Friday, February 20, 2009

8 Benefits of Having a Nonprofit Blog

Should all nonprofits have a blog? Nope.

Can having a blog benefit your organization? Yup.

Below are eight benefits of having a nonprofit blog.

1. Blogs help provide quick, up to the minute news about your organization and cause.

If you've worked for a nonprofit, you know how painfully long it can take to put together a newsletter. Blog posts, on the other hand, can be written in 15-30 minutes. Not only can you share organizational news as it happens, you can also comment on how breaking news in the world relates to your cause, or organization.

Tip: If you're going to use your blog as a regular communication tool, please allow readers to subscribe by email as well as rss. Many, many people do not know how to subscribe by rss. Use a service like Feedblitz or Feedburner Email to facilitate readers' subscribing by email.

2. Blogs can help you work faster.

Just because you have a blog, doesn't mean you should stop having an e-newsletter, or print newsletter. In fact, it can help provide content for both. If you've been posting on your organization's blog regularly, you'll have lots of content to pull from when you sit down to write your newsletter. If you're writing an e-newsletter, you can point back to the original blog posts, which will also drive traffic back to your organization's website.

3. Blogs can help you reach more people.

It's been said that people need to see an advertisement seven times before they will buy. Below are eight ways someone might read one of your blog posts more than once:
  • As the original post on your blog.
  • As an excerpt in your e-newsletter, and clicking through to read the rest.
  • As a mention in your Twitter feed, and clicking through to read the rest.
  • As an excerpt on your Facebook feed, and clicking through to read the rest.
  • When someone emails it to them.
  • When someone shares it with them using an AddThis like button on the bottom of the post.
  • When they find it saved by someone on a social bookmarking site like, StumbleUpon or Digg
  • When another blogger links to it on their blog.
4. Blogs can increase the search ranking of your website.

Search engines like sites that update their content regularly and have lots of incoming links; consequently, they like blogs!

For more information about nonprofits, blogs and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) check out Organic Non-Profit SEO, The Nonprofit SEO Guide, Blogs and Search Engine Optimization, and 2009 NTC Preview: Kevin Lee on Search Engine Optimization

5. Blogs can give you the press you seek.

Rather than crossing your fingers that a reporter will cover a story about your work, blogs can help you create your own coverage. For example, Community United Against Violence used a blog to cover the trial of men accused of murdering Gwen Araujo, a woman they killed after they discovered that she was biologically male. CUAV's blog eventually drew media attention to the trial when the blog was covered by the news.

Also, if you are writing about the same topics repeatedly on your blog, when a reporter is searching online for an expert on your issue, your posts may come up at the top of their search results.

6. Blogs can help your supporters and potential supporters get to know and trust you.

As important as branding is in marketing your organization, it is also important to step out from behind your brand, and show your supporters and potential supporters that there are real people, like them, running your organization. In an overly branded world, people are looking for ways to figure out who to trust. The personal, human tone of a blog can help.

7. Blogs facilitate conversations with supporters and potential supporters.

In my book, there are two things all blogs must have: a way to subscribe and comments. Now, I know that many organizations have a fear of being overrun with negative comments.

Thing is, if you want to build relationships through your blog, you have to have conversations. Think of the comment area of your blog like a cocktail party. There are going to be superficial commenters, sad commenters, funny commenters, deep commenters, thoughtful commenters, commenters you don't agree with, and once in a while, commenters you need to ask to leave.

For now, just worry about getting people to come to your party, not how to throw them out.

8. Blogs can be fun!

When choosing who is going to blog for your organization, please don't assign it to someone who looks at it as another thing to check off of their to-do list. Writing for a blog is a creative and social experience. It involves not only writing posts, but also reading and commenting on other blogs. Again, it's like going to a party, and no one wants to chat with the person at the party who'd rather not be there 'cause they were forced to attend.

What do you think? How has having a blog been beneficial, or not beneficial to your organization?

Cross-posted from Britt Bravo is a Big Vision Consultant.

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  1. Yes hugely benefited us to have a nonprofit blog. As people are looking to start a nonprofit we are able to guide them to the best way to do that plus constantly provide them with ongoing radical tips to help them keep their nonprofit successful. There is no doubt that the thousands that are subscribed love it that we have a blog. twitter us at @scottringo

  2. Great ideas Britt! I've been sharing with lots of small nonprofits lately why they need a blog and how to get one started. For many groups, it's a great way to get the word out and engage donors in online conversations. I'll be presenting a workshop at the AFP International Conference in New Orleans next month about Fundraising with Blogs.

    Sandy Rees
    Fundraising Coach

  3. Anonymous9:26 AM

    Excellent list and something I will use to show the rest of our staff/board at Wellstone Action. We have been blogging since May of 2008 and this is helpful in making the case for taking it to the next level and using it for maximum success. Thanks!

  4. Sandy -

    How fun you are going to New Orleans! Have you been before? I went for the first time last year for the NTEN conference and just loved it.

    Elana -

    I'm so glad you commented as I wasn't aware that Wellstone Action had a blog. I'm going to add it to my feedreader.

  5. I can't convince my organization that the benefits overcome the liabilities of having an internet presence. They have a basic one, but I am finding that in my sector of social services there is a great fear of IT in general.

  6. Hi Krista,

    It's hard to give you advice without understanding the nature of your organization, who they serve, etc. Some organizations benefit more than others from using social web tools. They aren't a fit for anyone.

    I guess the question I would ask is, ehat is the liability of NOT having more of a web presence?"

    Is there an audience you'd like to reach who won't you are missing because of a limited web presence?

    Good luck!

  7. Britt,

    I love the AFP conference and I go every chance I get. New Orleans was great, as always. I've posted the PDF of my presentation notes on Fundraising with Blogs on my blog at Enjoy!

    Sandy Rees
    Fundraising Coach

  8. I particularly like your point about making sure the blogger is inspired, rather than just seeing the blog as another thing to check off the to-do list. The blog is the place where it's safest to have a personal voice, and to let the passion shine through. If it doesn't happen there, where's it going to happen? Part of what helps make a nonprofit successful is its ability to inspire other people to get on board with the cause (by volunteering, donating, etc.).

    Margaux O'Malley
    Grand Junction Design

  9. Perfectly explained, Margaux.

  10. I would love to start a blog for our non-profit but I am not sure of the process of getting it going and letting people know about it. I am also concerned about what is and isn't allowable to put on our blog and that I won't have enough content since I'll likely be the primary writer. I would think posting at least daily would be optimal but I'm not sure if it would be possible. Thoughts or suggestions very welcome!dempsey

  11. Hi Sue: To answer all of your questions would make a very long blog comment (:


    RE: How to get it going.
    Pick a blogging platform. Install it or hire someone to install it and start writing.

    RE: How to let people know about it.
    Tell the folks on your enewsletter list. Put a link in your email signature. Link to other bloggers. Comment on other blogs.

    RE: Not having enough content.
    All of your content doesn't have to be original. You can have posts where you point to what other bloggers are saying about a topic.

    RE: Posting daily.
    If you can do it, posting daily is great, if not, no worries. Shoot for a minimum of twice a week.

  12. One of the reasons many organizations fear an online presence is the inability to "control" who sees it and what they do with it.

    Blogs are one of the few social media outlets that let you pull back, delete, or edit your posting after its already out. Email newsletters esp. suffer from the fact that once you hit send/enter, that information out there and the action is not reversible.

    Blogging is a good first step with those that are unsure because they still retain the ability to remove any content they don't like, at any time.

    Thanks for posting Britt!

  13. You're welcome, Greg!

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