Why Connections Between Nonprofit Leaders and Board Members Matter -- A Lot

November 1, 2012

As someone who is often the bridge between the nonprofit and business worlds, I often play the matchmaker - or in LinkedIn terms, the connection. It feels great to play this role because both sides benefit immensely and somehow I (undeservingly) get the credit.

Nonprofit board members have a unique opportunity to leverage their networks “for good” and LinkedIn makes it easy for them to do so. Here is why.

The nonprofit sector tends to be very networked but primarily with each other and not with the business world. One of the most valuable roles a nonprofit board member can play is being the bridge to a whole new set of resources in the form of knowledge (skilled volunteers), donations (potential donors or corporate partners) and connections (future board members).

One great way to truly grok this (finally used this word in a blog post) is to visualize it with our LinkedIn InMaps tool. InMaps is an interactive visual representation of your professional universe that enables you to see the way all your connections are clustered and related to each other. And, it can really highlight the opportunity that a nonprofit board member has to be the bridge to new and valuable connections. Here are two inMaps.

This is an example of someone who has an enormous number of connections but the connections are mostly redundant. In other words, almost everyone is connected to each other. You remove one from the cluster and it wouldn’t significantly impact the network.

This is my inMap. The blue cluster represents my LinkedIn connections, the orange my Yahoo! connections (where I worked for 9 years) and the green and pink are a combination of my many nonprofit affiliations. My LinkedIn network makes it easy and efficient for me to connect these two worlds.

Last month, LinkedIn announced Board Member Connect, a new program that enables nonprofit leaders to find the right quality professionals to join their boards. Critical to the success of this program is making sure that nonprofit leaders are connected to their board members on LinkedIn. In this way, they can leverage their board’s valuable connections.

If you are a nonprofit leader, sign up for our next Board Member Connect webinar.  If you are on the board of a nonprofit, make sure you are connected to the Executive Director.  And even if you’re not on a board but are passionate about nonprofits, reach out to nonprofit leaders and connect. Your connections may help change the world, for good.