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Are You Using This Powerful Social Engagement Tool?

Lori Halley 24 March 2014 0 comments

Does your non-profit or membership organization have a blog?  If not – is this the year you’ll start blogging? 

We’ve highlighted a few reasons why you should be blogging in the past. Yet while I’ve seen many non-profit experts expounding on the benefits of blogging lately, the most recent Nonprofit Communications Trends Report found that only 29% of respondents thought a blog was “very or somewhat important.” 

But fundraising experts, Claire Axelrad (Clairification) and Mazarine Treyz (Wild Woman Fundraising) think blogging can be worth its weight in gold. They’ve been publishing some terrific blog posts and have even launched a Charity Blogging Gold e-course*. So I asked if I could share some of their thoughts and tips about blogging.

As Claire Axelrad suggests:

What’s a blog, really? A blog is just a super-charged, dynamic website that will bring you many more visitors – and a lot more engagement — than your website does now. Doesn’t that sound like a tool that might help your fundraising?

Did you know that 70% of visitors to the average website never visit again? Done well, a blog drives traffic to you naturally… brings folks back for more… and even gets folks to share stuff you post on your blog with their own networks. It’s a hugely powerful tool for finding and engaging with people – your donors and potential supporters.

“Of all the killer social engagement tools out there, none beats the blog.”

In her post, Top 10 Checklist to Simplify Nonprofit Blogging, Claire reports that Social Media Examiner’s 2013 State of Social Media Report puts blogging #1 at the list of the top 14 social media channels you should be exploring”. ...There’s no better way to offer your constituents meaningful engagement.”

Claire advises newbie nonprofit bloggers to:

Start blogging regularly. Creating relevant content is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to attract new constituents online. Make your blog the hub of your content marketing strategy. Create all content for your blog; then leverage it (shorten or lengthen as appropriate) through all your other communications channels (e.g., fundraising appeal, annual report, grant proposal, newsletter, social media… everything!). Set a goal (create one blog post/week or month).  You’ve already got lots of content – tell stories of the great things you’ve accomplished!  Collect these stories and turn them into blog articles. What about tips you can offer based on what you do? Serve seniors? Offer heart-healthy recipes. Run children’s programs? Provide a list of family activities. Do policy work? Serve up a recommended reading list. Come from a constituent-centered perspective and get creative!  [You can get a Blog Editorial Calendar from Hubspot to get you started].

Are you convinced you need to start blogging?

If you’re ready to start blogging or you are now inspired to reinvigorate a languishing blog, here are 5 Tips For Nonprofit Blogging Success from Mazarine Treyz:

How can you blog for your nonprofit, blog consistently, providing value, telling stories, and helping people give to you and connect with your mission?

Tip 1: Read the post out loud. Whether it’s a post about your annual event, your staff transitions, or welcoming a new board member, or even about your programs, you need to read it out loud. Look it over again and again. You’ll be surprised at how many mistakes you had. I always am. 

Tip 2: If you can’t think of anything to write about, then go interview program staff. Make a series of posts about your programs. Focus on ONE story. Problem to Solution. Start to Finish. If they have nothing for you, then go interview one of your volunteers. Add a link to start volunteering at the bottom of the post. 

Tip 3: Add a picture! If you need to protect your clients or confidentiality, then definitely check out my Free Tips page, where there are three links to get free stock photos! 

Tip 4: Are you taking advantage of every opportunity to get people to take action? Make sure the donation button is above the fold on your nonprofit blog. That way, every time you blog, they are reminded that they can also give. If you want a special gold star, you can also add a call to action at the end of the post. What are some good calls to action? Obviously asking for a donation is right there at the top. But you can't ask with every post. What other calls to action should you make? Ask them to sign a petition or take a survey instead. Ask them to tweet about you, or blog about you, and then make it easy for them to do it. 

Tip 5: Add a link to getting onto your newsletter at the bottom of your blog post. The more people you have on your newsletter, the better chance you’ll have to engage them to sign your petition, become volunteers, or even give to you!

Member engagement app banner


Still making excuses for why you aren’t blogging yet?

For those of you who feel there are too many barriers or hurdles to blogging, here are Claire Axelrad’s “10 Excuses That Keep You From Rocking a Blog”:

  1. My E.D. thinks this will take up too much time. Will it?
  2. Our resources are limited. My boss says wants to know the ROI.    
  3. Why should we blog if we’re already doing Facebook and Twitter?
  4. I just can’t get my E.D.’s attention. How can I get my E.D. interested? 
  5. We’re working on improving our website instead.
  6. We need to spend time on constituent research, not blogs.
  7. We don’t know what skills to look for in a post writer.
  8. We don’t have the bandwidth to create new content.
  9. We just don’t have a lot of content. What do we do? 
  10. I’m still not convinced. What’s the #1 reason my nonprofit needs a blog?

You can read Claire’s post for the details on these excuses and ideas to help you move forward. I sure agree with Claire – non-profits should be blogging...

If you haven’t considered a blog as one of the ways to move folks along a continuum with you – from awareness… to interest… to engagement… to investment – there’s no time like the present. CARPE DIEM!

Want more information or resources on blogging?

You can check out this article in our Membership Knowledge Hub: How To Create a Blog.

*Note: The 
charity blogging gold e-course (offered by Mazarine Treyz and Claire Axelrad) registration is full right now, but you can watch for their next session.

What’s holding you back from blogging?  Tell us in the comments below.

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

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 24 March 2014 at 8:30 AM
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