blogs, presentations

Strategic Blogging for Nonprofits

14 Comments 04 September 2009

I met with a client this week who told me that she is having trouble focusing on topics for their nonprofit blog. She asked me “what should I be blogging about?” She is a former marketing writer, and in her own words “can write about anything,” but isn’t sure whether her nonprofit’s blog posts are relevant.

I asked her three simple questions:

1. Who is your audience?

2. Why are they coming to your blog?

3. What do you want them to do?

Inspired by this exchange, I created a small presentation embedded here entitled: Blogging IS a Strategy. Blogging should be relevant, targeted and strategic for your organization, and should move your organization closer towards meeting its goals. It should be written for your stakeholders, but also provide relevant information that attracts new fans. I’ve put some of these ideas into this short presentation – but I’d love yours as well. How can blogging be more strategic?

I’d love to hear your ideas.

Update: Frank Barry wrote a very informative, comprehensive guide to nonprofit blogging entitled, “Nonprofit Blogging: Goals, Strategy and Tactics to Crush It.” It covers the basic questions one should consider when writing a nonprofit blog, but also offers practical examples, tips and resources.

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  • Debra,

    I love how you put everything together. I love the quote ‘Blogging is a tool, not an idea’. Truth is we should be thinking about: what message I tend to send out? Only after that, I think about how to present the idea through blogging.

    Planning is essential in strategic blogging. Otherwise no matter how talented we can write or present ourselves, our blogs will reach no one, achieve nothing and do no good. Whenever I’m writing a subject, I tend to think about what would people get from the post? awareness or an action?

    As a reader, I always inspired by the individuals’ stories in the charity network. Their real life stories can easily touch people. Incorporate blogging with other social media sites can really get the message across, beneficial for the organization’s branding & trustworthiness. Get some help from same-niche & powerful bloggers to support the act. Cooperation will bring in encouraging results sometimes.

    Just a few thoughts after reading the post. Very nice, stumbled!

    @wchingya
    Social/Blogging Tracker

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Hi Ching – thanks for the thoughts. I agree that storytelling is an important way to convey nonprofit messages, and blogging can be a great medium for that. Your comment also nicely extends this blog post into thinking about how to leverage blog posts to get the most mileage for each message – by incorporating blogging into other social media sites and getting help from same-niche and powerful bloggers. Think you just inspired another blog post!

    [Reply]

  • Debra,

    I love how you put everything together. I love the quote ‘Blogging is a tool, not an idea’. Truth is we should be thinking about: what message I tend to send out? Only after that, I think about how to present the idea through blogging.

    Planning is essential in strategic blogging. Otherwise no matter how talented we can write or present ourselves, our blogs will reach no one, achieve nothing and do no good. Whenever I’m writing a subject, I tend to think about what would people get from the post? awareness or an action?

    As a reader, I always inspired by the individuals’ stories in the charity network. Their real life stories can easily touch people. Incorporate blogging with other social media sites can really get the message across, beneficial for the organization’s branding & trustworthiness. Get some help from same-niche & powerful bloggers to support the act. Cooperation will bring in encouraging results sometimes.

    Just a few thoughts after reading the post. Very nice, stumbled!

    @wchingya
    Social/Blogging Tracker

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Hi Ching – thanks for the thoughts. I agree that storytelling is an important way to convey nonprofit messages, and blogging can be a great medium for that. Your comment also nicely extends this blog post into thinking about how to leverage blog posts to get the most mileage for each message – by incorporating blogging into other social media sites and getting help from same-niche and powerful bloggers. Think you just inspired another blog post!

    [Reply]

  • Hey Debra! Same page for sure.

    I think that presentation will help a lot of folks think about what they need to think about. =) Over time if you add more and more examples of what people are doing I think it will really be a very useful tool for nonprofits.

    I’d really love to see an example of a small or niche nonprofit really succeeding with their blogging strategy. I’m sure there are many out there, but I’ve not spent the time to find any yet.

    Just in case you readers have an extra moment …

    Nonprofit Blogging Goals, Strategy & Tactics to Crush it – http://bit.ly/SUNMv

    http://twitter.com/franswaa

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Frank – I like the idea of creating a “bank” of sorts that includes examples and even possibly case studies of smaller or niche nonprofits really succeeding with blogging. Your post on Nonprofit Blogging Goals, Strategy & Tactics to Crush It is a wonderful resource, and I’m updating this post to mention it (with link) in the body of the post. Thanks for pointing me to it!

    [Reply]

  • Hey Debra! Same page for sure.

    I think that presentation will help a lot of folks think about what they need to think about. =) Over time if you add more and more examples of what people are doing I think it will really be a very useful tool for nonprofits.

    I’d really love to see an example of a small or niche nonprofit really succeeding with their blogging strategy. I’m sure there are many out there, but I’ve not spent the time to find any yet.

    Just in case you readers have an extra moment …

    Nonprofit Blogging Goals, Strategy & Tactics to Crush it – http://bit.ly/SUNMv

    http://twitter.com/franswaa

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Frank – I like the idea of creating a “bank” of sorts that includes examples and even possibly case studies of smaller or niche nonprofits really succeeding with blogging. Your post on Nonprofit Blogging Goals, Strategy & Tactics to Crush It is a wonderful resource, and I’m updating this post to mention it (with link) in the body of the post. Thanks for pointing me to it!

    [Reply]

  • Hello there, Debra.

    I think the best part of this post and presentation are actually our three simple questions. And that’s the case because (for once!) there are simple answers!

    Those are exactly the questions we asked during our staff meeting when IssueLab decided to start a blog. In our small but nimble team of 4, we each have separate areas of work (and thus expertise) and could easily answer those three questions for ourselves. Effectively, each of us has their own “conceptual backpack.” This means that I would write about nonprofit communications and marketing, and reach peers. Our collections assistant would write research reviews and reflections on nonprofit research, and reach an audience of practitioners – and so on.

    So, our blog is actually four different voices reaching four specific audience sets. We each write according to what we’d like our readers to do.

    This short meeting with these simple questions also still helps us today. When we want to tackle an issue or new method, we revert back to our “conceptual backpacks” and see if they align with our goals.

    Onwards!
    Luise
    @luisemarie

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Great comments, @luisemarie! Yes – if you are “group blogging” then you have to think about the common goals/strategies of the company and how your individual perspectives and expertise would feed into those. I like what you’ve written here – and look forward to reading your blog as well!

    [Reply]

  • Hello there, Debra.

    I think the best part of this post and presentation are actually our three simple questions. And that’s the case because (for once!) there are simple answers!

    Those are exactly the questions we asked during our staff meeting when IssueLab decided to start a blog. In our small but nimble team of 4, we each have separate areas of work (and thus expertise) and could easily answer those three questions for ourselves. Effectively, each of us has their own “conceptual backpack.” This means that I would write about nonprofit communications and marketing, and reach peers. Our collections assistant would write research reviews and reflections on nonprofit research, and reach an audience of practitioners – and so on.

    So, our blog is actually four different voices reaching four specific audience sets. We each write according to what we’d like our readers to do.

    This short meeting with these simple questions also still helps us today. When we want to tackle an issue or new method, we revert back to our “conceptual backpacks” and see if they align with our goals.

    Onwards!
    Luise
    @luisemarie

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Great comments, @luisemarie! Yes – if you are “group blogging” then you have to think about the common goals/strategies of the company and how your individual perspectives and expertise would feed into those. I like what you’ve written here – and look forward to reading your blog as well!

    [Reply]

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About

Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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