The online network for professionals, LinkedIn, should be high on our marketing lists. It is a decade old and it has 259 million members in 200 countries, 78 per cent of whom have donated money or time over the past 12 months.
Unlike other platforms, LinkedIn might not be a hotbed of innovation, but where else can people access such a range of well-educated, well-paid professionals, potential corporate partners or even political figures? Let's get the best out of this under-explored resource.
Company pages offer opportunities to showcase charities' work and how to get involved. The American Red Cross, for example, has created a well-designed, interactive page covering news, careers and services, and has amassed more than 56,000 followers through regularly updated, well-targeted content. Oxfam, which has 36,462 followers, uses its page to promote its policy journals and online shop, and Greenpeace, which has 35,141 followers, uses its page to show each area of its campaign.
More than three million members have added the Volunteers and Causes section to their profiles. These are potential advocates, major donors, volunteers and trustees. Board Member Connect is a tool that allows members to search for others who have indicated that they would like to serve on a not-for-profit board. Volunteer Match, launched last month, can result in free professional help for any size of project.
Consumer brands are using LinkedIn features as an innovative form of promotion. For example, Callaway Golf's Hit The Links app allows users to create their dream team from their contacts list to potentially win a golfing trip abroad. Fruit Of The Loom offered free underwear to people who changed jobs. If a charity gets its campaign right, it can have higher visibility than on other networks.