As a nonprofit communicator, you pour your heart and soul into press releases, stay up late scheduling tweets, and work tirelessly to rush your newsletter to the printer on time.
You run fast and furious to get it all done as you scale mountains of deadlines. But admit it.
You know your marketing could do more.
Despite all your work to change the world, the same questions keep gnawing at you:
- We keep mailing a newsletter, but how does this publication drive our mission?
- We get a lot of media coverage, so shouldn't more people support us?
- We have 28,000 Facebook likes—why don't these followers donate?
Maybe there's an easier tool for promoting your non-profit… like a blog.
Don't think you need a blog? You're not alone, as many nonprofits put blogging way down on their priority list, and only 47% of nonprofits use a blog as a marketing platform. Yet a blog is a tremendously effective marketing tool.
Let's review five good reasons why your nonprofit needs to get blogging.
1. You can have cozy conversations instead of shouting matches
Like most nonprofits, you're probably grooving on social media. But these days, it's easy to get lost in the noise.
Although social platforms have value, they aren't the snug supper clubs they were. Now, they're loud bars where you have to shout over the cat memes. And with pay-to-play models, all that shouting can get expensive.
With a blog, you don't have to shout for attention once you've built a readership. You can focus dialog through your blog's comments section, which is designed for give-and-take conversations instead of a like-and-comment free-for-all. And all this without a newsfeed to distract your donors.
2. You can stop scrounging for press coverage that never gives you feedback
In my old job as a communications coordinator at a neuroscience institute, I wrote a few press releases a month. I know how much work it takes to check facts, get approvals, and then beg a journalist to cover each story. That's a lot of heavy lifting for hard-to-measure ROI.
Did readers make it to page 10 to learn about your community program? Did the article inspire them to check out your microsite on healthy food? You just don't know.
When you blog, you are the journalist. You can funnel that press-release effort into posts, which you then can track with analytics.
Heat maps also show what attracts eyeballs, and you can adjust the copy to make a bigger impact the next time.
Even if your blog has a small readership, those few but dedicated followers who get your message are better than a mass media audience who tunes you out with the noise.
3. You can produce content that attracts donors forever
Although people aren't inundated with as much snail mail, your paper missives will still likely end up in the recycling bin with barely a glance.
I don't know about you, but I've never seen newsletters exchanged over a coffee at Starbucks. For many people, if you can't email, post, or text the content, it may as well not exist.
Paper has a short shelf life, as this medium isn't very synonymous with shareability.
Here's where a blog pulls its weight: Your posts can be found forever on search engines and repeatedly promoted through multiple online channels.
As your blog content gains traction, donors can share posts again and again via social media to attract new donors to your cause.
Write a paper newsletter, and you must constantly create new content. But write a blog post once, and it lives on and on...
4. You can tell heartbreaking stories that inspire people to give
It's tempting to stick to Facebook and Twitter instead of driving donors to your blog. Churning out 140 characters at a time or uploading photos a few times a day can be addictively easy.
But do short posts really let you tell harrowing stories about how your initiative prevented a family from getting kicked out of their house? Or got a kid off the street? Or saved a child's life?
Without long-form content, how can you show donors that your organization is the solution to an urgent social problem?
Posting on Facebook and Twitter without having a blog is like giving people an Oreo cookie without the creamy filling. They might get a sugar rush, but they'll be unsatisfied.
Your blog is that gooey center. Social media is perfect for broadcasting snackable bites, but you need more space for a smorgasbord of in-depth stories that trigger emotions and get people reaching for their wallets.
5. You can create a donation magnet for Gen X and Gen Y
Are baby boomers your bread and butter? If so, you're leaving money on the table by not engaging younger demographics through a blog.
Gen X and Gen Y hang out on blogs, which are a serious part of their online conversations.
Though some non-profit consultants advise bumping Millennials to the non-priority list, this strategy is short-sighted. It's like saying you don't care about people until they have deep pockets.
Is that really the message you want to send future donors?
Millennials are by no means a homogenous group, but overall, they tend to see giving more as an emotional investment than an obligation.
Not to mention that Gen Xers and Yers represent 31% of total giving, and they donate time and elbow grease as volunteers.
So why not rev up your blog to fuel this investment for the future?
Get Blogging, Get to Changing the World
Marketing without a blog is like holding a wine tasting without the wine. Your blog is that hero ingredient that gets people raving about you.
You must have that key ingredient—that tasty, shareable and trackable ingredient—to drive your marketing efforts, especially if your organization doesn't grab headlines or hasn't won the ice-bucket viral lottery.
Building a blog full of engaging and shareable content can be a game changer. You'll strike an emotional chord. You'll create deeper relationships that amplify your marketing efforts. And you'll have a platform to boost donor numbers and donations.
If you're truly bent on changing the world, don't you owe it to the world to get blogging?