Fundraising in the Blogosphere
Continuing our coverage of the Association of Fundraising Professionals 47th International Conference held in Baltimore earlier this month, CFRE fundraising coach Sandy Rees shares her insights from her presentation, "Fundraising in the Blogosphere."
These days, savvy fundraisers are looking for every possible opportunity to connect with donors and raise money. Web-based tools and social media offer possibilities that we’ve never had before.
Blogs have been around for a while, mostly used in journalism and other fields. Now, blogs are being used for advocacy, awareness and even fundraising.
A blog (or weblog) is a website usually written by an individual with regular entries of commentary and other information including photos, audio and video. A typical blog lists text, pictures and links to other websites. This tool gives nonprofit fundraisers an amazing interactive platform to connect with donors and prospects.
There are essentially three things you need to start a blog:
- A platform for hosting it (like Blogspot, TypePad or WordPress).
- A plan for promoting it and driving traffic to it.
- A commitment to keeping it going.
You must be committed to your blog. You shouldn’t blog for a week or two, or a month or two, then give it up. Decide why you want a blog, and then commit to it. This is important: Be clear about why you want a blog. Don’t start a blog just because everyone else has one. If your purpose for your blog is to share information with your donors, then post something of interest to them three or four times each week. And don’t stop.
Fundraising with a blog is just like fundraising with any other tool — you tell your story, then you ask for a gift. Write a compelling post about someone your organization has helped. Show a photo if you can. Then direct readers to your “Donate Now” button. Simple as that.
If the thought of writing three or four blog posts each week gives you the heebie-jeebies, relax. Here are some ideas for generating content:
- Tell stories about people you are helping. A story ALWAYS works! Remember to keep it short and compelling.
- Reuse stories from your print newsletter.
- Repurpose information from e-mail blasts.
- Listen to what frontline staffers are talking about.
- Invite guest bloggers — clients, staff, board, volunteers and donors. Be specific with them when you ask. Ask them to write a short paragraph or two of 250 words MAX.
- Ask questions in blog posts, and invite readers to comment.
- Post summaries of events or activities with photos.
- Summarize press releases, or link to current news stories.
- Report back from an event or conference.
- Highlight the expertise of staff or volunteers.
- Tell about the work of volunteers.
- Share a couple of pertinent statistics of your work (for example, “our animal shelter saw a 10 percent increase in adoptions this month”).
Be sure to share the link to your blog everywhere you can — in your newsletter, via e-mail blasts, etc. Before you know it, you’ll have loyal followers who are interacting with you through your blog!