Non-profit blogging: What’s In It For Me?
By Rose Reinert
Last Monday, we explored chapter 5 of Lon Safko’s book “The Social Media Bible” and talked about how online forums might be helpful to your non-profit organization’s fundraising program. This week, we explore chapter 6 where Safko unpacks the history and power of blogs.
A little history
As we discovered last week, online forums or communities became public in the 1990’s. Using various online communities, people posted to bulletin board systems and forums. People started posting online diaries or journals that documented their personal activities to these sites, and they often included pictures and video. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, blogging began to move from personal diaries to include other topics.
If you are reading this- you can check “reading a blog” off your bucket list!
The very first guest blog that I posted on the DonorDreams platform addressed the key issue that all readers address every time they open an email, visit a website or visit a blog. Of course, it is the question of “What’s in it for me?” (aka WIIFM). What’s cool about today’s post is that we’re going to discuss WIIFM with regards to both reading a blog and writing a blog.
WIIFM? – Reading Blogs
We all know there is only so much time in the day, and while we work to fulfill our day-to-day job duties, it remains challenging to also fit in personal development and staying up-to-date on industry trends. Who has time for trainings and conferences?
There is an easier way!
I recommend hitting the web and taking a look at some blogs that speak to your profession.
Select a few that you can remain committed to reading. Subscribe to those blogs, and content will be delivered to your email inbox as frequently as the blogger publishes. Some bloggers write a monthly post, others do it weekly, and some (like our friend Erik Anderson at DonorDreams blog, try to post something every day).
My suggestion is to set aside about ten minutes into your schedule at the beginning of your day when you’re powering up your computer. Dedicate those 10 minutes to your professional development by reading a blog or two that you’ve subscribe to and speaks to your professional interests.
If you are not sure where to start you can ask colleagues about some of their favorites. Here is a short list of blogs that I suggest you check out:
- Joanne Fritz: about.com’s Nonprofit Charitable Orgs
- Dani Robbins: answers.com’s Nonprofit Pages
- Beth Kanter: Beth’s Blog — How Networked Nonprofits Leverage Networks and Data for Social Change
- The Agitator — Nonprofit Fundraising & Marketing Strategies, Trends, Tips with an Edge
- Jeff Brooks: Future Fundraising Now
- Lon Safko, Author, Speaker, Strategist, Futurist
For more suggestions, please check out the Blogroll section of the DonorDreams blog. If you have suggestions of other blogs to add to blogroll, please use the comment box to share your suggestion and Erik will add them to our online community. (Isn’t he always saying something like: “We can all learn from each other?”)
WIIFM?—Writing a Blog
This is the first time that I have ever blogged. I did one or two guest spots here on the DonorDreams blog platform, but this is the first ongoing guest spot that I have had.
The first several times that I sat down to write- I ended up:
- stopping and doing the dishes
- making a phone call to my mom
- writing a little . . . erasing it
- playing a game with my kids
- finally pushing through to finish
Much like anything, with practice, it becomes less intimidating and each time I sharpened that skill a little more.
Any time you enhance communication with your donors or supporters, you continue to build trust. Depending on how you structure your blog contents, a blog can:
- engage donors
- keep them updated on news
- align your organization with national trends or initiatives
- demonstrate how your organization is working to meet needs and solve problems.
If your agency is striving to become a donor-centered organization, your blog content should be focused on:
- appreciating and expressing gratitude to donors
- showing donors that you are using their investments how you said you would during the solicitation visit
- illustrating the impact that contributions are having on the lives of your clients and throughout the community
Blogging is a great way to show relevance within your industry. I believe that anytime you can differentiate your organization as an expert in a certain area, you build trust and accountability.
Are you thinking about starting a blog? If so, don’t just jump in and start blogging this afternoon. Ensure you are committed to the time it takes. Make sure your dedication to consistently blogging is a sustainable commitment. The worst thing to do is start with a bang and fizzle out.
So, now it’s your turn. I would love to hear more about your experience blogging. If you don’t blog, then please tell us the comment box to tell me about your favorite blogs.