Recruiters for Good: Connecting Nonprofits With the Talent they Need to Solve the World’s Toughest Problems

October 7, 2013

A year ago, I had an idea. What if recruiters like myself leveraged LinkedIn to help nonprofits find talented staff members? I was inspired to bring Recruiters for Good (RFG) to life for a few reasons.

  1. I wanted to help budget-strapped nonprofits recruit top talent, as we know talent is the #1 driver of an organization’s success and the nonprofit sector is in many ways in greatest need of improving talent recruitment efforts.

  2. This idea was perfectly aligned with LinkedIn for Good (LIFG)’s mission of connecting the skills and passions of members and employees with opportunities to make a positive impact.

  3. Most importantly, this was an opportunity for Transformation - for me and our teams as we hone our recruiting skills in a different industry context, for the company as we leverage our unique resources to help nonprofits, and for the world as we help world-changing organizations find the talent they need to not just address - but solve - the world’s toughest, most intractable problems.

LinkedIn leadership responded to my idea with wholehearted support and rallied other employees to join the effort. They also provided helpful insight into how best to get this initiative off the ground: “Don’t get grandiose. Start small, get a few successes, and then we’ll see if it can scale.”

Today, more than 30 professionals in 5 countries from companies like LinkedIn, Google, Shopkick, and Bloom Energy are participating in RFG. So far, we’ve placed 6 staff members in 7 nonprofit organizations.

How did we do it? Exactly as suggested; we started off small, partnering with a few local nonprofits to help them find candidates for open positions. We did what we do best as LinkedIn recruiters: using LinkedIn Recruiter, we searched for profiles of potential candidates who best matched the qualifications given to us by the nonprofits. In just a few hours, we identified 150 qualified candidates, ultimately securing great candidates for our nonprofit partners including an Executive Director in Chicago for Playworks, a national nonprofit that improves school conditions, reduces bullying and improves student engagement in school through play.


The idea just took off from there. Our colleagues in Australia formed a RFG chapter, partnering with Engineers without Borders. We were invited to the White House to help find innovators for the Presidential Innovation Fellowship. And we formed a partnership with Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs with nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries, to help them find and select new Fellows and key staff.


Most importantly, our nonprofit partners are overjoyed about the value this program has provided for them. Darlene Damm Change Leader at Ashoka, recently wrote:

“LinkedIn and Ashoka worked together to scour the world for new Ashoka Fellows and senior staff. 30+ LinkedIn employees in EMEA and the US helped with this search. Ashoka handed their fellowship criteria over to RFG leaders, and the search turned up a list of top candidates Ashoka had not yet come across. When we got the first list, Ashoka staff around the world were emailing each other at 1am because we were so impressed with the results.

To date, LinkedIn has shared nearly 200 candidates with Ashoka who are being reviewed for the Ashoka Fellowship, staff positions, strategic partners, funders, volunteers and nominators. Of the 200, over 50 are being reviewed for the Ashoka Fellowship (with 3 being reviewed as Senior Fellows) and over 50 being reviewed for staff roles.

Having LinkedIn’s world-class team help us has been such an incredible gift. We can meaningfully connect talent to learning about and solving problems at unprecedented scale. This is core to our mission of everyone a changemaker and unleashing all the world’s talent to solve social problems. This is where we are going.”

So we started small and benefited from talented LinkedIn employees with personal passions to expand our efforts. Today, my vision is to expand this program to companies beyond LinkedIn to connect nonprofits around the world with top talent. Given that the nonprofit sector accounts for 4.5% of GDP in many countries and contributes to the well-being of countless people around the world, the impact of this would be truly tremendous. So if you have a potentially transformational idea, I encourage you to start small and go for it.

Read more about LinkedIn for Good efforts in our blog series.