The Top 3 Ways Companies Can Leverage LinkedIn’s New Volunteer Marketplace

Submitted by Lindsay Firestone on Jan 27, 2014 | Comments (1)

Volunteer for pro bono on LinkedInYou might have seen the recent exciting news from LinkedIn – the world’s largest professional network is now making it easier to connect the needs of nonprofit organizations with the 82% of LinkedIn members who are interested in donating their skills through pro bono and board service. Here at Taproot we’ve been proud to be part of bringing this great advancement to life, both as one of their “trusted providers” in the Volunteer Marketplace but also in working together behind the scenes over the last two years to support the LinkedIn for Good team as they thoughtfully explored how to design this critical functionality. We are confident that this new development will help transform the way nonprofits and individual professionals can connect around pro bono and board service needs. As Reid Hoffman put it, this is a tremendous opportunity to “help the social sector by doing what [LinkedIn does] best as a company: connecting talent with opportunity at massive scale.”

But what about our corporate partners who already run their own in-house pro bono programs – if they already support their nonprofit partners with pro bono services delivered by their employees is this new tool relevant for them?

The answer is yes.  Here are 3 simple reasons why:

(1) You can refer your nonprofit partners to additional sources of pro bono support. No one program is able to accommodate every nonprofit’s needs. The next time a nonprofit has an operational or strategic need that your program can’t address, support them by referring them to the next (free!) Taproot/LinkedIn webinar. They’ll receive Taproot’s critical training on how to scope, secure, and manage pro bono services effectively, and then learn how to get started right away using LinkedIn’s job posting functionality to recruit the skilled volunteers they need. Pass along this registration link for the upcoming January 30th webinar (2pm ET/11am PT).

(2) Skilled volunteers build capacity. For most companies already offering pro bono services, one of the top-reported challenges limiting program growth is a shortage of nonprofit partners who are ready and able to diagnose and scope a specific need that you can address through a pro bono project. This means that many organizations who could really benefit from your pro bono services just aren’t in a position to easily take advantage of it. Through LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace, the easy pro bono job posting functionality now enables nonprofits to recruit an individual skilled expert to support them. This means that a nonprofit that knows it has HR issues but isn’t yet ready to leverage an HR team from your corporate program can now quickly and easily recruit an HR expert via LinkedIn to help them diagnose their primary need, or even help serve as an expert [pro bono] project manager for a more in-depth pro bono project.

(3) A rising tide lifts all boats. [Good] pro bono is both contagious and addictive. Taproot research from 2012 found that pro bono service frequently composes up to 20% of the annual budget of many of the leading national nonprofit organizations like DonorsChoose and YearUp. Making sure a diverse range of high-quality pro bono services are available to nonprofits is critical to building strong organizations and a stronger sector overall. In addition, by reinforcing to its 250+ million members that pro bono service is an important and valuable activity, LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace both helps to foster increased interest from nonprofits and also continues to fuel the ever-growing interest of business professionals  to use their skills to make a differencePerhaps even your next star recruit?

Lindsay Firestone is the Founder and Director of Taproot's Advisory Services practice, strengthening the nonprofit sector through corporate pro bono service programs. Follow her on Twitter: @L_Fires

Comments

Encouragement of continual learning is a key to future success. I know that with today's economy, companies are struggling to even make ends meet; however, many companies, government agencies, etc, don't realize the talent potential they have in their own house. Whether it be personnel who have 'different' thoughts on how things could be done or software systems that aren't being utilized to their full capability level because people are creatures of paradigms. Simply put, we get used to the way things are done, we get comfortable with the status quo; complacency is the first sign of the coming business apocolypse. Zat Drawkcab said it best, "If you're not attempting perfection, you're settling for mediocrity." My call to all workers, supervisors, managers, owners is to look to change one thing each day for the better. In doing so we discover the truth in all living things (business included), they change everyday. By embraing change and challenging yourselves to enact movement, you become a positve force moving ahead instead of a becoming a wall.

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