Okay, listen up! In case you haven’t noticed, social media is taking over. Consumers; donors; the general public have been bombarded with advertisements, articles, and lectures every way they turn! It’s time for your not-for-profit organization to put its thinking cap on and ask itself, “What else can we do to make our organization stand out in the midst of all the other clutter in people’s lives?”
BLOG ABOUT IT.
So… blogging, what’s it to ya? Your organization already has a website, a Facebook page, and/or an active campaign, so what’s the big deal, right? Well, how many times are people visiting your website or social networking site? How many people sign-up to engage in campaign efforts? Blogging can bring so much more to your not-for-profit cause while amplifying those efforts you’ve already set in place.
A recent study shows that only 36.88% of not-for-profits are blogging. That’s less than half! This means your organization has the opportunity to stand out! Let’s increase traffic on your organization’s page, let’s get more shares to social media about your cause, and let’s help your organization’s SEO (search engine optimization) grow … let’s educate, share and establish your organization! All of this can be done through blogging.
All this time your donors have been giving to you, well I say let’s give back to them. Blogging is a free gift to your donors and your potential donors. What better way to say “Hi, welcome to our organization” or “Thank you for your dedication to our organization,” than providing readers with a free gift?
HOW TO GO ABOUT IT.
Now, how to go about this. What are the blogging essentials? What do people want to read about? First, you need to make sure this gift looks like a gift. How? Add a shiny red bow, of course. No one will re-use a gift that is dull; it will just sit there unused and ineffective. Make your organization’s blog inviting and appealing to look at. People need to be intrigued. Next, keep the following in mind:
- “We, we, we.” Okay, stop talking about yourself! Try to use the word “You” as much as possible. It is a gift for them. Let your donors, readers, and supporters know how amazing they are and how they add to your organization.
- Blah. Blah. Blah. This is the jargon free zone. Your supporters want to have a conversation with you, well at least read like they’re having a conversation with you. Talk about real people, real life. Do you sound human? If they wanted to hear about the blahty-blah they’d go to the “About Us” tab on your website.
- Story time. Alright, here’s the fun part! This is where the jam packed, thrilling, and emotion-filled rollercoaster begins. Real is exciting. Give your supporters real-life drama with real people and real stories. Okay, so you don’t have to give out names or personal details, but that shouldn’t make your stories any less enticing. Use words to make your story come alive!
- A picture is worth a thousand words. Your art teacher wasn’t lying when he told you that a picture is worth a thousand words. Images and videos have the ability to take story sharing to a whole other level. Give a face to your organization’s stories. Show your supporters who and what they are supporting. Show them REAL photos, stock and google photos just won’t cut it.
- BORING! You created this nonprofit blog to pull readers, supporters, and donors in, not push them away. Don’t bore them away to the next organization. How you ask?
o Who? Let’s try and prevent your blogging team from becoming just 1-2 staff members. The people who should be involved in creating content for your blog include employees, volunteers, readers/supporters, those you are helping, external experts with knowledge related to your organization, and leaders in the communities you serve. These are the people who know your organization and the purpose it serves as much as, if not better than you. Oh, and don’t forget to tell readers about their bloggers. Include a little author bio and picture. Give your dedicated bloggers a face. People love pictures!
o What? What to talk about. Well, whatever you talk about, make sure you persuade the reader with an ever catchy title. Okay, back to the what. Write about news that concerns your organization’s mission. Provide educational material for your readers to keep them more informed about why your organization is in existence. Tell them about the success stories and the personal stories. And let them know how the organization gets involved and supports the community. Oh, and to avoid even more boringness, stick to short paragraphs and bullet points – nobody wants to read the never ending paragraph.
o Where? Keep your readers informed about your organization’s movements. Let them know about the latest and upcoming events, so they can stay/get involved.
- We need you! How better to let your readers know how much you value them then by telling them you need them. Make them part of your organization before they leave your page. Give them a reason to come back and visit your page. Ask them to join the organization’s email list and provide them with a link where they can. Entice them with offers to attend your organization’s events in the area for free. Ask them to volunteer and let them know why volunteering is so great. Even go so far as to ask them to share a story of their own in the comments, it could have the potential to become a blog post!
WHEN IT’S ALL SAID AND DONE.
I hope I haven’t lost you yet.
Last, but not least, don’t get lazy. You have to maintain this blog of a monster you’ve created. Post regularly. Do your best to keep the blog fresh and exciting by posting at least 4 times a month. I know we lead busy lives, but if you are going to jump into something make sure you have both feet planted (one foot could be a bit unstable). Your actions will reflect upon you readers. If you’re not in it, I’m pretty sure they’re fall out of it too. Let them know you’re active and that they can be too.
By now your mind must be filled with ideas! I hope this posting has given you the extra little push you needed to put you on the blogging path. Set your organization aside from the rest- blog about it.
Nicholle Mezier, CPA, MBA
Nicholle is a Manager of Cerini & Associates’ audit staff where she brings experience in audit, review, and consulting services to our general business, nonprofit and special education clients. Nicholle has worked with a large number of nonprofit clients, predominantly focusing on social service providers, healthcare providers, foundations, educational institutions, and arts and culture organizations. Nicholle’s technical knowledge allows her to provide specific services, including financial statement audits, internal and claims audits, and nonprofit outsourced accounting services. Nicholle has also contributed to the firm’s various newsletters.