Have you been wondering if your organization needs a blog? In this guest post, Michael Faye of AssociaDirect
talks about how blogging can help you to connect more effectively with
your community of members, and outlines 5 basic considerations in
planning a non-profit blog.
Is Blogging Right for Your Organization?
Practically every customer and potential customer I speak with
inevitably brings up social media. “Should we be twittering?” “Should
we set up a facebook group?” “Should we be blogging?” And, the answer
to all of these questions is that these are just relatively new tools
available to us, and if used correctly, can become a valuable asset to
your organization, so yes.
The next question that I like to ask is: “Why do you want to blog?”
or “why do you want to Twitter?” More often than not, the answer is
something like “Our Executive Director just really thinks Twitter is
cool”; it is never applying the technology toward achieving a goal.
This article is focused on blogging because there is a general
misunderstanding of how beneficial blogging can be when utilized
Most of my clients are associations and nonprofit organizations that
have a membership. A blog is almost made for this scenario.
allows for the creation of an online community that can help extend
your organization’s physical one. Organizations are always trying to
better understand what their members are looking for and give them more
value. They are always struggling with being relevant and timely. A
blog gives members a voice, a direct, unfiltered, loud voice as to what
is happening on the front lines. The key to success is that the
organization is actually listening to that voice.
When I am advising customers on blogging, I focus on the desired
objective and then work backwards. It sounds obvious, but most
organizations become so enamored with the buzz and technology that they
implement a blog without any clear objective or plan in place. I have
outlined, below, the basics in planning a blog for your organization.
1. Identify the objective(s).
Perhaps your organization is struggling with a brand problem where
your members feel that you are irrelevant and out of touch. This is a
branding objective. A blog creates a dialogue with members to better
understand the issues a member faces. Branding, Member Engagement,
Recruitment, Revenue Generation and Search Engine Placement are just a
few examples of key benefits of blogging.
2. Determine if a blog will work in your organization’s environment.
Even though a blog may offer great benefits, it won’t work if the
culture in the office is not ready to accept the commitment of it. For
example, criticism needs to be openly accepted without any negativity.
Unfiltered, unedited dialogue is a blogging fundamental. Without it,
your blog will fail miserably.
3. Develop information architecture that is geared toward your objective.
Information architecture is the process of structuring the content
of your organization’s blog in a way that makes it easy to find and
well managed. This is a key reason for blogs being successful or
4. Don’t overlook the importance of aesthetics and branding.
The look and feel of your blog gives an immediate indication to your
readers about the credibility of your blog. A blog that appears
amateurish can weaken your organization’s brand perception and keep it
from gaining acceptance.
5. Establish an Editor.
An editor will keep a consistent voice and schedule. This person
will be acting as a brand manager, ensuring that articles and posts
remain within the best interest of the organization.
I have only scratched the surface here, but if your organization is
considering starting a blog or upping its efforts, our team has
recently published the white paper “Blogging for Associations: Getting
Past the Hype.” Any association or nonprofit professional may download
it for free by visiting the resources section of the AssociaDirect