Nonprofit Networking with LinkedIn Groups

May 25, 2017

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

What are LinkedIn Groups?

LinkedIn Groups are meeting places for those in related industries to share expertise, ask questions, learn new information, network, and engage in conversation. Neil Schaffer, author of Maximizing LinkedIn, calls LinkedIn Groups a “virtual trade show”. But unlike a real trade show, LinkedIn offers countless networking opportunities for your nonprofit for free and at your convenience. 

The format of a LinkedIn Group is a discussion board where members can share content and engage in discussion. Here, you may “like” a discussion, showing you have interest in a conversation. You may also add your own comments to a discussion, post articles, and private message someone in the group. In these exchanges, you have invaluable opportunities to demonstrate thought leadership, give yourself and your organization visibility, and make meaningful connections with others in related industries.

LinkedIn Group - Discussion
A LinkedIn Group discussion board

Choosing a Group

There are four types of LinkedIn Groups: industry, alumni, interest, and organization/company. As a nonprofit, you may relevant groups in any of these categories. On LinkedIn, you may join up to 50 groups, but try to narrow your focus on making higher quality connections with 5-10 of those. When choosing which to join, consider where you will learn the most in your industry and where you can best network with fellow leaders, connect with donors and volunteers, and contribute to knowledge in your field.

To search for a group, narrow down relevant keywords, which might include an industry term and a location, such as “Education AND San Francisco”. You may also search within your own professional LinkedIn network to see what groups your peers are engaging with.

LinkedIn Groups - Search
Doing a search of LinkedIn Groups

You may also browse groups recommended to you by LinkedIn. You will find this on the “Discover” page under “Groups”. Here you will find a list of of groups based on information collected from your profile that reflects similar interests and industries in which you are a part. A sure sign that a group is worth engaging with is if there is regular activity within the group, involving plentiful discussions and comments, and preferably, a large member base.

LinkedIn Groups - Discover
The “Discover” section of LinkedIn Groups

Get Started With These Nonprofit Groups

Still lost? To test the waters with LinkedIn groups, it’s always good for your nonprofit to start networking with other nonprofits. Writer Lauren Bejot has complied a helpful kick-off groups list relevant to anyone in the nonprofit world. Check these out to get started!

Non Profit Network

At over 244,000 members, this enormous nonprofit network is sure to connect you with many high quality nonprofit professionals and industry information.

Social Media for Nonprofit Organizations

Boasting almost 100,000 members, this group will connect you with experts in nonprofit social media strategy.

Not for Profit Sustainable Leadership

At 30,000 members, this group is a great resource for nonprofit leadership and growing nonprofits.

Are you a nonprofit networking on LinkedIn Groups? What groups do you recommend that fellow nonprofit leaders join? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience.

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