Writing a blog is about the last thing I ever expected to do, right up until about a month ago. A friend captured my feeling almost exactly: “Aren’t we already overwhelmed by information? Why would we add a blog to our busy lives?”
I’ve jumped in because I’m working with tiny non-profits that desperately need to market themselves, but that lack professional resources. Specifically, I am looking for ways that they can cheaply and easily raise more money, attract more volunteers and/or interest traditional media in their cause.
That pursuit almost dictates an emphasis on online marketing. And recently, I concluded that blogs are an important part of the online marketing mix for charitable organizations. Here are some reasons why:
- Fresh content on your website can mean better search results. Many small non-profits don’t have someone on staff who can change website content frequently. Blogs can be hosted independently, and easily posted to a website.
- Blogs may be easier to produce than newsletters (traditional or e-versions). They spread “the pain” of writing among multiple authors, if you recruit several volunteer and staff members to contribute short items (ideal: 3-4 paragraphs).
- Blogs attract people who read blogs, and there are lots of them. Conservatively, 50 million Americans visit a blog annually. Does that mean they will rush to see what you’re blogging? No… but if a blog comes up in a search that matches their query, they may check it out.
- People who read blogs are attractive, in marketing terms. There is some evidence that blog readers spend more time online than regular internet users. And they are more likely to have higher incomes – people who may be able to give charitably.
- A strong online presence is imperative to attract younger supporters.
- Blogging can be good for internal motivation. It can involve volunteers and document the great work they’re doing.
- Corporate donations usually decline in a recession, so attracting individual donors becomes more important – donors who may be online.
- Blogs may attract people who are interested in a convenient way to give (presuming your website is set up for secure donations). By anyone’s estimate, online donations represent less than 10% of all donations, but one of the main reasons that people don’t give online is that they didn’t know they could.
- If your non-profit promotes a cause or issue, blogs are a way of your constituents sharing their experiences and tips with you and your organization.
Sorry – I’m not David Letterman. I’ve only got a top 9 (maybe you can add the 10th).