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As part of TechSoup's do-it-yourself month, Nonprofits Live (NPLive) featured a discussion of blogging. Blogging is a great way for organizations to communicate and establish themselves as thought leaders. NPLive's guests were:
Thurman has been blogging about leadership, nonprofits, and social media since 2007. She advises organizations to make blogging a part of a their content strategy only if it aligns with their communication plan. A successful blog begins with a mission statement to guide the writing process.
Then it is important to assign responsibility for its writing, develop a production schedule for it, and promote it. Promotion should be done via an organization's website, on social media, and even in staff email signatures and on business cards. Thurman also advises organizations to invite guest bloggers since they will invite their network and increase your blog traffic.
Effective blogging can move an organization's supporters to action, a point Schilling spoke to. The success of Project Hope Art's blog has come from understanding what their audience wants and how to move them to action.
Project Hope Art engages its supporters to raise funds to help children affected by the earthquake that devastated Haiti. It employs volunteer artists who use the arts as a tool for healing. The blog documents these art projects with photos and some text to provide context. The team behind Project Hope Art believes that photos of the children impacted by their art projects move supporters to act.
Developing content that your audience will want is easier if you look at your blog as a curation tool, according to Coley. Blogs can — and should — incorporate a mix of text, audio, video, and photos. Looking to other people and channels gives you an idea of what others are talking about and lets you comment on it.
Ideas for content can be sourced from staff, supporters, other blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and listservs. Organizations should also consider repurposing emails, newsletter content, press releases, or sections of grant reports. Blog posts that reference other sources should include proper attribution via links back to the original source.
Successful blogging can be accomplished even by small organizations such as Dilday's. With its staff of four, SPSFNA developed a blog to connect with its community. SPSFNA's blog is mission-driven, highlighting its students' success stories.
SPSFNA rotates writing responsibilities among all of its staff members using Outlook reminders to keep everyone on task. Content is driven by each staff member's area of expertise. The organization gauges what's working on their blog by tracking feedback, volunteer numbers, attendance at events, and inquiries for collaboration from potential sponsors and partners.
Dilday recommends blogging to position your organization as an expert in its field, add value to clients and donors, and issue calls to action.
The blogging experts shared more advice and answered audience questions following their presentations. These tips, and the entire episode, can be viewed on the Nonprofits Live page on the TechSoup website.
Susan ChavezOnline Community & Social Media Team, TechSoup Global@Susan_Chavez
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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