If someone were to ask you what the most important part of your nonprofit website is, what would you say?
Your donation page might come to mind, or your “About Us” page, where you share the details of your organization’s mission. You might even consider your events calendar or volunteer sign-up form.
But what about your nonprofit’s blog? Many nonprofits overlook the potential of a well-run blog, letting it gather dust until they need to share seasonal information or big updates.
However, by regularly posting high-quality content on your blog, you can make it a useful tool for educating your supporters and inspiring their support and engagement. And blogging has proven to be a top-tier engagement tool, as research shows that 77% of internet users read blogs on a regular basis.
Of course, if you’re a blogging novice, this may sound a lot easier said than done. But don’t worry—in this post, we’ll help you make the most out of your blog by walking you through the steps you can take to turn it into a valuable asset for your cause. Let’s begin!
1. Set up an appealing and effective blog format.
If you don’t yet have a blog on your website, start by creating one using your website builder. Set the tone for a great user experience by adding a new tab to your navigation menu so that website visitors can easily access blog updates, and then ensure you’re following these best practices to refine your blog’s look and format:
Brand the blog to match the rest of your website. According to Cornershop Creative’s guide to nonprofit web design best practices, cohesive branding is essential to having a well-designed website. When your blog’s branding is consistent with the other resources on your website, your organization will appear more professional and trustworthy.Then visitors will be more apt to engage with your blog content (and the rest of your website!) as they quickly recognize it as connected to your larger mission.
Place your most important content at the top of your blog roll. While you’ll want to create a regular schedule for posting new blog content, some of your first blog posts may be the best source of truth on your most important topics, like your mission and overall operations. Make sure these posts are always available at the top of your blog roll or blog page so that readers have easy access to them.
Prioritize readability. Ensure that your blog is set up so each post will be easy to read. Choose a legible font and a text size that is easy on the eyes. You should also ensure that the text of your blog posts and the background of each post have a high contrast. To make your blog posts even more enjoyable to read, incorporate plenty of white space, visuals, and elements like bulleted lists or pull quotes to break up large blocks of text and provide visual breathing room for your readers.
Enable your readers to engage with your blog posts. Blog posts can be great tools for starting a dialogue with your website visitors. Enable comments on your blog posts so that readers can share their reactions, thoughts, and questions about the topics you’re writing about. Plan to quickly respond to comments when they’re posted to show your readers you care about what they have to say.
After you’ve created your blog, commit to a regular writing and posting schedule. Consistently posting on your blog will show your website visitors that it’s a reliable place for them to get up-to-date information on what your nonprofit is up to and how they can get involved.
2. Choose compelling topics to write about.
Once your blog is set up and you’ve created a posting schedule to stick to, it’s time to start brainstorming the topics you’re interested in writing about. Having a clear idea of your future writing topics will take the pressure off and make sure your content aligns with your mission and audience when it comes time to write.
Here are a few types of content to consider as you brainstorm:
Educational resources: Consider doing a deep dive into your mission, the issue you’re trying to solve, the history of your organization, or one of your programs.
Supporter appreciation: Your blog can be a great place to say “thank you” to your supporters—consider spotlighting individual donors or volunteers or reporting on the impact your supporters have made on your mission (remember to give concrete examples!).
Current events and news: If there’s something going on in the world or community that pertains to your mission, make sure to blog about it. Voicing your organization’s take on the current event or news will help establish your nonprofit as a thought leader for the issue at hand.
How-tos and guides: Occasionally, you’ll need to teach your supporters how to do something, like run a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Create how-tos or guides that walk through all the steps they’ll need to take to accomplish the task.
Recaps of campaigns and events: If you recently wrapped up a successful fundraising campaign or hosted a memorable event, make sure to share a recap with your community. Recaps will help you connect with those who had a hand in your campaign or event success this time around, and you’ll also be encouraging further support and attendance down the road.
Seasonal content: Is there a certain time of year or holiday where your cause will be top of mind for your supporters? Capitalize on the season by catering your content accordingly. For example, if your organization is focused on improving STEM education in K-12 schools, the back-to-school season could be a great time to create new content.
Get even further ahead with your blogging schedule by creating outlines for each of the posts you plan to write. Include information about the main points you’ll include, examples or details you’ll add, and any outside sources you plan on citing. This will make the writing process go a lot smoother and help you get your content published quicker.
3. Incorporate engaging visuals.
Blogging isn’t just all about the writing—you’re going to need to incorporate engaging visuals, too! Visuals break up the reading experience and bring to life the concepts you discuss in your text.
Here are some popular types of visuals to include in blog posts:
Images of real people, whether that be team members and volunteers at work or beneficiaries you’ve served
Before and after pictures that show the impact your organization has on its beneficiaries
Infographics that communicate data about your nonprofit’s results in an easy-to-understand way
Graphics or illustrations that align with your established visual brand
Don’t be afraid to add other types of multimedia to your blog posts, either. For example, you could create a fundraising video for an upcoming campaign and embed it into a post talking about your campaign kick-off event. Elements like this give your readers additional opportunities to engage and interact with your content, which can lead to a more positive reading experience and a desire to take action to support your organization.
4. Add calls-to-action to your blog posts.
Since you’re writing blog posts to educate and inspire your supporters, you should also present a way for your supporters to act on what they’re reading about. That’s where calls-to-action come in.
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are simple phrases that encourage people to do something. You can incorporate CTAs into the text of your blog posts or format them as buttons or images on your website.
However you decide to add CTAs to your blog, make sure they will catch your readers’ attention and encourage them to click through to your target action page (such as your donation page or event registration page).
Follow these three best practices when crafting your CTAs:
Keep your CTA phrases short and sweet, but also make them eye-catching. For instance, “Donate now” gets your point across, but it’s not as compelling as something like “Donate now to stomp out cancer.”
Ensure CTA buttons and images stand out. Keeping your brand in mind, give your CTA buttons and images a visual look that helps them stand apart from your blog text and other visuals. This will help ensure your visitors can easily see and click on them.
Optimize your action pages. A great CTA won’t do you much good if the page your visitors are clicking on isn’t optimized for conversions. Ensure that key pages like your donation page, events page, volunteer registration page are ready to receive visitors and make the process of donating or signing up quick and convenient.
CTAs are a small design element that can make a big difference! Make sure you’re incorporating CTAs into your blog posts with intention—don’t add one just for the sake of it, and make sure the CTA makes sense for the content in the post. This will help your CTAs feel more natural to your readers.
Blogging is more than just a hot trend, so don’t leave your nonprofit website’s blog on the back burner. It has the potential to help you spread awareness about your cause, teach your community about your mission, and encourage your supporters to take action.
Follow the steps in this guide to start tapping into the power of your blog, and for extra help setting up your blog as part of a well-designed website, reach out to a nonprofit website design agency for assistance. Turning the tech work over to the experts can give you more time and headspace to design a sustainable blogging strategy that will help your nonprofit get results.