Why is blogging important for nonprofits?
Nonprofits derive a lot of their influence from their ability to tell inspiring and powerful stories, which makes blogging one of the best ways to connect to their audiences.
Storytelling through your blog allows you to leverage real, human stories to connect with individuals reading about your mission. When done well, blogging can be one of the best ways to inspire people to support your organization and connect you to a broad audience of potential donors.
On top of this, its also a great way to substantiate your website. If you’re thinking about applying for a Google for Nonprofits account, which grants you access to $10,000 worth of search engine ad credit through the Google Ad Grant, starting a blog is a great way to help qualify. If you’d like to read more about the eligibility requirements for an account, check out our article here or find out more about Google for Nonprofits itself.
If you’re looking to start a blog or even to improve the one you already have, there are a few key rules which make some blogs stand out from the crowd. We’ve compiled these top five rules for nurturing the best nonprofit blog as well as a few key writing tips. We’ve also thrown in some great examples too for you to check out for yourself!
Five Golden Rules for Nonprofit Blogs
1. Provide crystal-clear information
A blog is one of the most authentic and compelling storytelling tools at your disposal, but it should also be a place to communicate valuable information. Your blog can be a great resource for visitors trying to figure who your organisation is and what it does, as well as useful facts and information about your charity.
By using your blog to keep track of your missions and campaigns, it can become a great way for people to tie their donations to the work you are doing. This way, people will be encouraged to give and then give again.
Keeping your blog updated and current is a must. By providing clear information on the nature and work of your charity, your blog can help you look trustworthy and honest online, which is essential to convincing people to donate, sign up and volunteer.
2. Tell powerful and moving stories
The most inspiring stories on any social media feed always connect the reader personally to the story being told. By zeroing in on the individuals behind your mission, organisation or inspiration, your blog has the potential to touch its readers deeply. Your organisation’s success stories will likely be some of the most compelling content available to you, so make sure they’re placed right and centre for both your blog and your website’s navigation in general.
Storytelling on a blog isn’t necessarily limited to text-based articles either – some of the most effective pieces out there are based around videos or photographs getting up close and personal with your work. Visual and video content in particular often lead to greater engagement rates, so make sure to utilise their capacity to personalise the message of your charity. Feel free to mix it up on your blog, but keep the focus on the most powerful and emotionally engaging stories your nonprofit has to offer.
3. Lay out the numbers
The easiest way to make your staff, volunteers and donors feel like they’re making a real difference is to prove it to them. Lay out the numbers, statistics and facts behind your work to show exactly how much of a difference you are making.
Explaining how a donation directly impacts the overall mission of your organisation is made much simpler by bringing it back to numbers. Not only does this provide inspiration for other readers looking to make a difference in the world, but it also encourages donors to come back and give again. The more obvious and solid you can make the impact of your nonprofit seem, the easier it will be to convince people to join up, donate and get inspired.
Take Ecosia, for example, a nonprofit search engine founded with the aim of planting trees. Ecosia makes sure you know exactly how much you have contributed to their cause by maintaining a small but noticeable tree count in the top right hand corner of your search engine’s home page.
On top of this, they have a counter for the total number of trees planted below the search bar at all times. By emphasising how much you have personally contributed to their cause by way of searching for things online, Ecosia encourage their users to keep going and recommend it to other people. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing how much you’ve contributed to the bigger picture.
4. Thank your recruits, volunteers and donors for their help
A blog is a great space to highlight the heroes of your organisation, spotlighting the individuals who have really made a difference and gone above and beyond for your mission. This is great for a couple of reasons – firstly, you’re thanking people for their hard work and time, which is always great, and secondly, you’re inspiring others to get involved by showing exactly how much of a difference one person can make.
There’s no quicker fix for a feel-good feeling than direct and meaningful thanks, so if you want your donors and recruits to give again, this is a great way to encourage them. We only have one rule for this practice: make sure its authentic each and every time!
5. Provide great content for your readers
If there’s one thing that will keep people coming back again and again to check out your blog, it’s interesting and relevant content. Keeping it punchy and fresh is a sure-fire recipe for success when it comes to content – although regularity is great, make sure to mix it up and offer a variety of inspirational and informative articles, images and posts. By keeping it fun and relatively short, your content can educate as well as entertain.
If you’re struggling for ideas, think about writing about one of your organisation’s success stories or inspirational individuals. If you’re just starting out, an outline of your mission statement or founding story can also be a great addition!
Your blog gives you the power to inspire, educate and entertain all in one place – take advantage of that!
Our Top Tips for Article Writing
It’s all in a title
Make sure your title is as eye-catching as possible without veering too far into clickbait – it should tell your audience exactly what the article, post or image is about in just a few words. Titles with certain formats tend to do particularly well, like guides, top tips, recommendations or how to’s.
Adding relevant keywords to your titles in order to boost your chances in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is also a must if you want to turn up on the first page of Google, so make sure to include them too. We’d also recommend double-checking the format of your title before the post goes live, just to make sure that it’s showing up in the search results properly without looking untidy or getting cut off.
Promote your content
There’s no use writing a great piece for your blog if it doesn’t go anywhere, so make sure you promote your blog and its individual articles on your social media platforms too! Social media is a great tool for getting new donors, volunteers and members involved, so make sure to punctuate your feeds with interesting and eye-catching content: it’s a win-win!
Promoting your content can be as simple as giving it a quick shout-out on Twitter, but we’d recommend integrating your blog content efforts more fully with your social media marketing. If you’d like to find out more about how to do this, check out this article on digital marketing for nonprofits.
You can never go wrong with a nice, punchy list
There’s nothing more enjoyable than a quick, entertaining read, so sticking to reliable formulas like lists, quizzes and step-by-step guides is a great way to provide interesting, punchy content on a regular basis.
If you’re feeling uninspired, it’s always a good idea to check out other blogs and websites offering content similar to yours, especially within the nonprofit sector! Whilst it probably not a great idea to nab content word-for-word, browsing what other people have out there is a great way to find content to put your own unique spin on.
Use whitespace generously
There’s probably nothing more off-putting than huge paragraphs of dense text, so break up your content as much as possible. Keeping paragraphs on the shorter side is a great way to do this. Establishing decent sized margins both below and either side of your writing is also a must.
Above all, use headings and subheadings to break up your text into digestible chunks – not only does this avoid giving people a headache when they look at your content, but it also lets them skip to the part they’re most interested in and prevents them from immediately clicking away.
Use royalty-free images
Adding images to your blog posts is a great way to make them eye-catching. If you were to come across a blog post without any pictures, it’s a pretty sure bet that you’d click away immediately, so make sure to pepper your content with interesting and engaging images.
That being said, it’s important to make sure the images you use aren’t subject to any copyright or royalty laws, so if you can’t find a good image for your article, there are some really good royalty-free databases out there for you to mine for great pictures. Our personal favourites are Pexels and Unsplash.
Sacrifice professionalism for a little fun sometimes
When people write professional content, their first instinct is often to sound as formal and authoritative as possible, but we would advise against this on your blog! This helps to integrate your blog with your other social media channels, which should also be approached with an informative but relaxed tone. By making yourself sound relatable and approachable, you’re much more likely to draw your viewers and readers in.
Especially when you’re writing for an audience already familiar with your organisation, sounding a little more relaxed is a great way to educate and entertain your readers at the same time. For a blog that is fun as well as informative, try to avoid sounding too stiff or stilted.
Reduce, reuse, recycle!
Running a full-time blog can take a lot of time and effort, so wherever possible you should try to reuse or recycle your content. This can be as simple as saving up all your hard work and research for every piece to see if it can be used again for an offshoot topic, or simply repurposing some of your content for a different platform when you can.
Guest blogging is your friend
If you’re looking for a little more exposure or even just a way to mix things up a little, guest blogging is a great way to get someone else with a different expertise, story or style involved in you blog. Although it can be a little intimidating approaching someone to ask if they’d like to write a piece for your blog, it’s definitely worth the effort, particularly if you’ve already seen some of their amazing work. You could also ask donors or volunteers to contribute, so you’ll never be short of options.
If that doesn’t sound like something you’d like to do, you can also guest blog on someone else’s platform. Writing for another charity, nonprofit or organisation is a great way to increase your online visibility and gain some publicity, particularly if you can link back to your own blog or your charity’s social media channels. This is definitely an option worth exploring when you’re just starting out, so keep it in mind!
Avoid overusing the passive voice
The passive voice can be pretty tricky to put your finger on, but if it gets out of control it ends up making all of your writing sound flat and uninspiring. Simply put, the passive voice is when a sentence has a subject which undergoes an action rather than a subject undertaking the action themselves.
A good example is this: “Napa Valley is known for its excellent wines.” If written in the active voice, this would be something like: “Many people know Napa Valley for its excellent wines.” In the second sentence, someone is doing the knowing, whilst in the first Napa Valley is just known by no one specific.
The easiest way to avoid this is to keep specifying who is doing what in your writing, so make sure to stay on top of this! It’s also a good idea to frequently refer to the reader as “you”. This way, readers feel involved in what is being written about and are more likely to take interest or action based on what you’re saying.
Three Brilliant Examples
If you’re looking for some great nonprofit blogs to inspire you, we’ve got you covered. Here are three of our favourite nonprofit blogs, which each offer something unique and different from the rest:
The reach and breadth of this blog really says it all – HuffPost Impact covers so much that it is near impossible not to be impressed. By educating and informing its readers, HuffPost Impact offers content with punchy force without forgetting to mix it up with lighter articles every once in a while.
2. Beth’s Blog
There’s nothing like the personal touch when it comes to inspiring people within the nonprofit sector, something which Beth definitely proves. Beth’s Blog is a great example of making your mission truly inspirational by personalising your dreams and achievements.
The JustGiving Blog is a great resource for nonprofits trying to improve their website, fundraisers and methods in general. Their blog is a great example of how useful, informational content can be presented in relatively short and simple ways, making it much easier to read and understand. Make sure to check out the case studies, insights and tips they offer!
How can Twenti help?
Blogging is one of the best tools at a nonprofits disposal, so getting started or improving what you already have is a great way to encourage and educate your audience. On top of this, having substantial content on your website is one of the biggest qualifying factors behind an application to the Google Ad Grant’s $10,000 worth of ad credit.
Twenti can help in a variety of ways – our experts combine digital marketing, SEO techniques and content creation in an effort to continually improve your online presence. We also offer eligibility checks to figure out what you might need to change in order to qualify for the Google Ad Grant, so if you’d like to get feedback on your online presence or blog as it is, get a free eligibility test today!
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