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Using Social Networks To Recruit, Retain, And Engage Volunteers, Part 4: LinkedIn
Welcome the fourth of our five-part series on recruiting, retaining, and engaging volunteers online!
In earlier articles this month, we talked about general social networking best practices, as well as tips and tricks for using Facebook and Twitter. In today’s post, we’ll go over networking through LinkedIn.
Why this network is important
We talked in the past two weeks about how Facebook and Twitter both are fantastic networks to use both for personal and professional reasons. We went over Facebook as a community, and Twitter as a resource for conversation, news, and more.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, is geared toward professional development and networking, far more than Facebook and Twitter. While many of us undoubtedly will find jobs through Facebook connections in the coming years, we also go to LinkedIn for career development overall. We post our personal resumes, connect with like-minded professionals, and we scout potential job opportunities here.
In the past year, LinkedIn added a “Volunteer Experiences and Causes” section to their resume fields, as this is becoming increasingly relevant for those of us building our careers, particularly in a slumping economy. Volunteerism at home and abroad isn’t just for high school students anymore—it’s a relevant, and sometimes necessary, way to augment your professional development.
Recruiting, Retaining, and Engaging Volunteers
You need LinkedIn to recruit new volunteers—by connecting with like-minded individuals who may have posted experience in similar fields to what you offer through your own programs, and for those that have joined groups or discussion boards with similar missions to what you’re looking for.
Keep your volunteers engaged on LinkedIn by creating your own discussion board, group, or company page, and asking them to connect. Provide updates and start conversations about how current projects are going, and answering questions about new ones!
And finally, keep your alumni informed and involved by providing regular updates, keeping in touch, and letting them know the impact of their work. The more you spread the word about how important your volunteers are—and by providing tangible evidence of their work—the more you’ll be able to come full circle and begin recruiting new volunteers.
Post your relevant updates
Keep your volunteers and networks informed of what you’re doing! Keep your company page updated, and post announcements and events to the stream.
Keep your personal page updated—or set it to private
As with career searches, those volunteers who correspond with you personally for applying, interviewing, and support will almost certainly look at your LinkedIn profile. Keep it up-to-date or set it to private if you’d rather share your information only with your own networks.
Start a discussion
Discussion groups are a great way to connect and get more information to your networks and potential volunteers. Start a group, and post often!
Now, how have you used LinkedIn to engage your volunteers and friends? Post your ideas below!