This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.
Social Good Stars: LinkedIn’s Meg Garlinghouse
This is the fifth installment of the Impact series, #SocialGoodStars. The people highlighted here are passionate, dedicated philanthropists, strengths to their communities, and social media masters. They also happily share their vast knowledge with others, making them shine as leaders in the Social Good world. You can read the fourth interview with Mark Horvath of Invisible People here.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
If anyone understands the overlap of our professional and charitable lives, it’s Meg Garlinghouse. She is head of LinkedIn for Good, connecting 135+ million professionals’ knowledge and experience with nonprofits’ needs, globally. With nearly twenty years of experience in the technology and philanthropy sectors, a background in international development, and time with the Peace Corps, she’s learned first-hand the power of giving. She also currently serves on the Boards of Network for Good and VolunteerMatch. Her Twitter bio notes: “Coffee Addict. Peace Corps Volunteer. Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Enthusiast. LinkedIn for Good. Bias for action.” So grab some coffee (and pie?) and learn more about how the worlds of social good and personal growth are intersecting.
Photo courtesy of Nan Palmero (Flickr).
“You personally spent time in the Peace Corps, and have helped with programs leveraging the power of the internet at several organizations including Yahoo!, Network For Good, VolunteerMatch, and of course LinkedIn. Do you have any advice for people looking at ways to jump into philanthropy, in person and online?”
There has been no better time than now for individuals to get involved in philanthropy and have a huge impact. The Internet enables people to find the perfect philanthropic or volunteering opportunity that matches what they care about with ways they can provide support. Coined by DonorsChoose, the notion of citizen philanthropist, the ability for any individual to raise funds and awareness for causes, is also gaining traction. Through nonprofits like Charity:Water, you become the fundraiser for the organization, leveraging your connections to create an even bigger impact for the cause.
I have a strong bias that individuals should use their unique skills and experience to impact an organization. While cash resources are always important, we desperately need people’s knowledge, skills and experience to come up with new solutions to old problems. The Internet also allows people to collaborate or crowdsource knowledge, insights and information. Some of my favorite examples of this include Sparked and Ushahidi.
“What recommendations do you have for professionals using LinkedIn, to help them leverage personal volunteering experience and share their favorite causes with others?”
This fall LinkedIn launched a Volunteer and Causes field that enables you to add your volunteer work, causes you care about and the organizations you support to your LinkedIn profile. We wanted to make it easy for professionals to include their social impact as part of their professional identity. In addition to the field being an important addition to your professional profile, it also helps nonprofits build their brand. Your association with an organization is an implicit endorsement and can help strengthen its brand and drive awareness. Your connections will be automatically notified when you add this field.
And don’t forget, volunteering is good for your career. There is a great deal of data that indicates that employers care about volunteer work. According to a survey LinkedIn did, 1 out of every 5 hiring managers agree that they have hired a candidate specifically because of their volunteer work.
“Can you talk about the mission behind the newly-created LinkedIn for Good Foundation?”
I think companies’ biggest opportunity to impact the world lies in what their core mission and unique assets are. LinkedIn is in the business of connecting talent with opportunity. The mission of LinkedIn for Good is: Connect the talent and passion of professionals with opportunities to use their skills to make a positive impact on the world. The Foundation that we just created is 100% employee-managed and focuses on leveraging the talents of our employees to impact nonprofit organizations.
“Have you seen any trends with nonprofits and LinkedIn? Where do you see online philanthropy headed for 2012 and beyond?”
I believe that human capital is the future of philanthropy. This skill-based, or pro bono marketplace is in its infancy but we are beginning to see a movement. Professionals, particularly Millenials, are looking for more ways they can make an impact through the workplace. Corporations (HP, Microsoft, IBM, Gap, Deloitte and others) are investing heavily in programs that inspire their employees to participate in skill-based volunteering. And several nonprofits have emerged to create a marketplace that connects the right professional with the right opportunity. Taproot is certainly a thought leader in this space who is driving this movement. Other interesting organizations to watch include CatchaFire and Sparked.
I believe that in 2012 and beyond this trend will continue to grow and the collaboration of human knowledge and passion from every corner of the earth will result in some game-changing solutions to the many global challenges we face.
“Where can people find resources and tips LinkedIn for Good offers for philanthropy professionals and nonprofits?”
We created a Learning Center specifically for nonprofits and nonprofit professionals.
Meg Garlinghouse, Employment Branding and Community at LinkedIn.
Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas