Altogether, 64.5 million Americans volunteered nearly 7.9 billion hours last year. However, in my home state of Florida, we rank 48th among the 50 states & Washington, D.C. in the amount of residents who volunteer; only 21% of Florida’s population gives their time in comparison to 44% of Utah’s population. States that lag behind us are Nevada, New York & Louisiana. And while volunteering may be second nation to some, many may be first timers. So how do find the best volunteer opportunity?
LinkedIn recently launched Volunteer LinkedIn with the mindset that volunteering is good for your career and your community, but more importantly, how using your skills can make a positive impact. This initiative focuses on skilled-based volunteering, which is when company employees and/or individuals offer nonprofits their personal talents or professional competences to help organizations meet their demands. Professionals with a LinkedIn profile can apply for any volunteer position around the world/country and nonprofits can determine if they are the right fit.
LinkedIn is doing a few things right:
1. As a company, LinkedIn is looking at their strengths and what they do well, and integrating it into their corporate philanthropy strategy. They aren’t essentially creating anything new, but instead repurposing their product to fit another demand. They have millions of users as well as groups that use the site to promote themselves. What they have done is created an avenue where nonprofit groups and interested volunteers can find each other. Volunteers have the opportunity to find the right fit and nonprofits get to handpick the best candidate for the role. More companies should look inward and see what systems they already have in place and see if those systems can help a nonprofit.
2. LinkedIn is tapping into a new wave of service called skilled-based volunteering (SVB). Baby boomers, millennials, corporate employees, executives and students are responding to the national call for a new generation of service. SBV is when company employees and/or individuals offer nonprofits their personal talents or professional competences to help organizations meet their demands. From the COO offering free strategic planning advice to the millennial offering social media trainings, these well-needed services can easily be found and help transform an organization.
SBV is based on an individual’s strengths. Placing a willing volunteer in a wrong position can have a damaging effect on an individual’s experience. However, connecting a volunteer with the right skills to the right project at the right time will allow getting a greater impact and building stronger relationships between volunteers and the nonprofit sector. More importantly the volunteer feels accomplished and valued, which is often times worth more to an organization.
3. LinkedIn is looking at a pressing issue facing our country and finding a way to help. In a time where many Americans are still struggling to find a job and/or many college graduates are underemployed, volunteering and gaining experience is a great resume booster. Volunteers can add these work experiences to their resume or LinkedIn profile in hopes of finding the next best job.
This is a wonderful resource for both nonprofits and volunteers. Happy connecting.
Would you be willing to use Volunteer LinkedIn?