Advancement teams have hugely embraced social media tools, including “micro-blogging” sites like Tumblr and Twitter. However, traditional blogging is still one of the most important tools in an advancement communications arsenal.
Larger nonprofits have been early adopters of blogging, seeing the benefits in increased website traffic, email sign ups and online donations.
A high quality blog has been proven to have a direct benefit on marketing and fundraising efforts – so why do so many small nonprofits and advancement teams ignore this powerful tool?
Here are my top 7 tips on starting a blog for your constituents.
1. Write down 3-4 goals for your alumni blog.
As with any marketing strategy, you need a measurable goal to determine success. Remember that blogging is not a strategy – it’s a tool.
You need to know where you are going/want to go.
2. Get buy in from your alumni board and staff.
You can’t do this alone. Hold a staff meeting and a Board meeting to announce that you are going to start a blog and that ideas for posts are welcome.
Get everyone excited and figure out ways that they can contribute – either with ideas, help writing and editing or by creating visuals and photos to use with the blog posts.
3. Start gathering ideas for the blog.
Determine who is going to write the posts and how often. (Once per week to start is great.)
Create an Editorial Calendar and a folder of Blog Ideas. Keep these either in Google Calendar or in a document in Dropbox that can be accessed in multiple places.
When creating blog posts, remember that every organization, no matter how small and strapped for resources, has great stories to tell.
4. Choose a blogging platform.
Talk to your webmaster – what will integrate with your current website?
If starting completely from scratch, my recommendation is WordPress. For a great primer on WordPress, read How to Setup a WordPress Blog in 5 Minutes by Jeff Bullas. Advancement offices like MIT have used WordPress to communicate with their constituents with success.
5. Get writing.
Spend some time and dedicate some resources to creating content that is well-written, original, compelling, timely, relevant and interesting.
Quality over quantity always!
To quote Rich Brooks, “You can’t beat the Internet on volume, but you can beat it on quality, clarity and perspective.”
6. Don’t forget to actively promote your blog posts.
Let your email list know. Put your blog URL in your email signature, on business cards and all print materials.
Promote your blog through your social networks. Create a Promotions Checklist to refer to each time a blog post is published.
7. Learn from successful bloggers who blog about blogging.
(Say the above 10 times fast.)
In conclusion – start small and stay consistent. Blogging is a marathon – not a sprint.
You don’t need to have 500,000 subscribers to have a great blog. You just need to tell your story and authentically connect with your audience.
PS: On November 5, tomorrow, I will be presenting a FREE webinar with Nonprofit Webinars on the topic of Nonprofit Blogging Best Practices: Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Blog and How to Create a Great One. I hope that you can join!
This post is by Julia Campbell. After 10 years in the nonprofit sector as a development director and marketing coordinator, Julia founded J Campbell Social Marketing, a boutique digital marketing agency based in Beverly, MA.