6 Unique Online Fundraising Techniques for Your Nonprofit (Part 5 of 6)

Lori Halley 19 December 2007 1 comments

This post has been contributed by Lance Trebesch and Colt Lapham from TicketPrinting.com

Overview

Every nonprofit knows that fundraisers are critical to their existence.  Without donations, no resources are available to support the primary cause or purpose of the organization.  While most traditional media channels have been exhausted, new opportunities have arisen in the online sector.  By tapping into cutting-edge online resources, your organization can achieve fundraising objectives that far exceed established boundaries.  But what are these mysterious online tools and how do you put them to work for your organization?  This series attempts to answer these questions and more by breaking down the vast online resources into six manageable categories.  These categories include:

  1. Social Networking
  2. Online Auctions
  3. Email Campaign
  4. Wiki Pages and Event Calendars
  5. Blogs
  6. Online Raffles

5.  Blogs

Three Reasons Why Blogging Helps Raise Funds

1. Blog readers are an ideal audience - The typical blog reader is young, wealthy, active, and influential.  Blog readers are 11 percent more likely than the average Internet user to have incomes greater than $75,000.(Clickz.com)  According to a 2006 survey conducted by BlogAds, 43% of blog reads had incomes greater than $90,000.  I’m not sure if you could find a more ideal audience to target.

2. Continuous communication leads to continuous donation – Blogs offer the element of human interaction and constant communication needed to truly drive home your organization’s goals and objectives.  Staff members will be more informed and motivated, and supporters will become lively, engaged, and ready to contribute. 

3. Search engines love blogs – This advantage might not contribute to your fundraising efforts directly, but if potential supporters cannot find your website or blog, there is little chance they will donate.  Search engines favor websites with constantly updated content.  Good blogs are also known to attract a high number of inbound links.  In addition, blogs present many opportunities to incorporate keywords and key phrases you want to optimize for.  Just be careful when doing this, and strike a balance between readability and keyword inclusion.  For more information on search engine optimization, read our article series “30 Days to Improved SEO for Your Non-Profit.”  For additional reason for starting your non-profit blog, read our article “10 Reasons Every Non-Profit Should Have a Blog.”     

Nine Tips to Blog Your Way to Fundraising Success

1. Read as many blogs as possible - Keeping yourself continually updated on happenings in the non-profit world is critical to writing great, cutting-edge blog content.  Be sure to set up a feed aggregator, also known as a feed reader, news reader, or news aggregator.  These applications collect any new syndicated web content, and display it in a consolidated layout within a single browser display.  Aggregators eliminate the time it takes to check your favorite blogs for updated content, which creates more time for reading.  Bloglines and Google Reader are two popular aggregators.  If you do not have time to regularly read blogs, listen to Podcasts, or get an RSS-Narrator.  RSS-Narrators convert text blogs into audio files that can be burned onto a disk, or placed on an iPod to listen to on the way to work, or while exercising etc.  TalkingNews is currently the only RSS-Narrator available.

2. Blog often and with variety - The only way to gain a steady reader base is to blog regularly.  The best blogs update their content daily or sometimes several times a day.

Maintaining a steady reader base also requires that you provide a variety of consistently good content.  The best non-profit blogs are a balanced mix of editorials on daily news stories covering issues pertaining to your organization or cause, personal and organizational experiences, references and insight on top news stories, and references to other blogs, organizations, or topics of interest.  Blog about conferences you attend, trips your organization takes, and projects your non-profit is working on.  Remember to always take pictures or video during your outings and include them in your blog.  Stand out by covering non-profit related topics from a different angle than other non-profits do.  Create a viral effect by always providing opinions on top stories and ongoing news issues that non-profits might be interested in.  Who knows, by creating enough buzz around a certain issues, you might even create your own media coverage.

3. Use tracking software and analyze - Find out how many people are visiting your blogs and which ones generate the most traffic.  You should re-create titles and content that receives many views.  The tracking software can also tell you how people are hearing about your blog through Digg, Google, etc.  It can give you a great insight on your viewers and many other marketing hints if you are creative.  Feedburner is a great tracking tool.

4. Reach out to other bloggers - Ask your supporters if they write blogs and would be willing to blog about your cause.  Also, when distributing press releases, search blog directories such as Technorati or Bloghub to find blogs relating to your cause and send them a press release.  Not only will other bloggers help you spread the word about your cause, they can also help raise money to support it by adding a charity badge to their blog post.  A charity badge is a small widget often including a picture, brief description of the organization, and link to where you can make a donation.  The great thing about charity badges is they are easily be picked up and posted by other blogs and websites by simply clicking “get this badge.”  Charity badges present a wealth of viral fundraising opportunities, especially when coupled with social networking efforts.  ChipIn and Network for Good  both offer free charity badge creation.  For more information on charity badges read our articles “A Charity Badge to Raise Dough?” and “Seven Tips to Make Your Charity Badge a Success.”

5. Always encourage comments and discussion – Providing food-for-thought and then leaving topics open for lengthy commenting and discussion. This is one of the best ways to increase the popularity of your blog posts.  Comments on your blog not only create additional information for your blog’s readers, but also increase the commenter’s interest in your blog and cause.  They become more likely to become involved, may become a valuable guest blogger in the future, and are more likely to link to your blog from their site.  The more sense of conversation you can inflict into your blog posts, the more quickly your audience will grow.

6. Promote your RSS feed - Your blog should feature an RSS feed.  RSS stands for really simple syndication.  This technology allows readers receive automatic updates on your new blog posts.  Keeping supporters, guest bloggers, and staff updated on news throughout your organization will give them the opportunity to promote your cause for you.  Mention your RSS feed often, and display it as frequently as possible.  Go to great lengths to make it easy to sign up for RSS.

7. Welcome guest bloggers - Be selective when choosing guest bloggers (as the quality of your blog is at stake), but having guests blog on your site regularly can be very advantageous.  Guest bloggers will add variety and freshness to your blog by introducing new topics or viewpoints, and also provide some relief for you and other blog writers in your organization.  In addition, most guest bloggers will be flattered you asked them to guest blog and become a valuable advocate for your blog and organization.  On the other side of the coin, never turn down a request to guest blog on other non-profit’s sites.  Guest blogging provides a great opportunity to increase readership for your own blog, and creates a valuable partnership with the organization you blog for.

8. Cross-reference between other organization’s blogs - Include other organization’s blogs in your blog roll, comment on their blogs regularly, and provide references to their blogs within your own blog.  Choose organizations you want to connect with and provide your reflections on topics they have covered.  Doing these things will increase awareness and create a broad based movement toward your cause, and create a network of organizations that will regularly post your blogs in their blog role, blog about your organization, and provide guest bloggers.  Commenting on and re-posting blogs covering key topics is especially important.  Doing this will motivate readers on topics that need the most attention, while providing your insight and support to organizations in your network. 

9. Optimize viral opportunities – Always add the “email this” icon at the bottom of your blogs.  Also, some submission sites such as Technorati and del.icio.us will allow you to ping them, which means they get an automatic update when you post a new blog.  It is always good to have your latest blogs in their records.  Add a tag term so your blog will pop up if someone searches for the term you used.  Place your tags at the bottom of your blog posts, pointing to the search terms you are targeting. 

 


 

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 2:39 PM

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Comments

  • Howard said:

    Tuesday, 24 March 2009 at 9:44 AM

    If you want information on product type fundraisers take a look at Easy <a href="http://www.easy-fundraising-ideas.com/">Fundraising</a> Ideas where I believe you will find one of the most extensive lists of fundraising ideas for typical groups.

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