Why your non-profit agency should be blogging

Non-profit blogging: What’s In It For Me?

By Rose Reinert
Guest blogger

rose1Last 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:

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?”)

blogWIIFM?—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:

  1. appreciating and expressing gratitude to donors
  2. showing donors that you are using their investments how you said you would during the solicitation visit
  3. 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.

Does your organization currently use blogging? If so, who is the target audience? Share your ideas for blogging for your organization. Do you think blogging is worth your investment of time?
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Pre-blog technology might be helpful to your agency's fundraising program

Internet forums: A valuable fundraising resource

By Rose Reinert
Guest blogger
rose1Several weeks ago, when I started this blog series, we discussed the idea of opening the lines of communication with donors through social media outlets. In this week’s post, I dive into chapter five of Lon Safko’s “The Social Media Bible” where he talks about a tool that I see as potentially valuable to enhancing your relationship with your donors.
Internet forums were first seen in the 1970s through private Usenet and were seen publicly in 1995. The forum was the precursor to the blog. Since that time, these forums have built strong community ties, loyalty and trust. They are basically online communities that engage people around various topics.
If you are new to forums, you can do what I did . . . explore and click! The book suggested visiting and joining a site called Yuku, which houses a wide variety of forums. As I began to poke around, it was a little bit overwhelming to see the number of options for communities. However, once I sorted through it a bit, I took the first big step by commenting and soon I was part of the community!
Despite this exhilarating experience, the question remains:

What do community forums have to do with donors or your nonprofit?

First, let’s tackle the question of donors.
internet forumsThere are several benefits to engaging your donors in an on-line forum:

  • Donors can feel more engaged, as well as special for being a part of a community
  • You can utilize a forum to give updates on services, strategies or changes
  • You can also utilize a forum to gather feedback from donors

Second, let’s look at how forums can strengthen your non-profit’s resource development program. I found some awesome and unique communities that offer additional resources that you will definitely want to check out.

Giving Library

The Giving Library is a website that connects donors to non-profits through online video interviews. Donors can explore the online archive to locate, study, compare, and engage with hundreds of nonprofit organizations located across the country. The Giving Library also serves non-profits by enhancing donor access through a compelling medium, increasing overall visibility and providing an opportunity to learn about peer organizations. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation covers 100 percent of Giving Library costs for all non-profits selected to participate.

Donors Forum

Donors Forum is a resource for networking and education, information and knowledge, and leadership and advocacy on behalf of philanthropy and nonprofits in Illinois. This online resource provides information for both the donors and the non-profits with listings of workshops, trainings, publications, and best practices

Both of these forums are just two examples of online communities that work at engaging its audience. If you are new to the concept of online communities and forums, take a crash course and poke around at Yuku. Once you feel more comfortable consider hosting a forum or engaging your donors in two-way conversation.
I would love to hear more about your experiences with online forums and communities!
Has your organization every used an online forum to engage donors? What are some questions to pose to donors that could develop conversation? What have been challenges or downsides of this type of communication?rose draft sig