Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Blogging Plan for Nonprofits

I love blogging. In fact I love it so much that I blog at three blogs. I jump head over heels when someone else mentions my blog and when it is someone like Beth Kanter or John Haydon - I feel like doing cartwheels for joy. I think that more nonprofits should blog and I encourage blogging in my social media workshops. I even have my “Easy Approach to Successful Nonprofit Blogging” that causes people to pause and say “We can do that!” If only more actually would!

It is important to start with defining your goals for the blog and then using that for your guide. Blogs should be about building a relationship with your constituencies and that should definitely be one of your goals. Blogging is excellent for developing advocacy and providing education. Fundraising can be a by-product but should not be a primary goal of blogging.
Some blogs are effective because they have a laser focus and stick to the topic.  Some blogs are effective because they cover a lot of ground and feature variety.  This dish of cupcakes does both.  It can be done if you think about it.

Here is my formula for starting a nonprofit blog:

Once a month: Executive Director writes about national trends and issues related to mission of the organization

Once a month: Program Director writes about programs – whether it be an event, an award, or just everyday happenings.

Once a month: Development Director writes about something relating to fundraising – an event, results, a campaign, planned giving….whatever…but only once a month.

Every Wednesday: Participate in Wordless Wednesday – blog favorite with the “mommy bloggers - and post a picture every Wednesday. Include a short caption – no need for an article.

This approach does require an editor who reminds people and perhaps makes suggestions to keep the blog on track and not miss the rotation. The editor can be one of the contributors but does not have to be. If you can establish this rhythm, your blog may just grow from here and be filled out more frequently. You don’t want to have occasional only entries or it will just be ignored.

You also don’t have to re-invent the wheel to have something unique and special happening at your blog. One of my favorite nonprofit blogs is by the New Jersey based Geraldine Dodge Foundation. They are a major supporter of the arts and their annual Poetry Festivals now held in a major venue at the NJPAC in Newark, NJ are well known nationally. The Dodge Foundation blog features video, audio and pictorial clips from its archives on Friday. I am sure that there are many people who visit the blog every Friday for this feature. This ingenious blog approach quietly promotes the poetry festival all year long and works to develop a relationship with its readers.

Building relationships – keep that focus – and before you know it blog idieas will pour forth.

This blog article was inspired by Emily Weinberg who publishes one of my favorite nonprofit blogs – the Nonprofit Blog Exchange  and posted this question in NTEN’s Nonprofit Blogging Community of Practice:

It seems like one of the biggest challenges nonprofits have with blogging is coming up with content to write about. I'd like to start a discussion about this topic.

What type of content do you write about on your organization's blog? What type of content can nonprofits write about?

Thanks, Emily!

Oh and by the way - where else I blog:

Nonprofit Capacity Building at