LinkedIn finds new purpose with volunteer hub

The company hopes to do for the nonprofit sector what it's already done for the business world.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
Screenshot/Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

Professional social network LinkedIn is providing people with a tool to search for more meaningful work.

Wednesday, the 10-year-old company went live with its Volunteer Marketplace, an online destination meant to be a center where people can search for volunteer opportunities or nonprofit board positions. LinkedIn has partnered with Catchafire, Taproot, Foundation, BoardSource, and VolunteerMatch to source the listings for the initiative.

"We aim to help the social sector by doing what we do best as a company: connecting talent with opportunity at massive scale," LinkedIn Chairman and Co-founder Reid Hoffman wrote in a blog post on the launch. More than 600,000 LinkedIn members have already expressed interest in some type of volunteer work, he said.

On the surface, the marketplace looks to be just a fancy landing page that offers people an easy way into filtered searches for volunteer work. Still, the hub offers the public company yet another way to keep its 260 million members using the service, even when they're not actively looking for paying jobs. The project also ties in nicely with LinkedIn's recently stated mission of developing an "economic graph," aka a map of all of the connections between the world's professionals, skills, jobs, companies, and universities.