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  • April 2006
    S M T W T F S
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The Good Stuff: Nonprofit Blogs

Yes, spring break was a delectable treat of sleep, relaxation and yoga. I realized today that I haven’t posted in awhile. I am excited to write about nonprofit blogs because these thoughts have been stirring.

My master’s project is a case study on nonprofit blogs and a guide on how nonprofits can use them as a communications tool. I really believe that blogs offer nonprofits a way to advocate their cause, communicate, and support their constituents. So here is my mini-primer on nonprofit blogs. May you find the information helpful and valuable.

Tom Murphy started this discussion stating the reasons why charitable organizations should blog. The New PR Wiki started Operation Link Love as a way to showcase nonprofit blogs—and what an awesome project and idea.

Nonprofit organizations passionately work to help those in need, educate, empower, and drive social change. Blogs offer nonprofits a way to communicate, interact, support, and give a voice to those they support.

Techsoup is a valuable resource. They provide nonprofits with technology resources and information. Marnie Webb’s article Weblogs:The Promise for Nonprofits lists 10 reasons why nonprofits should start blogs. She refers to the most discussed blog features; easy updating, posts in reverse chronological order, frequent updates, and personal voice. One of the most important statements she makes is that blogs allow nonprofits to become a trusted source of information. For example, the Sierra Club’s Compass (http://www.sierraclub.org/compass) informs its publics about the environment and how they can get involved. The Sierra Club is seen as a trusted resource for environmental issues. This leads to credibility, which Webb says “transfers to its other efforts, including fundraising.” One of the main activities of nonprofits is fundraising. If blogs can help an organization become more credible, which can yield profits for a notable and admirable cause—then a blog can make a profound difference.

Webb continues pointing out that nonprofit organizations can find weblogs useful allowing them to “create a valuable, credible resource that points to outside sources, publishes a variety of media, and uses your own voice to engage your constituency in an ongoing conversation about the issues to which your organization is dedicated.”

Another resource I came across is NetSquared, a Techsoup project, which helps nonprofits access social tools and knowledge on the Web. NetSquared has completed a case study on the social media tools nonprofits are implementing. The list encompasses a range of organizations and I have found it interesting to see what nonprofits are doing.

Britt Bravo a blogger for NetSquared compiles a list of ways nonprofits can use blogs. You can view the list here: Bravo’s List

The most significant uses of nonprofit blogs relate to its publics. Blogs can give publics a voice and enable them to enact social change. Girls for a Change a nonprofit organization empowering young women to create social change in their communities moderates the blog HerCity. The HerCity blog gives young women the ability to talk about what is going on in their communities and how they can change their cities in an open space online.

Also, blogs can give constituents support by providing a space to converse and support each other. Bravo cites the March of Dimes’ Share Your Story blog, which allows families with children born prematurely and in the neonatal intensive care unit to share their experiences by creating a blog and communicating with others. Nonprofit organizations can use blogs for this purpose and the others listed, but more importantly to interactively communicate with an active audience and reach out to constituents they support.

Some other ways nonprofits can use blogs:

  • Educational Outreach: A science museum could host a blog specifically for science classes at local schools teaching students about physics by posting experiments, problems, or featuring new physics exhibits.
  • I like the “sharing” concept that March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society have going on. I think that is probably one of the best uses for nonprofit blogs. The Red Cross, I think would benefit from this type of blog. Families who have survived disasters might find that sharing on a blog gives them a voice and support.
  • Internal Employee Blogs: To communicate departmental news, upcoming projects, provide information on new donors or sponsors, or coordinate a special event/fundraiser.
  • Program Specific Public Blogs: The best examples I can think of are Greenpeace and Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis.

Here is a short list of nonprofits that are implementing blogs. Check Operation Link Love for some additional nonprofit blogs. Diva Marketing Blog also provides a list and description of Nonprofits blogging.

Nonprofit blogs really are the good stuff! Spread the word!


6 Responses

  1. Hi there – great topic! Just to connect the dots for you- NetSquared is a project of TechSoup. You can find many more case studies there: http://www.netsquared.org/case-study. And please feel free to add the ones you dug up – it’s great to share these inspiring examples!

  2. Thank you Franziska,
    I will make that connection in my post and paper.

  3. Wonderful post, Beth. Thanks for sharing all of the resources.

    It is so terrific that you are doing your master’s project as a case study on nonprofit blogs. I’m looking forward to reading that one, very much.

    Take care.

  4. Robert,
    I hope you have the summer off. Beth is VERY thorough when she writes. This project could be HUGE.
    Seriously, Beth, I’m looking forward to reading your draft, as soon as I finish mine.

  5. Beth – thanks for the shout out to Diva Marketing. Wonderful project. Happy to blog your findings.

  6. Just a quick update – the Share Your Story site is an example of blogs as community builder as well. They just got nominated for a Webby award for it too, which I can tell you has thrilled the community. Thanks for noting Share!

Comments are closed.