This article originally appeared on the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog.
Publishing a blog for your nonprofit requires the production of an ongoing stream of content for your readers. The volume of writing is often a considerable challenge, but if you are rich with post ideas, it’s much easier to keep going.
If your nonprofit has a blog and you struggle to come up with content, or you hesitate to start a blog for fear of this struggle, an excellent solution is to make a plan for what content typesyou’ll feature. The types of content you select for your organization will need to relate back to your blogging and overall communications goals, but the following list (with examples) will give you food for thought.
External cause-related news
Share external news that is relevant to your audience, adding commentary from the organization. Example: National Research Council’s new focus ignores how science works [David Suzuki Foundation]
Offer a step-by-step approach to accomplishing a task that is either fun or productive. The task should be relevant to your readers and relate to your cause and/or help readers to be a part of making a difference. Example: How to make seed balls[Evergreen Canada]
Profiles of individuals
Share the human face of your organization by sharing the personal perspectives and stories of donors, volunteers, employees, board members, program participants, funded researchers, etc. Example: Giving Back [Daily Bread Food Bank]
Organizational news and announcements
Share big announcements or press release-worthy news (campaigns, important hires and board changes, awards, research reports), modifying the actual release content to a blog-appropriate format and voice. Be sure to describe the impact of this news on your community or organization.Example: The Humanitarian Coalition Launches Joint Appeal for Syrian Refugees [Oxfam Canada]
Ask stakeholders to guest blog about their experiences with your organization; how a program affected them, what it feels like to support or volunteer for your nonprofit, a favourite event, etc. Example: Volunteering for Seniors and Learning Life Lessons by Jaspreet Bindra [Feeding America blog]
Reader questions answered
Regularly request questions from readers. Also, make a habit of culling questions that are posted in your blog comments, Facebook page and other forums. Answer them in a Q&A style interview post. [I know I’ve seen examples, but couldn’t locate one in time for this post – please share yours in the comments?]
Use your blog to issue a challenge related to your cause. Post at the launch of the challenge, with supportive tips and advice along the way, and at conclusion/wrap-up. Example: #OpheaPLAY – Week 1 – Top 5 [Ontario Physical and Health Education Association]
Curate a regular magazine-style round-up of relevant internal or external news/headlines to become a news source for your readers (weekly, monthly).Example: The Red Cross Round-up
Tap into your experts and leaders to create posts that explore your organization’s issue or cause. Use these posts to build momentum behind awareness or advocacy campaigns. Example: We can, must and should end the age of coal [Greenpeace International]
Help your readers to save time and money, make decisions and cut through the clutter by providing reviews of relevant books, products or research studies.Example: When imagination fails [Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital]
Who doesn’t love a handy list (like the one you’re reading)? What lists of resources, ideas or links will be useful to your audience? Example: 5 ways to support Second Harvest over the holidays
Case studies/success stories
Demonstrate the value of your organization in action through case studies. Program participants, sponsors or other corporate partners and funded agencies are just a few examples of cases to follow and relay from first contact with your organization to today. Example: Artist Trust Applies Lessons from the Nonprofit Technology Leadership Academy [Nonprofit Technology Network]
Share an occasional message from the executive director or board chair. Remember to keep the tone personal and not too formal and to keep the post as focused and topical as possible. Example: A Year in Review and the Road Ahead[Imagine Canada]
Collection of insights
Help your readers to develop a sense of community and belonging by sharing insights among peers. Put a call out for advice, experience, lessons learned or practical tips on a topic that resonates with those you serve. Compile those quotes with a little commentary. Example: See Lost in the Memory Palace through the eyes of a teenager [Art Gallery of Ontario]
Speak with a subject matter expert, a volunteer or a program participant and share the interview on your blog. This can be a written question and answer post, a video interview (as simple as a recorded Skype call or Google Hangout) or an audio recording. Example: Q&A with Rajiv Surendra, creative genius behind Because I am a Girl’s new look! [Plan]
‘From the field’ program updates
Communicate the impact of your work by sharing updates directly from those directly delivering programs. Make sure to blend data that demonstrate results with personal anecdotes and experiences. Example: Creating Change From Your Community to Theirs [Free the Children]
Remember to mix up your blog content to include various media. Many of the content types above can be delivered (reshaped or repurposed into) the following formats:
- Photos (great idea: photo contests!)
- Other storytelling/curation tools that can be embedded on your blog: Storify,ThingLink, List.ly, etc.
This list represents a number of options for content types – not specific topics. But having established the former makes the latter much easier!
What other types of content work well on a nonprofit blog? Please share your thoughts and ideas!