Think your nonprofit organization has no need for a blog? You may want to think again. According to Technorati, nearly 10,500 blogs were tagged “charity”, 4,000 blogs “nonprofit” and 2,300 blogs “philanthropy” in January of 2007. Nonprofits are hopping onboard the social media bandwagon and are seeing returns. If you’re still not convinced here are ten reasons your nonprofit organizations should have a blog.
1. You ARE an Expert in the Field – Nonprofit organizations have a wealth of information when it comes to their cause. Share it! This information is highly desired in online blogging communities and passersby alike. You know your stuff and by posting regularly in blogs, your organization will gain a reputation for being an expert. People trust experts. Donors want to know their money is being put to good use, and volunteers want to know the time they spend is making an impact. Readers will want to see more information authored by you and will follow links back to your organizations website. According to the March, 2007 Blog Readership Report, 67.3% of bloggers found information by following links from other blogs. To find blogs that are topically related to your organization use Technorati and Blogcatolog. Icerocket has also done an excellent job dissecting blogs and making them more search friendly.
2. Credibility – It is more important today than ever before for nonprofit organizations to be trustworthy in the eyes of their contributors. The public wants transparency. A blog facilitates this relationship by showing consistency in your ideas and presentation. You put a lot of work into maintaining your blog on a consistent basis with meaningful material—that is a huge investment for you to lose and the public will notice this too. Another way to establish this relationship of trust is to make events, projects and progress as visible as possible. By having weekly updates on projects and the projects successes, users will know exactly what difference their donations have made (or will make if they donate). Project developments can be posted onto the blog keeping the organizations efforts and needs current (Have Fun Do Good Blog).
3. Search engine optimization – Search engines take into consideration many factors when calculating a search result list. A focused, well written blog hosted on your website is a key component in helping overall search performance. A blog allows plenty of room to add keywords and phrases you wish to rank well for. Additionally, if your blog has useful and meaningful material, other sites will want to link to it, improving your websites level of importance. Also, search engines place higher value on pages that are constantly updated, so remember to ping them regularly to inform them you’ve added new content. You can use one of the many free tools such as Search Engine Land or (Technorati), more than 17 million of them are information thirsty bloggers who desire the kind of content your nonprofit blog could provide. Blogs are continually being incorporated into social networking sites and in turn peoples’ daily routine.
5. Negative Comments – Even if you haven’t been writing about your organization, other people have; they are talking and probably writing about you! Hopefully, their words are positive, but almost inevitably there will be some negative commentary. Many organizations see this negative commentary as a major deterrent to engaging in social media. However, a blog provides a median to field complaints or concerns and defend the decisions the organization has made. Remember to listen. Some comments may be unfounded, but others may provide information that could improve your organization. When replying keep a professional tone and respond quickly.
6. Marketing Events – A regularly maintained blog will attract loyal readers who can easily be informed about upcoming events. To incentivize new subscribers, or to increase the loyalty of existing subscribers, consider having special promotions on the blog before events. However, a blog should work in combination with the traditional channels of marketing your event, not to replace them. (An event is also a great way to market your blog!)
7. Annual Report – Many nonprofits (At least all of the ones I have worked with!) are required to compile an annual or semiannual report. By working smarter and creating a blog, you will have most of the content for the report already completed before you even begin compiling it (Have Fun Do Good Blog). In many ways blogs are more honest and accurate than formal annual reports, as they build a habit of (and comfort with) sharing information as it happens. Your memories are fresh and the facts are at your finger tips…contrast this with the rush and toil characteristic of the last minute annual report – the effort required to create the content will be more cost effective.
8. Gathering Information - One of the most difficult aspects of any nonprofit is gaining an understanding of its supporters. Two people may be supporting your organization for two entirely different reasons. A blog can help tap into a resource of information and more that new technology provides. Two major information related benefits include:
- Allowing users to create- A blog encourages involvement in the organization as it encourages discussion of your topics. The AARP Issues Blog allows readers to create entries about what issues they feel are important and receive feedback from these entries.
- Provide information to supporters-and they will return the favor. If a picture can convey a thousand words, than a blog on your website will have a lot to say. So much of the success of a fundraising campaign (whether you like it or not) comes from its emotional appeal. By having a blog that contains pictures and stories, viewers will become more emotionally involved with the cause or service. If they feel a connection they are more likely to share with you and about you.
9. Fundraising – That’s right you can use your blog to raise money, and not just with ChipIn and Network for Good both have charity badges available for a small fee. Blogs bring in visitors looking for valuable information and in turn they will see your badge. There are countless examples of blogging communities that have worked together to raise money using charity badges.
10. The “Heart” of the Organization – A blog gives you the unique opportunity to show the organization in a totally different way. A blog brings your humanity to the forefront. After all, it is very difficult to write every day about something you’re passionate about and not have who you are come through. The key to being successful with any marketing venture is telling a compelling story and building meaningful relationships, blogs are just another tool to do so.