10 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Blogs

NetSquared
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As I was getting ready for this blogging panel I'm going to be on tomorrow, I started to think about the different ways that nonprofits can use blogs. Many of these blogs have been mentioned on NetSquared before.

10 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Blogs

1. To report back from an event or conference
Example: Patricia Jones, manager of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's Environmental Justice Program, is blogging from the Fourth World Water Forum on the UUSC blog, Hotwire

2. To involve staff and take advantage of their knowledge
Example: The Walker Art Center's blog contains postings from art center staff and others describing recent and future community programs and educational information about exhibits at The Walker.

3. To involve volunteers and document their work
Example: The surgical volunteer staff who do reconstructive surgery all over the world for Interplast, upload posts to the blog from their worksite.

Example: The Urban Sprouts blog is written by one staff member and one volunteer.

4. To provide resources and information to constituents
Example: AARP's blog is an online resource for a variety of aging issues such as retirement security, health and volunteering.

5. To provide resources and information from constituents
Example: The Best Friend Network allows its supporters to create blogs around animal and animal adoption issues that they care about.

Example: NetSquared's blog is a community blog that anyone can post to about resources, events and information related to how nonprofits and NGOs can use the social web for social change.

6. To give constituents a place to voice their opinion
Example: Ann Arbor District Library System Uses a blog for the front page of their site. Library users can ask questions and make suggestions about library news, announcements and events in the comments of each post.

7. To give constituents support
Example: March of Dimes' Share Your Story blog allows families with children in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) to share their experiences with one another.

8. To create the media coverage constituents want

Example: When the men accused of murdering Gwen Araujo, a woman they beat, bound and strangled after they discovered that she was biologically male, went to trial, the Community United Against Violence decided to use a blog to document the trial.

Because many of CUAV's volunteer bloggers were more knowledgeable about issues such as the trans-phobic tactics that were being used by the lawyers, they were able to address many issues that the mainstream media missed. The blog also kept people informed during the second trial, when media coverage had diminished, and eventually drew attention to the trial when the blog got news coverage.

9. To give constituents the power and tools to create change
Example: Human Rights Watch doesn’t have a blog, but specifically offers RSS feeds of human rights news to supporters so that they will blog about human rights issues.

10. To reach potential donors
Blogs are not replacements for paper newsletters or e-newsletters, they are an additional way to reach a certain audience. Check out these stats from an article entitled, "Blog Readers Spend More Time and Money Online." I added the bold.


Fifty million Americans, or 30 percent of all American Internet users, visited a blog in the first quarter of 2005, according to a new report from Comscore, and sponsored in part by SixApart and Gawker Media. Traffic increased by 45 percent from the first quarter of 2004.

The average blog reader viewed 77 percent more pages than the average Internet user who doesn't read blogs (16,000 versus 9,000 for the quarter), the report found. Blog readers average 23 hours online per week, compared with the overall Web user's average of 13 hours.

Blog readers are 11 percent more likely than the average Internet user to have incomes of or greater than $75,000. Similarly, blog readers are 11 percent more likely to visit the Web over broadband either at home or the office.

Blog readers tend to make more online purchases. In the first quarter of 2005, less than 40 percent of the total Internet population made online purchases. By contrast, 51 percent of blog readers shopped online. Blog readers also spent six percent more than the average Internet user.


According to an NTEN survey of nonprofit techies, 20% said that they published a blog and 20% said that they didn't (but they want to). Don't you want to get yours up, before they get around to it?