People describe their work history and skills, and can include educational background, references, association memberships, and more. Each person links their profile to other people they know, which lets them see those people’s profiles and the lists of people to whom they are connected.

This provides an interesting way to look for connections to people your organization might want to meet. As an organization, you can create a LinkedIn group for people to join. Hosts or members can hold discussions, post resources of interest, or create a job board. Members can also ask questions posed not only to group members, but to their contacts as well, essentially tapping into an extended network of people.

You can also see all the LinkedIn contacts for each of your group members, making it straightforward—if time-consuming—to look through each person’s connections to see if there’s anyone to whom you’d like an introduction.

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