September 21, 2017
 
Blogging Promotes Engagement and Inspires Generosity

Many nonprofits might ask why they should add a blog to their website. After all, isn’t having a website enough of a web presence?

But there’s a big difference between having a blog and having a website. Website pages provide information, but they don’t allow for an exchange to take place – they broadcast rather than engage. People in the digital age are expecting both information and a way to become engaged with an organization, which is why writing a blog in addition to having a website is becoming an essential marketing tool for nonprofits.

Content Is First

The first aspect of engagement is content. Good quality blog content can go a long way toward capturing interest and earning loyalty for a nonprofit organization. A blog offers an opportunity to share information and ideas, while at the same time helping you to better connect with your supporters, new members, donors, board members, etc.

A blog can also help you broaden your exposure as well as enhance search engine optimization (SEO). Blogs are great for search engines such as Google. Search engines will stay interested in a blog if there’s a frequently refreshed flow of timely content. In the eyes of a search engine, if a site is updated often, it’s at least fresh. If it’s easy for search engines to find you, they will increase traffic and improve your blog’s perceived authority. That traffic will, in turn, help your search display ranking. It’s a synergistic relationship.

What’s more, if your blog becomes popular, and its content earns respect in the community, this will naturally promote your cause further as readers forward links to one another and other bloggers mention your content and link back to it. The more nonprofits can get their names out there, the better, so it’s important to make sure your blog content is as shareable as possible. Provide an infrastructure in the “back end” to allow for easy linking and sharing. ( The National Wildlife Federation’s blog is a good example of how blogging can be used as a way to drive traffic to a website.)

Since they are easily updated more frequently than static web pages, blogs also give board members a great place to go to stay current with all that’s happening. It also gives them a clear picture of your mission and exactly how it’s being carried out. Additionally, it gives them a place to refer people to so they can see for themselves how great your nonprofit is.

With relevant, useful content you can increase donor conversion rates. Simply having a website and giving donors a way to support you online isn’t necessarily going to inspire generosity. People need a little convincing sometimes; so writing persuasive (but not blatantly self-promotional or manipulative) blog content is the perfect way to do just that.

For a good example of how a blog can be used to provide resources and information to constituents, visit the AARP’s blog. There, they provide an online resource for a plethora of issues related to aging and retirement such as health, social security, and travel. But blogs are also an alternate way to reach potential donors. While they’re not a good replacement for paper newsletters or e-newsletters, they can compliment those marketing strategies and provide you with an additional way to reach your audience—blogs can be part of a holistic approach to marketing.

Feedback Is the Second Key Aspect of Engagement

Feedback allows you develop and strengthen relationships through interacting with readers and gaining insight into their constituency. You can learn a lot about how your organization is perceived by the public and use it to help guide, enhance, or even re-focus your mission.

Accepting and encouraging comments allows your blog readers to do some brainstorming for you: blogs are great for hashing out resources and information from constituents as well. Imagine how giving a place for your constituents to share their thoughts, knowledge, and experiences can help guide your nonprofit’s efforts and truly engage those you’re working to help!

An active comment stream has other benefits, too: as pointed out earlier, search engines love fresh content. That content also includes the comments! So just because you have an article that’s a year old, as long as there is an active comment section, the search engine considers it new. Not to mention the effect that fresh comments has on the actual, human reader.

With content and feedback you are well on your way to true engagement. As a nonprofit, your relationships and stature in your community are a reflection of what you’ve earned through participation. Blogs are a great way to create these relationships with all stakeholders – from donors and volunteers to constituents and the community at large.

This article is adapted from an article published in Advice from the Pros, a newsletter produced by Braver in Needham. For more, click here.
July 2012

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