When it comes to spreading awareness of your nonprofit’s mission, your website’s blog is one of the most powerful tools out there. A well-run blog allows you to tell your nonprofit’s story on your own terms and share updates on everything from new projects to upcoming events.
If your nonprofit’s website doesn’t already have a blog, you might be interested in starting one. To ensure your content is engaging and effective, you’ll need a clear purpose and strategy to guide the planning process. In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of nonprofit blogs and tips to get started to help determine whether you’re in the right place to launch your own.
Benefits of nonprofit blogs
Starting a blog for your nonprofit will likely require approval from leaders like your digital marketing lead. In addition, getting your blog up and running will require time and energy from your marketing team as a whole to create and promote content.
So, what makes this effort worth it? A blog offers a unique platform to tell long-form stories and send out real-time updates. Blogs also offer other benefits, such as allowing you to:
- Build an emotional connection with current supporters. Through your blog posts, you can tell emotionally evocative stories that showcase the impact of your work. For instance, you can interview individuals who have benefited from your nonprofit’s services or long-time volunteers with an emotional connection to your cause. This shows donors and volunteers exactly who their donations and time support.
- Promote brand awareness. Creating a blog can also help introduce your mission to potential new supporters. When current supporters interact with and share your blog posts, they spread your content to a wider audience. This can help you reach like-minded individuals who you might not have come into contact with using your other digital marketing strategies.
- Establish credibility. According to Kanopi’s roundup of the best nonprofit websites, the most effective blogs inform visitors about not only the organization’s news and updates, but also developments within the nonprofit’s cause area. When you use your blog to share credible, accurate information about your cause, you can build a reputation as a trustworthy, authoritative organization.
- Support your multichannel marketing efforts. You can share your blog content across digital marketing platforms, including your organization’s social media and email. You can also incorporate user-generated content from your social media platforms into your blog posts. This cross-platform promotion and content sharing can strengthen your storytelling efforts on both channels, making them more engaging for audience members.
A blog gives your supporters an authoritative resource to learn more about your organization and cause. Maintaining a well-written and updated blog helps build awareness of your mission and connect with digital audiences who may eventually become loyal, dedicated supporters.
Tips for starting a nonprofit blog
The first step to creating a nonprofit blog is to set up a blog section on your website. Popular nonprofit content management systems like Drupal and WordPress make it easy to establish one, and you can work with a web development agency to refine your blog to fit your nonprofit’s branding.
But beyond these basics, it’s important to have a clear content strategy for your posts. A content strategy ensures that your blog is easily accessible, updated, and engaging for online audiences. Follow these tips to start your nonprofit blog:
1. Set goals.
Setting goals gives your marketing team objectives to strive for when creating content. You shouldn’t create a blog just for the sake of it—your blog should act specifically as a tool to further your existing marketing efforts. Your goals should align with your nonprofit’s overall marketing strategy and supporter outreach efforts.
Here are a few examples of blogging goals you might set:
- Achieve 1,000 readers on a blog post within six months.
- Post at least three blog posts a month for a year.
- Earn at least 50 donations as a direct result of your blog posts. You can determine this by tracking how many donations result from clicking on a link to your online donation page within your post.
Also, assign blogging roles and responsibilities to team members, so everyone’s on the same page. Responsibilities will include interviewing, writing, editing, taking photos, creating infographics, and promoting your posts.
2. Establish your tone.
Your tone is a reflection of your brand’s personality. When it comes to blog writing, how you speak to your audience is just as important as what you say.
For example, you might describe your tone using any of the following terms:
- Warm and friendly
- Casual and conversational
- Formal and educational
- Witty and relaxed
Your tone will come into play when making decisions about word choice, whether you’ll incorporate humor into your writing, and how you’ll interact with supporters in the comments of your blog posts.
Make sure your blog’s tone aligns with your other digital platforms like your social media and email to promote a cohesive brand voice.
3. Gather compelling visuals.
Incorporating multimedia elements into your blog posts is critical for driving engagement. Including photos, videos, charts, and other visual elements makes your blog posts more engaging and interactive, increasing the likelihood that your audience will read them all the way through.
You can turn to your volunteers and staff members to help gather compelling visuals. Ask team members to send in any photos and videos they’ve taken at your events. Then, create a photo bank that you can draw from to include authentic imagery in your content.
NXUnite’s nonprofit graphic design guide includes plenty of examples of how you can use compelling images in graphic design, including digital brochures, educational infographics, and videos. Creating high-quality, original imagery will elevate each of these digital components, bringing more realism and authenticity to your blog.
4. Incorporate audience interaction.
In addition to engaging imagery, your blog posts should include additional interactive elements to capture audience members’ attention, increase the time they spend on the page, and give them a unique way to engage with your organization.
Incorporate additional audience interaction with these ideas:
- Include interactive content like polls and quizzes. For example, let’s say you’re planning your annual fundraising 5K. You might create a poll for audience members to vote on the theme of the event. This gives supporters the chance to provide input during the planning process.
- Ask audience members to send in photos and videos. To help gather more authentic images from your nonprofit’s events, ask blog readers to send in photos and videos or tag your organization in social media photos. For instance, you might ask audience members to send in photos of themselves participating in your recent volunteer day. Then, you can incorporate these images into future posts. Supporters will visit your blog to see if their pictures made it into your post.
- Include calls to action in your posts. Encourage blog readers to visit other areas of your nonprofit’s website by including calls to action (CTAs) in your posts. These CTAs can be links or buttons encouraging people to visit your online donation page, register using your volunteer sign-up page, or subscribe to your email newsletter.
One of the most important aspects of creating an engaging blog is ensuring your content is mobile-friendly. According to nonprofit fundraising statistics, about half of all nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile devices. Optimize your blog posts for mobile devices by compressing your images to promote fast load speeds and ensuring that your font is legible on mobile devices.
5. Develop a posting schedule.
Imagine you come across an intriguing nonprofit on your social media feed or during a Google search. You head to the organization’s website to check out its blog, only to find it hasn’t been updated since 2018. This gives the impression that the organization isn’t very active or digitally savvy.
Regular posting keeps your blog updated and fresh. Develop a reasonable posting schedule for your marketing team and assign tasks to cover each step of the content-creation process. Check in with your team regularly to ensure your posting schedule is feasible and that everyone’s staying on track.
6. Create a blog marketing strategy.
The last step in developing your blog posting strategy is to create a marketing plan to help build your organic audience. How will you get your content in front of both new and existing audience members? You have several options for promoting your blog, including:
- Search engine optimization (SEO). Optimizing your blog posts for search engines helps ensure that your content shows up when people search for relevant terms. To boost your SEO performance, incorporate relevant keywords into each post, divide your post into easily-digestible sections to promote readability, and compress images to improve load speed.
- Social media promotion. Use social media posts on sites like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to promote your latest blog content. Be sure to tag any individuals that you interviewed for your posts to remind them to share the content on their own pages.
- Email promotion. Include blog post snippets in your email newsletters to entice subscribers to read the full post on your website. Be sure to include an engaging image to capture subscribers’ attention.
One of the most foolproof ways to increase blog traffic is to simply create high-quality content. When your posts are educational and engaging, you’ll naturally appeal to website visitors and earn more readers.
After reviewing the benefits and best practices for creating a nonprofit blog, you might feel inspired to start your organization’s blog. With a clear content strategy and schedule, you can grow your audience organically and develop a reputation for creating valuable educational content.