By Scot Kersgaard, Joining Vision and Action Senior Associate
Why do nonprofits need blogs?
Everybody has a website. Everybody writes a blog. Everybody maintains a media list and sends press releases when the need arises. Everybody has a Facebook page and is active on other social media.
None of those things are true, of course. Even if all those statements are true in your case, it marks a beginning, not an end.
I’ve been to countless websites where I find that the most recent blog post was written six months ago and was used to invite people to an open house, or it was used to try and sell a product or service. Now, open houses are important and need to be announced, and maybe a blog is one place to announce them, but the true power of blogging lies elsewhere.
If you look at JVA’s blog over the past couple of years, you will see numerous blogs on grantwriting, strategic planning, media relations, social enterprise and a host of other subjects related to running a social change organization. Occasionally there will be a mention of an open house or an upcoming class, but mostly we will write about the things we know can help you run your organization more effectively.
What’s in it for us? By writing about and offering advice about the things we know best, we position ourselves as experts in our fields. That is the power of a blog. I’m writing this today because our blog manager told me to. Our promise is to create and post at least one blog a week. You could visit our site once a week and always find at least one new blog. Come less often and find more. Come for a first time, and you could spend much of the day learning a lot about how to run a social change nonprofit, business or other world-changing outfit.
When I visit anyone’s website, I look for a blog. I look to see how often new entries are posted. I look to see whether they have anything to offer me other than trying to sell me something. If they do, I read. I enjoy, and I learn.
When it comes to marketing and communications in the digital era, you need to be consistent and you need to look beyond what you need and take a look at what I (the visitor) need.
A blog is where your passion for changing the world is communicated. It is where your expertise is showcased. It is where your joy of living and learning comes through. Every organization is different. Maybe you don’t need to prove expertise. Maybe you need to share stories of lives changed. I don’t know why you need to blog, but I do know that selling raffle tickets is not it.
Different communication tools and vehicles can be used for different purposes and in different ways, depending on your needs as an organization, who you want to communicate with and what behaviors you want to influence.
However, one thing is always true. Posting blogs erratically with no discernible theme is worse than not having a blog at all. You must be authentic and you must be consistent to make it worth your time.