I was featured on The Nonprofit Show with Jarrett Ransom of The Rayvan Group and Julia C. Patrick of the American Nonprofit Academy where I spoke about the value of content writing for nonprofits, especially blog writing.
Storytelling in the Nonprofit Sector
When it comes to storytelling in the nonprofit sector, it’s just one of the pillars of what is happening in the organization. Afterall, without the financial support of donors, grants, and volunteers, your nonprofit wouldn’t exist.
The question is then, how do you communicate the stories you’re telling people in conversations and get them onto the website?
Like with a for-profit business, you’ve got to capture the stories and have a plan for sharing the impact your nonprofit is having in the community. That begins by identifying your target audience.
Who is your target audience?
When we talk to businesses in the nonprofit sector, one of the first topics we discuss is who the target audience is. Afterall, you’ve got to know who you’re targeting and where they’re spending time online in order to market to them where they are. Content writing for nonprofits, or podcast or video creation, needs to create value for the audience, so who is the target audience?
- Financial Supporters
- People that you help
That’s how we begin to tell the story.
Creating content for your nonprofit is not a one-and-done.
We can use blog topics and content in newsletters, podcasts, videos, and social media.
Content Writing for Nonprofits
Understanding your target audience is where I begin, always, whether for-profit or nonprofit.
Now let’s talk about what we’d create and for whom.
Who are you trying to reach with a particular piece of content?
- Donors Financial Supporters
- Complementary nonprofits
- Beneficiaries of the organization
- Planned Giving
- Who have you helped?
In this way, we begin to create a plan for creating content that matters to each target audience.
- What are the successes of the organization?
- Are you welcoming new staff or board members?
- What are the initiatives and programs that need the most support?
We might write about behind the scenes at the nonprofit or the reason a donor chose your organization for their planned giving.
How is your website found?
As I talk about on the podcast, it is important to create stories. Working with an SEO Content Writer, you can also include Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and keywords in the content.
SEO is simply how people find your website.
By combining storytelling with SEO, you’re reaching the audience that wants to hear the stories AND you’re reaching a wider audience because you’re targeting keywords.
One of the best resources I’ve found to learn about SEO is the SEO Playbook (affiliate link). I would have written one myself, but this covers ALL the best tips.
- Where are the opportunities for keywords as you’re telling the story?
- What can your nonprofit do online so that your target audience can see it?
- How do you reach a wider audience?
Incorporating keywords is an opportunity for keywords to get your website ahead of the others in the search engine results.
TIP: Let’s say you visit a nonprofit’s website and see the last blog post was in 2019. Does that mean the content isn’t relevant? Maybe. Will it turn a potential volunteer or donor away? Maybe. A quick trick is to turn off the dates on the blog posts. In this way, visitors will not make value judgments based simply on a date.
What is consistent content?
I love this question because the answer isn’t necessarily data-driven, though it can be depending on the strategy, and frankly, the budget. If your content really is that old, then it’s time to talk about consistent content.
Consistency is what is consistent for your organization.
I’ll say this louder for you.
Consistency is what is consistent for your organization.
Once a week might be good enough.
If you’re hiring a content writer, maybe it’s a matter of how much you can afford.
Once you’ve created content, review the impact of stories, and develop a strategy based on:
- Seasonal giving
- Project season
- Call for volunteers
- Event marketing
I like creating 90-day plans for my clients and for my own content. It’s less intimidating than six months or a year and gently gets me in the habit of writing. It’s the same for your team.
Earlier I mentioned that content creation isn’t one and done. Build authority on other websites as well. LinkedIn, Medium, and Grant Station are a few ideas. Partner with complementary organizations to tell the story on their website too and offer for them to do the same.
Post-Covid for Nonprofits
Since the pandemic, organizations, and businesses, are reaching a wider audience. The availability and use of Zoom for events and meetings mean board members can be located anywhere.
It means your organization is reaching beyond the local community and is attracting donors, supporters, and volunteers from other parts of the country. What does that mean when it comes to content writing for nonprofits? It means you’ve got a wider audience. While you can continue to talk about local places, where it makes sense, you can develop content that reaches a wider audience.
How do nonprofits engage with a content writer to assist with content creation?
This is another great question! If your organization can afford to hire a content writer, don’t just hire the first one you find. Ask them questions about their process, experience, availability, and knowledge of storytelling as well as SEO.
In the Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Content Writer, I give my best secrets for hiring a writer.
Start with a plan for creating an article once a month. We can always write another article as needed or when it makes sense, like for a seasonal giving campaign. Don’t be rigid about the plan and give yourself grace. Change happens. You can count on it.
If you’re interested in learning more about Content Writing for Nonprofits, schedule an Initial Consultation with me using the link above. Happy creating!
The Nonprofit Show is the daily live video broadcast where our National Nonprofit community comes together for problem-solving, innovation, and reflection. Each day the hosts and their guests cover all relevant topics with fresh thinking and ideas to help you and your nonprofit achieve mission, vision, and value.
Affiliate programs are specially chosen by me from reliable sources.