Can your nonprofit organization benefit from blogging? Yes, it can. There are many benefits of blogging, which have potential for virtually any nonprofit organization.
But this doesn’t automatically mean that now is the right time for your nonprofit to start a blog. The right time to start a blog depends on your context, your tech, your capacity and your priorities – as I’ll explain in this post.
Here are six reasons why you should NOT start a nonprofit blog
1. You haven’t considered how a blog will support your organization’s strategic priorities.
Like any communication tactic, a blog has to make sense for your organization and should support your existing strategic priorities. For example, if increasing participation in programs is a current priority for your nonprofit, a blogging goal might be to showcase and generate interest in/inquiries about your programs.
Before you begin, you need to know how a blog will support the achievement of your organization’s short- and long-term goals. If this isn’t obvious, or you can’t figure it out with a little research and reflection, it’s not the right time to start a blog.
Start a blog when: you can clearly define your blog’s purpose and goals.
2. A blog is not the right channel to effectively reach your audience
With the internet being a primary source of information for many of us, it’s easy to assume that any audience is searching for information online – making a blog a no-brainer. But of course, your audience could be an the exception. Or they might seek out information online, but it’s not their preferred way of getting information about your cause in particular.
Have you carefully considered whether a regular publication in the form of a blog will appeal to your priority audience? Create a marketing persona of your ideal reader: what does it reveal?
Something else you need to know about your audience: what you’re going to ask them to do once they become blog readers. What actions will you ask them to take and how will you measure success?
Start a blog if: it’s the right way to reach your priority audience – and you know what actions you want them to take.
3. You have shamefully neglected your core website content
One of the benefits of blogging is attracting the right people to your website. People who are searching for information on the topics you feature will visit your blog and hopefully, some of them will click through to your main website. So how is your digital home base looking? When did you last review or update your core website content?
Half of the respondents to the Good Works 2014 State of the Web Nation Survey, said they are embarrassed by their charity’s website. Are you embarrassed? If the answer is yes, then stop. Don’t start that blog just yet. If you don’t have the time to maintain your core website content, how will you commit to producing fresh new blog copy on an ongoing basis?
Start a blog when: your core website content is in good shape.
4. Your website isn’t optimized to handle your organization’s critical calls-to-action
Related to my previous point, how are you feeling about your website’s functionality? Specifically, are you ready to ask blog readers to take action? To take steps toward supporting your organization or cause? If a reader felt inspired to volunteer, register for an event, make a donation or subscribe to your email updates, will they be able to? How easy or difficult would that be for them?
Start a blog when: your website functionality allow visitors to easily take the actions you want them to take.
5. You have zero internal support for blogging
Blogging is going to be incredibly difficult if you take it on despite a lack of internal support. Going it alone will be an uphill battle. You need:
- The support and enthusiasm of your peers and leadership
- Fellow contributors
- Clarity and support when it comes to editorial control/sign off
- Investment of time and money in skill development
- A budget for tools and software
…among other things. When you’re clear about your blog’s purpose and how it supports existing organizational priorities, these will all come more easily.
Start a blog when: you have internal buy-in for blogging.
6. You haven’t carefully considered the time and resources involved
A critical reason to hold off on starting a blog has to do with the time commitment. While I believe that virtually any nonprofit could potentially benefit from having a blog, the payoff might not yet be enough for the time required.
Have you considered the time and roles required for blogging tasks like writing, editing, managing contributors, image search and creation, promotion, etc.? Start your blog with eyes wide open because the commitment you’ll be making is significant. If you don’t allocate enough time, your blog will sputter to a halt.
What are your other priorities? What other tactics are working well for you? Is this an appropriate time to invest or divert time and energy into blogging? Don’t let blogging be an excuse for avoiding other effective but less new-and-exciting things that have been proven to work for your organization.
Start a blog when: you can (and should) allocate the time required to make it a success.
What’s the verdict? Should your nonprofit start a blog?
Should your nonprofit organization have a blog? I don’t know – should it? You tell me. Did any of the points above apply to you? Should you move forward with enthusiasm or put the brakes on starting that new blog for now?
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? And what did I miss? What else do you need to have in place to set yourself up for success?
If you are ready to start a blog, have fun with it! And if you need my help, check out my online course and step-by-step system for blog planning, Start a Better Nonprofit Blog.