Out of all the social media options for non-profits to engage with, LinkedIn seems to be the forgotten one...the one at the end of the priority list in an already resource-constrained world. Given that social media is time consuming, I would never advocate for being on a platform just for the sake of being on it. There are many benefits, however, for a non-profit to have a presence on LinkedIn.
First, creating a company page helps build your NPO's brand and attract corporate partners. With many large corporations (of the funding variety!) being on the site, it would be advantageous for your NPO to have an account where they can interact with you and you with them. Liking, commenting on, and sharing their posts will build their (and their followers') attention as you nurture and grow the relationship. As that attention grows, people are more likely to reciprocate and follow your company page. Posting on a weekly basis to your page will raise awareness at a steady, yet manageable pace.
Further, creating a personal LinkedIn account and joining groups will also add to your NPO's awareness. Unless there's a very pressing matter of particular concern within your NPO, for example, lack of volunteers, then I recommend searching for and joining broader topic groups such as "Non Profit Network." This will ensure a broader variety of posts for you to engage with. Commenting on posts and sharing best practices from your NPO will attract potential sector partners while giving you the opportunity to learn something new as well. Note that "spamming" is generally frowned upon in groups, so save invitations to your next fundraising event for your company page.
Having a presence on LinkedIn also helps when recruiting volunteers and staff thanks to network effects. There's a "Volunteer Experience" section in individual profiles. Ensuring your volunteers can link back to your company page when listing their experience helps their network find you more easily and creates the potential for new recruits. Similarly, staff can list you officially as their employer which creates a sense of belonging and builds morale. When the time comes for you to find new staff, LinkedIn is a great platform for posting job opportunities either through your page or the special "Jobs" section although the latter is fee-based.
Improving your non-profit's web search ranking is a bonus reason to having a presence on LinkedIn. With a company page, you'll be able to backlink to your non-profit's website and other social platforms, signaling to search engines that your original site is reputable, thus increasing ranking.
Social media takes a lot of time and LinkedIn is no exception. You don't have to be perfect nor fast, but start creating those accounts, and explore how the site impacts your NPO's awareness. Happy linking!
John Paul heads up marketing for Hopeful Inc., a platform to help NPOs save time and take the guess work out of social media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org