Out of 96% of non-profits that are on Facebook, most are actively spending 6 or more hours finding and posting content, answering questions and scoping out the competition (link) – all the while experiencing 59% donor attrition. Very few, if any, organizations have been able to show how curating and sharing content leads to an ROI, especially when it comes to fundraising.
I believe the focus needs to shift back from consumption and sharing to thought leadership and creating. Yes, it’s harder. Yes, it takes time. But that’s what it takes to be a leader. Here are three ideas to help you attract donors with one of the best tools available for the job, a blog.
Get your Executive Director blogging
I know it can be a pain and there are a thousand excuses you can think of not to do it, but hear me out. If you wish to be perceived as thought leaders, it’s essential to have the leader of the organization involved in creating content. The leader sets the vision and lays out a path to get there. So, share that vision, your wins, and your challenges on the way. Communicating this through a blog keeps your employees, volunteers and stakeholders well informed while displaying transparency and leadership.
And it doesn’t even have to be THAT painful. Here’s an “executive shortcut“:
- Brainstorm a topic and come up with a title for the post.
- Divide the article into 3 to 5 subheadings.
- Write 3 points or arguments per subheading.
- Send skeleton post to communication team to develop.
- Review. Edit. Post.
If you choose to have the communication team (or an outsourced writer) do the filling-in for you, make sure you are the one doing the final edit because your voice and style should come through clearly. Otherwise, you lose the opportunity to make a strong personal connection with your readers. You don’t want to be another Snooki, do you?
Report from the trenches
I can’t even tell you how many non-profit organizations are doing amazing work, yet they flounder around in obscurity because nobody knows what they actually do. Help potential donors and partners understand what you do by blogging about it. Tell us about what your work looks like, who you help, where our money goes. One of the most valued virtues of modern communications is transparency. This is your opportunity to display it, show accountability to your vision and earn trust. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Who are the people doing the work? (feature employees & volunteers)
- What does an average day looks like for a service provider? Volunteer? Fundraiser?
- Who are the people benefiting from your work?
- How are the donations / money used?
Some of you may have privacy issues with displaying clients’ faces or using their names – but that’s ok. You can still tell their story without identifying them by using initials or a pseudonym. Same goes for employees.
Feature your current donors
Today’s digital environment functionally makes you a publisher. You have the ability to produce content in any format and share it with the world. And every step of the way you are building an audience. You may not have the reach of The New York Times, but you have earned the attention of the people who read your content.
That audience gives you an unprecedented power of access. And access to that audience is cherry on top for donors. Use your blog as a platform to recognize your supporters and by doing that alone – you will attract more. Now, I don’t mean “Non-profit A received $100,000 from Company B” kind of a post. It’ll have be more interesting to pick up any steam. Here are some ideas to supercharge your donor features:
- Interview their CEO.
- Why did they decide to support your cause?
- How do their employees feel about your organization?
- Photograph a meeting between their CEO and your client recipients.
Think outside of the Press Release Box. Think about how to engage your donors and build loyalty. Taking this extra step will set you apart from most other organizations while creating content for your donors to feature on their own digital presence and increasing their visibility to your audience in a controlled manner.
PRO TIP: On these posts, include a subtle call to action (“If you believe in [our cause], click here to get involved”)
The content you create will be how others (including potential funders) experience and perceive you – you have the ability to address donor attrition AND acquisition with a bit of strategic thinking. In this case, using a blog intelligently.
How does your organization use blogging to attract donors?