Should we launch a blog?” That’s what forward-thinking nonprofits everywhere are asking.
There’s a short answer to that question. (Hint: It’s yes.) But there are some complicating factors you need to think through.
That’s why we’ve taken a bloggish approach to the question and came up with five main reasons it would be a great idea to blog, tempered by the nagging comments that expose the problems within each reason.
You, your donors and your blog: Be transformed.
What would it be like if every time you wrote to your donors, they wrote back? Instead of grandstanding for attention, you’d be learning about them all the time. You’d adjust what you say and how you say it. In other words, you’d have a conversation with them.
That’s what a blog is. It’s something real and genuine. Information and value flow in both directions. When you blog, you quickly develop a mental picture of your audience — one that’s pretty accurate, because you’re hearing from them, not just their complaints, but all the richness of their thoughts.
The old way of getting to know your donors is to try something and see how they respond. Then you attempt to interpret their motives for that response so you have meaningful and repeatable strategies.
Or, worse yet, you talk to them in artificial situations such as focus groups or surveys, and hope what you learn has some connection to reality. (It often doesn’t.)
There’s a better way. That’s what makes a blog so powerful. The rules change. It’s a conversation, not a publication. That means things like:
- Typos are not a calamity. Let ’em be. Keep the conversation going.
- Controversy is not a problem. It’s good when there’s something worth arguing about.
- Even mistakes are acceptable — as long as you own up to them and apologize.
Here are the things you should avoid on a blog:
- Not being genuine.
- Being boring.
- Talking down to your audience (or trying to “educate” them).
- Sounding like a committee.
You can’t do these things on a blog. You just can’t.And the blog approach can transform the way your organization thinks and talks. Just the thing you need to meet the marketing challenges of the coming years.