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Do you want to acquire and retain more donors? Do you want your existing donors to upgrade their support? Do want people to talk about your nonprofit organization?
If you do, then you need to do a more effective job of engaging people and giving them information they will value. And you need to meet them where they are: the Internet.
Last month, I published a post from Richard Santos, Founder of Fundlio, that encouraged nonprofit professionals to leverage Facebook to engage prospects and donors: “10 Reasons Your #Nonprofit Should be Using Facebook.”
Now, Andrew Wise, Founder of Wise Startup Blog, outlines five valuable benefits your organization can reap by maintaining a high-quality blog site. Wise Startup Blog provides actionable guides that teach anyone how to build, market, and monetize their blog.
Discover why it’s important for your organization to create or maintain a powerful blog:
The main goal of a nonprofit organization is to inspire people to take a stand and make a change. It is supposed to evoke emotion in people in such a way that they feel so inclined to support the organization and/or to go out and advocate a particular social cause or point of view.
The inherent struggle that nonprofits face is how they can get their information out into the public in order to elicit that strong reaction. It’s not that there is no one there who is willing to listen. It’s just the opposite, really. According to an article by the Harvard Business Review, over 10 million people dedicate themselves to nonprofit-work day in and day out.
Their hard work pays off, too. Americans alone make $373 billion in charitable contributions.
But, despite all of the good that is being done, there is still that inexplicable feeling of hesitation that wafts through the air whenever someone discusses a nonprofit. Although there are hundreds of thousands of completely valid nonprofit organizations in the United States alone, there are unfortunately for-profit companies that take advantage of the not-for-profit status in order to receive a tax exemption.
If you need an example, look no further than the National Football League who, up until 2014, was labeled a nonprofit organization. The organization, which earned around $327 million in 2013, is only one example of many companies that have hidden behind a nonprofit blanket in order to evade tax costs.
Furthermore, countless nonprofit organizations were created with the sole purpose of enriching their founders rather than fulfilling a charitable mission. Occasionally, we’ll hear from the mainstream media about these unscrupulous operators.
Because of all of this, legitimate nonprofit organizations have to work harder to prove that they are not only worthy of people’s time, dedication, and money, but that they are worthy of the nonprofit title.
The place in which most nonprofit organizations struggle is in their delivery of this information. It can be difficult to educate the public in such a way that informs them of your cause, entices them to donate, and keeps them interested enough that they simply need to learn more.
Here is where blogging comes in. (For a great guide for starting a blog, if you need a primer, click here.)
Social media use is on the rise, and the proof is found no further than the number of total users on the most popular social media sites out there right now.
With over 1.65 billion monthly users on Facebook, over 400 million users on Instagram, over 320 million users on Twitter, and over 100 million daily users on Snapchat, there is no denying that people look to social media on a daily — if not hourly — basis for their fill of information.
Blogging is no different. The benefits of starting a blog for your nonprofit organization far outweigh any cons you may be able to think up.
Here are some things to consider…
1. Your nonprofit blog can help you rank higher on search engines.
While looking at the top 10 nonprofit blogs out there right now, I noticed something particularly interesting. They all ranked high on Google. A first page Google search result is a highly coveted spot that every blogger out there wants to obtain, and nonprofit organizations are no different. You see, blogs tend to rate higher on page results than regular nonprofit organization websites for one reason and one reason only:
They are updated frequently.
If you update your blog every other day, or even once a week, you will rank higher on Google than you would if you were relying solely on your organization website simply because it is updated more often.
The higher on a Google page result you rank, the more likely someone who is searching will find and click your website. You want as many people as possible to view your website, so this is a big deal.
2. Your nonprofit blog welcomes conversation among readers.
One of the absolute best ways to get people to visit your nonprofit organization is to get them talking. If you blog about something that evokes a certain feeling inside of them and leaves them feeling like they simply HAVE to say something, you’ve written your article in the best manner it could possibly be written.
The fear that most bloggers have is that their site will become flooded with negative comments from opposing views and internet trolls alike. Although these fears are valid, as those things do happen on any open internet forum, the good far outweighs the bad in this type of situation.
To start a conversation about your nonprofit and to get people feeling so passionately that they have to say something is far more valuable than the effort it takes to delete or ignore a few baseless comments.
3. Your nonprofit blog can be updated at any time.
Don’t get me wrong. Monthly or weekly newsletters are great. But, you know what’s better than that? Up to date information.
Let’s suppose for a moment that a news story breaks and it directly correlates to your nonprofit organization. If you run a weekly/monthly newsletter, you have no option but to wait until your next issue and hope that the story is still relevant to talk about. However, if you write a blog, all you have to do is type away and have it posted in minutes. That minute-by-minute up to date feeling a blog has versus a newsletter is imperative for information seekers. They want to know that they are getting the most up to date information out there.
That’s why blogs work.
Furthermore, setting up newsletters can be cluttered and confusing. If you were to wait an entire week before posting your newsletter, who knows how much information you could have gathered by that time? You would be sitting at your computer, typing away feverishly with hopes of getting everything into the newsletter that you wanted in there. With a blog, the story gets published as it happens. There is no waiting period for you or your readers.
4. Your nonprofit blog can serve as free publicity.
Let me paint a picture for you: Your nonprofit, which works to help at risk teens better their lives, mentors a student who eventually gets accepted into several Ivy League schools. Sure, you can write letters to multiple press outlets and hope someone bites, but why not give yourself the inside scoop first?
If you write about this story on your blog and are able to generate enough buzz (remember what we said before about conversation being important?), news outlets will end up hearing about the story through word of mouth and they’ll come straight to you. You can create your own breaking news and report on it as it happens, cutting out the middleman and without waiting for someone to pick up your story.
The best part about this publicity is that it’s totally free — and it gets more people talking about you. In the end, your goal is to reach the widest audience that you possibly can. If you want to get your organization’s name into a notable news outlet story along the way, you’re already well on your way to doing just that.
5. Your nonprofit blog fits in with current trends.
As we discussed earlier, social media is what’s hot right now. Just about every person in the world has heard of Facebook — even if you choose to stay away from it, social media has embedded itself into our brains. Between Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and blogs, there is virtually no escaping the social media bug.
So why try to avoid it at all? If social media is what people are looking for, you should give it to them.
No matter who you are and no matter what your organization represents, you want to fit in with what currently sells. While there is a division between the younger and older generations, social media and blogging is something that is well received straight across the board.
Just like millions use Facebook, just about everyone reads blogs. They are a great source for instant information and have an air of trendiness to them that your typical newspaper websites may lack. Because they are seen as cool, they are also extremely valuable and give your nonprofit organization a trend factor it may have previously lacked.
The bottom line is that a well-crafted blog, that delivers timely information of value to readers, can engage potential and current donors while inspiring their future support.
Blogging can be a valuable part of your organization’s social media strategy. So, does your charity have a blog? Why or why not?
What’s your favorite nonprofit organization blog? (It doesn’t have to be yours.)
That’s what Andrew Wise and Michael Rosen say… What do you say?