With over 45 million active users worldwide, LinkedIn is a social networking site that is becoming much more than just a place to have a Web 2.0 resume. Recently they have added many new tools and will likely be adding more in the coming year. Here are three simple, but powerful ways that nonprofits can use LinkedIn:

1) Create a Group: Make sure you create the group under the “Nonprofit” category and select “Yes” to both being listed in the “Groups Directory” and that your Group be display on “Profiles”. Groups can be very powerful, but they do need to be monitored and managed at least once a week.  You need to watch out for spammers, overzealous experts, and feature the best discussions.

Also, you might want to consider creating a Group for a Cause/Issue in addition to one for your nonprofit. For example, in addition to having a Group for the “Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund” they should also have one called “Save the Gorillas.” While this strategy is not common on LinkedIn, my instinct tells me it’s a more effective strategy. I created and manage the Web 2.0 for Nonprofit Organizations LinkedIn Group. It’s very active and growing quickly. I don’t think the same would be true if I had named it DIOSA Communications.

2) Create a Company Page: Company Pages are currently in Beta. While the focus tends to be primarily on employment and recruitment, there is a good chance that these profiles will expand in functionality over time. Make sure you choose a nonprofit sector “Industry” when setting up up the Page and adding your Blog or news feed is a must.

3) Use Your Personal Profile to Benefit Your Nonprofit: Post Network Updates about your organization’s work. Post Questions and be an expert by answering questions in the nonprofit category. Join and participate in Groups relative to your organization’s work. You can also add Apps to your profile which will allow you to feature slide shows or Blogs about your organization. The LinkedIn tool set has expanded significantly over the last year and there’s a lot there to utilize to benefit both your personal brand on LinkedIn and your organization.

To learn more about how to use LinkedIn, please join both the Web 2.0 for Nonprofit Organizations LinkedIn Group and the Mobile Technology for Nonprofit Organizations LinkedIn Group. You can also take my Webinar on How Nonprofit Organizations Can Successfully Use LinkedIn and MySpace and connect with me on LinkedIn at: www.linkedin.com/in/heathermansfield.