blogs, engagement

Creating Blog Conversations

2 Comments 06 March 2009

image by FelipeArte

image by FelipeArte

I recently wrote about methods for measuring “Blog Conversations” on your blog.  Blog conversations are the dialogue between an author and his/her readers, or between readers themselves on a blog. For any organization, direct conversations with stakeholders reading a blog have important benefits across all sectors: programming, efficiency, fundraising, program delivery, volunteer activity, organizing, and management.

For the non-profit organizational blog, engaging stakeholders is the goal.  Your organization is not just its name, but a real company with real people who engage in the blogosphere, and want to be involved in every part of the organization. Give them that opportunity.

Here are some of the types of blog posts that could increase the level of blog conversation on your non-profit blog. These are just a the starting point; I’d love to hear about other ideas that could increase the level of “blog conversation!”

  • Use the blogging platform to crowdsource new ideas. Float ideas and listen to how they are received. Use the reader feedback to tweak your ideas for new programming, organizational change, program delivery, organizing campaigns, and almost any other organizational decision where involving stakeholders means that your decisions will be better received.
  • Involving donors in the blog conversation brings in the money.  Why not ask your donors why they donate and what would make them want to donate more in a blog post? You will certainly bring them into conversation on the blog, and guess what…people they know might read it as well.
  • Ask small and big donors to guest post about why they donate. Ask them to ask their friends to read it.
  • Review activities and ask for feedback. Did your organization just hold an annual meeting? Did participants just complete a big training program? Did you hold a clean-up day in the neighborhood? Have you just completed a large fundraising campaign? How was that last speaker series received? Any type of initiative that your organization has completed should elicit feedback. Send the blog link to the participants and ask for their feedback. One upside is stakeholder involvement: their opinions are valued by your organization and they are more likely to continue their involvement. The second upside is that you can respond to the concerns of your stakeholders. The last is obvious: feedback improves activities!
  • Use the blog as a call to action. Once you’ve got an active and involved readership, you can ask them to act. Ask for a needed donation and blog about whether or not the post readers moved to donate.  For this strategy to work, though, your organization needs both people who read the blog and people who actively comment on the blog.  Many organizations post calls to action. But are the readers involved enough to move from their chair, pick up the phone, and call? Or look at another website? Creating posts that involve readers will lead to an increasingly involved membership overall…who will act when called upon. Blog conversations bring in new volunteers. They demonstrate that your organization is active, committed, and open. Volunteers want to participate, be recognized and become involved in an organization that includes their voices.

Non-profits need to change the relatively static, or “passive” non-profit blog into an active, participatory medium. I have seen too many blogs where the organization just posts its activities and nothing else. If that is the case, why not save time and effort and just send out an e-mail update?

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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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