Building by Blogging
A few days ago I suggested that the most immediately valuable way - valuable in terms of directly supporting mission - that a non-profit can utilize some of the web2.0 technology being talked about on sites like mine is in online community building. Today I will suggest a simple way to begin that effort: blogging.
Blogging builds your community in two ways. In the old way, and in the new way. The old way: each blog entry adds to the footprint of your web presence, and is another voice getting your message out to your community. Each page adds to the likelihood that somewhere someone sitting in front of a computer will find your site while searching, and say, "Oh, I should get to know them better." This was put very well in an article posted last year by Graham Jones on the online community Ecademy.
And the new way: if you build a blog where you encourage the participation and posting of numerous people among your organization and its supporters, you can create a site that becomes a focus within your wider community. Maybe you get a volunteer to post about their experiences; a staff member to post about upcoming activities; a beneficiary of your services to talk about the encounter. People will add comments. People will email. People will bookmark your site. It takes a while for momentum to build, but you can begin to sense it early on. The 2.0ish tools of tagging and social bookmarking will help propel your blog into people's awareness, - but we'll talk about that in another post.
Let me share a little about my experience with this little blog as an example. I've only been at it seriously for a few months. I have still never had more than four comments in response to a posting. But twice, people I had never met got so excited by a posting they sent it off to their entire email list. People have commented on it in their newsletters and linked to it on their sites. And as a result I have found myself in dialogue with people and projects I hadn't known of before. Monday next I have a phone call scheduled with someone I met through the blog. The following day, lunch with someone else. I have two people who have asked to "guest post" on the blog. This is community building.
Marnie Webb has posted recently about some examples of blogging being used effectviely by non-profits:
I try and have a big bag of example of nonprofits using blogs. For a while now, I’ve been pointed to the work that Lee LeFever and Nancy White have been doing with the March of Dimes Share Your Story site. I’m excited to see Surprising Partners: Adding Blogs to an Existing Non-Profit Community at Global PR Week 2.0.
You can start on a completely free, publically hosted site to see how it works for you. This blog is on Blogger.com. You can start without any technical knowledge. You will want a plan to make sure postings go up an a frequent basis. You will want a plan to market the site, to prime the readership pump.
Then you will want to learn about tagging.
tags: web2.0, nptech, blog, blogging