16 Starter Tips for Nonprofit Blogging | npENGAGE

16 Starter Tips for Nonprofit Blogging

By on Oct 7, 2009


Jeff Patrick and I recently did a webinar on Nonprofit Blogging. It was a fantastic time that really seemed to help the attendees. I thought I’d share some of what we talked about and get the presentation in your hands so you could use it in ways that benefit you. The tips shared here and the full presentation (see below) should help you think seriously about starting a blog. If you’re already blogging, it should motivate you to press on and try new things. Thanks for coming and please do leave your tips or ask questions in the comments section of this post.

Nonprofit Blogging 101 — View more presentations from frank barry.

Strategic Role

How would a blog fit within your online communications strategy? What about your overall online strategy? What about your offline strategy? Blogging can tie into each of these areas and more so think about where it fits for you before you start.


What will you accomplish with a blog? What are your current online objectives and how will blogging fit into those? Will blogging introduce new objectives or goals?


Who are you targeting with your blog outreach? Consumers, bloggers, media, decision makers, donors, volunteers? Think about it. Write down who you’re looking to reach and focus your content on these people.


What’s your personality, tone, voice and writing style going to be like? Remember, blogging is usually more casual, human and conversational.


How will you brand your blog? What name will you give it? What’s the overall design going to look like? Should it follow your overall organizational brand or stray a bit in order to target a specific group of people or speak to a specific type of person?


Content is KING so this is likely in the top three most important things to think about. Will you create an editorial calendar to follow? What subjects, topics or categories will you write about? When will you stray from the guidelines you put in place?


How often will you post? Daily, weekly, monthly? The key to this is consistency. Once you pick a frequency don’t let it slip. Being consistent keeps readers coming back.


Who will author, edit, approve and post?


What is the process for writing, editing, approving and posting to the blog? What is the emergency process?


Who will moderate and manage comments to your blog? Who replies? What is the process for escalating issues?


How will you measure success? What can you actually measure automatically? What are your goals? What tools will you use to get the statistics you need? Here are a few tools that give you some stats and analytics – Google Blog search, Technorati, Google Analytics, Feedburner, AddThis, Lijit, Tweetmeme, PostRank.


What reports do you need? Who will review the reports? How will you use the data you are gathering to make decisions and changes as well as improvements? Blogging is dynamic in nature so using the date you gather to improve your blog by posting content that appeals to your readers is mission critical.

Marketing Plan

How will you promote the blog? Channels? Messaging? Other bloggers?

Executive Buy-in

Are you starting first and getting buy-in later? Do budgets need to be allocated? Is there political coverage for your work? How do you escalate issues?

Corporate Policy

Should employees participate in the blog? Comment on the blog? When? What type of content? With what objectives? How will you communicate the policy to your employees? What are the privacy and terms of use for the blog?


Blogs can lead to legal issues – copyright, liability, non-disclosure, indemnity, exclusions and limitations. Solicit advice from legal council. Establish guidelines that keep you out of trouble.


This is meant to get you thinking. Thoughts? What have I missed?



Frank Barry, formerly worked at Blackbaud helping nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+

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