A nonprofit client recently asked me for some advice about blogging. So I thought about my “wish list” for a nonprofit blog. What would you add?
Imagine a supporter is standing next to you saying, “You have a blog? I didn’t know that!”
Think of every place you could promote your blog: a big link on the home page of your website, an announcement in the e-newsletter or printed newsletter, and even ine your press release boilerplate. Once you’ve made a mention in all the possible communications, repeat it periodically. Never stop promoting the blog.
“Why should I read this blog?”
In your first post, state in simple, personal terms why you feel called to write a blog. It should be clear why your perspective is unique and valuable. If more than one person is going to contribute to the blog—and more voices are always better—have each one explain their purpose and the kinds of topics they’ll write about.
“I can give you three minutes.”
Many nonprofit leaders still write like academics: long sentences, big words, and social services or political jargon. Make your blog different. Get to the point as soon as you can. Make everything simple and clear.
“So? Why should I care?”
Explain everything—absolutely everything–in ways that enable your audience to identify with you and your issue. Because everything is about THEM, not YOU. This is very hard advice to take because we are so used to begging for attention from people who probably don’t have the problem we’re trying to solve. But you can do this–it just takes thought, and maybe some discussions with your supporters to uncover why they give/volunteer/advocate for you. If you don’t do this, your blog is just another promotional vehicle for your organization.
Try integrating short videos on a regular basis, instead of written posts. (Videos are the best way to bring in more voices—your donors, clients, volunteers, etc.) Use humor. Use interesting images. Tell stories. Tell more stories. And don’t forget the stories.
“What do you want me to do?”
Every blog should have some kind of a call to action or you’ve missed an important opportunity to get people more engaged. Ask them to volunteer, to donate, to write a letter or email a political representative, or to get more information from a link you provide. Be creative in designing next steps for them. But be sure to alternate between things that are easy and things that take more time. Also, don’t be afraid to ask them to share the blog with their friends and family.
“I want to keep reading this blog.”
Set up RSS and email subscriptions through feedburner.com and make the buttons very, very prominent on the blog. In your first few blog posts, ask people to subscribe. After a few months of blogging, ask them again.
“This is really good. How do I share this on Facebook?”
Integrate the major social media sites into your blog so it’s always easy to share.
Bonus: Some excellent nonprofit blogs I subscribe to.