More Willing Volunteers than Nonprofit Openings on Linkedin

Snip from LinkedIn Infographic.

March 9, 2015

LinkedIn has fast become a favorite place to find volunteer opportunities. Forbes wrote about it recently, citing the LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace’s ease of use and the correlation between volunteer work and employment, the niche that LinkedIn inhabits so comfortably.

The only problem seems to be that there are more volunteers looking for opportunities on LinkedIn than charities seeking volunteers, according to a LinkedIn blog post and infographic.

It’s only been three years since LinkedIn provided the volunteer and cause section on its profiles, but the number of people using it has grown to 10 million. LinkedIn estimates that about four million users are actively looking for volunteer opportunities, with 38 percent of those based in the US.

As Meg Garlinghouse of LinkedIn points out, the math just doesn’t work. There are about 1.5 million registered US nonprofits to absorb possible volunteers, meaning that there are three potential volunteers for every nonprofit.  

And not all nonprofits are even on LinkedIn. Plus the gap is exacerbated because these likely volunteers are mostly “skilled” folks. They are looking for board positions or other opportunities that will let them use their highly honed abilities.

Millennials, who view public service as nearly mandatory, make up the majority of people who have added volunteer experience to their profiles, with seven out of 10 doing so.

One in five are Generation X, and about eight percent identify as Baby Boomers and “senior leaders.”

LinkedIn is working with some noted organizations that are strong volunteer recruiters, such as VolunteerMatch, as well as groups that specialize in skilled volunteering like TapRoot and Catchafire.

Of course, volunteers should be looking for volunteer opportunities in as many places as possible, including through their own corporate volunteer programs and the many volunteer websites.

Plus, adding the Volunteer and Causes field to one’s profile is useful to signal to anyone who is looking that you are the kind of person who gives back.  These days that is worth quite a lot. According to LinkedIn’s own data, as many as 40 percent of hiring managers regard volunteer work to be the equivalent of full-time work; and one in five managers assert that volunteer experience was an important deciding factor in a hiring decision.

Although there is a volunteer gap on LinkedIn, the social site has shown that volunteerism is important, for employees and employers alike. Doing good these days is one more indicator of a person's worth and a marker of abilities, education, and skills. Don't leave home without it!