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Elizabeth Chung
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Volunteer Marketplace: A New LinkedIn Feature

LinkedIn is already an important player in the world of professional networking and hiring, but this week they have expanded into volunteer recruitment. By partnering with existing networks The Taproot Foundation, VolunteerMatch, CatchAFire, and BoardSource, LinkedIn’s new Volunteer Marketplace is designed to help nonprofit organizations and volunteers find each other.

While many job hunters peruse LinkedIn for paying positions, many also see the value you donating their time to a nonprofit organization. Volunteer work is a great way to gain experience, develop a new skill set and, of course, help out your community. The Volunteer Marketplace makes it easy to look for professional opportunities, paid or not, all on one platform.

According to TechCrunch, nonprofits will have to pay to list their volunteer opportunities, although the listing is offered at a 90% discount to normal job posting fees. The cost might be worth it though. In the past, we have discussed the financial value of volunteering. Not only are volunteers more likely to make donations and be more engaged with your organization, but the 2012 value estimate of volunteering was $22.14 per hour. The skills of some volunteers can be worth much more. Data from the Corporation for National & Community Service also suggest that volunteers who use their skills are more likely to continue serving than those who perform unrelated tasks.

Currently the Volunteer Marketplace is open to 501(c)3 organizations only. There are concerns that in the future, LinkedIn may allow any non-paid work to be listed on the marketplace. This could raise questions about whether or not a marketplace which integrates both charity work and unpaid work dilutes the value of community service and leads to exploitation. There are already many objections to unpaid internships and underpaid work like it because it undervalues the labor which potentially contributes to a company’s profits.

Nevertheless, this seems like an interesting attempt by LinkedIn to get nonprofits more involved on the platform, as well as attract more students to create profiles.

What do you think? Is LinkedIn the appropriate platform for a Volunteer Marketplace? Let us know! Tweet us @StayClassySD or comment below!

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Image Credit: Screenshot from LinkedIn

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