Can LinkedIn Board Member Connect Revolutionize Nonprofit Board Recruitment?

When the time comes to ask your board members for suggestions for potential new board members, are you met with a deafening silence, or the sounds of crickets chirping? Megan Garlinghouse experienced this problem in the past and she found herself able to leverage her company’s technology to solve the problem. As head of Social Impact at LinkedIn, she not only was able to solve the problem for the board on which she served, but was able to create a program to help thousands of nonprofit organizations as well. In September 2012, LinkedIn announced the launch of a new service for nonprofits that promises to increase and improve access to potential candidates.

What is LinkedIn Board Member Connect?

LinkedIn Board Member Connect is a new service offered by LinkedIn. They state on their blog, LinkedIn Board Member Connect “[gives] nonprofit leaders the tools to help them leverage their own networks and their board members’ networks to find the right skilled professionals to join their boards,” by providing free access to their powerful talent recruitment tool, Talent Finder. Participation also includes access to educational webinars and access to the Board Member Connect group on LinkedIn to share best practices on leveraging the tool.

How Does it Work?

LinkedIn provided the following SlideShare presentation to explain the process. The tool is still in beta mode and the slide presentation explains the process for nonprofits to apply during this preliminary stage.

Ensuring Successful Usage

Don’t assume that the technology will automatically make it simpler to recruit new board members. The following are just a few points that your organization should consider.

  • Does your organization have an active profile on LinkedIn?
  • Does the organization have a designated contact that has the capacity to actively monitor and track the social media tool?
  • Are your board members connected to the organization by indicating their status as an employee or board member on LinkedIn Causes?


Access to information or a connection to an individual does not automatically yield a qualified candidate. First and foremost, you want to ensure that any potential board member has a passion for the mission of your organization. If that individual’s skills or experiences match perfectly with your organization, be sure that there is an existing procedure for board member cultivation and that all board members are aware of the proper procedure.

LinkedIn can open doors, but they cannot help you walk through them.

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