Not sure what to write for your nonprofit blog? Continue reading to learn how to determine what type of posts you should write, how long your post should be, how to edit your own work, strategies for getting past the dreaded writer’s block when writing your blog, and more.
Reach your audience
Audience is key. Think about your target audience and what they would be interested in. If you already have social media, see which posts were most popular with your followers and engagers. Someone may have already asked a question on one of your social media posts that could lead to a blog post. Search engine data is also a useful source for seeing what keywords your users are interested in. Certain nonprofits lend themselves well to specific topics. For instance, a Humane Society’s audience would visit their blog expecting to see things like tips for keeping dogs cool in the summer and recipes for dog treats.
Find topics for your blog
Make your blog work for you. Use it to tell your story. If you’re having trouble coming up with topics to write about, bringing in partners and guest writers for your blog can be a great place to start. It adds both interest and credibility while bringing in new perspectives and ideas. This can also be a great reason to make initial contact with an organization that you could partner with for other things in the future. A nonprofit’s volunteers are a great source for this type of collaboration. Most nonprofits have volunteers with interesting experiences to share and they are typically happy to share their stories.
Another great topic is the history of your organization. Use your About page as a jumping-off point and go more in depth, using engaging historical photos, maps, and documents as much as you can. The present and future of your organization are great topics to write about as well, especially if your organization has interesting events happening or changes planned that would engage donors or visitors.
Search for the topic you’re writing about and see what already exists. If a lot of sources about that topic exist, that doesn’t mean you don’t have new things to contribute, but it helps to know what’s out there.
Link to resources
In your blog posts, make sure to reference other pages on your blog. For example, if you were writing a post on how to keep dogs cool in the summer, you could reference a dog popsicle recipe on your blog, providing a direct link to that page. It also improves a blog’s SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, to link to other websites. Finding some sources that go in depth on a topic you mentioned briefly is a great start. Make your post a jumping-off point to your organization’s social media, other blog posts, and any other online media you may have.
It’s essential to think about SEO. Otherwise, you’re limiting the traffic your blog could receive. Most blogging platforms have tools and plugins to help optimize a blog post for SEO. There are also programs online that rank how your text works with SEO and programs that help you measure your site’s search traffic performance. Adding high-quality images can also help your SEO, and it’s a great opportunity to showcase your nonprofit’s photos.
Long-form writing performs better with SEO. Use relevant headings to make it easier for readers to find what they are most interested in so that if someone only has time to skim, they can quickly find the information they need.
There is a lot to learn about SEO. If you’re a beginner, don’t be overwhelmed. Start with small steps in your first blog posts and grow from there. Doing a little will help a lot.
Edit your work
Nobody is perfect, and people understand that. Still, if they notice typos in your post, they’ll wonder about your credibility. Draft your blog in advance of your due date so you have time to edit. As silly as it may feel, read your blog out loud. Then, to edit your grammar, read your blog backward, meaning read the last sentence, then the sentence before that, and so on. This helps disrupt your impulse to automatically read over mistakes. Finally, have other people in your organization read your post, and get at least one outsider perspective as well.
Even those of us who feel like good writers and are proficient at social media can feel stumped staring at a blank document, hoping for a brilliant blog post that will bring new traffic—and hopefully new donors—to our non-profits. That’s totally natural. Tell the self-editor in your head to be quiet for a bit and just write. If that feels like too much, just start jotting down some ideas you have.
Mind blank of ideas? That’s okay—mine the ideas your organization already has, like old grant proposals, newsletter content, informational handouts, and other similar sources for inspiration.
Just start. The age-old wisdom of many authors is that it’s impossible to edit a blank page, but if you have something, no matter how mediocre it feels at first, you can always make it better.
There is a wealth of further resources on this topic, and you don’t have to go too far to find them. Here are a few more articles to help you develop your blog and your digital storytelling:
- Nonprofit Storytelling
- Nonprofit Website Design: 13 Best Practices for Killer Sites
- 5 Nonprofit Writing Tips for Fundraisers (That You Can Start Now!)
- Equitable and Inclusive Messaging: Retaining Donors in a New Age of Storytelling
- 11 Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO Like a Pro
- How to edit a blog post (tips from an ex-English teacher turned blogger) PLUS CHECKLIST
About Donor Detectives
In 2013, Donor Detectives was founded by Madlen Satamian and Keghan Artinian and began serving national direct response agencies as outsourced specialists. Their proprietary software streamlined mail acquisition practices and provided the agencies and nonprofits an affordable, cost-effective advantage.
Today, the Donor Detective network has grown to consist of internationally recognized, award-winning creative, digital, analytics, development, and service professionals ready to grow nonprofit organizations’ donor base and revenue.
About the Author
Kylie began her career in the nonprofit sector where she discovered a passion for digital marketing. Her early career focused on content creation, engagement and digital storytelling work. She now works with Donor Detectives, implementing campaigns that help a variety of nonprofits raise more funds so they can make a bigger difference.