Your nonprofit’s content should help tell a story and inspire your audience. Good content also adds value and educates. Nonprofits need to plan their content in order for it to work in their favor.
Sporadic posting and communication can hurt an organization. If the content you are producing does not align with your mission, people may end up confused and not stick around to learn more. It is important to take time at the beginning of the year to thoughtfully plan out your content.
The more you plan ahead the clearer your message will be and the better it will resonate with your audience. The great news is that your nonprofit can start planning your yearly content now with the help of a few tips and tools.
What is a Nonprofit Content Strategy?
Nonprofit content marketing is the use of high-quality content in the form of social media posts, blog posts, infographics, webinars, etc. to educate and inform an audience. The thought behind content marketing is that people are constantly searching for information on the internet. If your content is relevant and answers their questions, you will begin to build a relationship with them.
Your nonprofit’s content strategy involves brainstorming what type of questions your target audience might be asking and how you can help answer those questions. Generally, an organization will position itself as a thought leader in its field when it comes to creating their content. The great news? Your nonprofit probably has lots of people who are subject matter experts in your field.
Why is a Nonprofit Content Strategy Important?
The overall goal of content marketing is to draw people into your organization. As you educate and inform you build trust with your audience. Ultimately the goal is they will take some sort of action to further your mission, such as making a donation or signing up to volunteer. Your nonprofit needs a content strategy that will determine what type of content is best for your audience.
Your nonprofit’s content also helps your SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization and it is how people land on your website when searching for things relevant to your cause. According to Nonprofit Megaphone, the baseline of any good SEO campaign begins with good content. This content should empower people and motivate them to help your cause.
Best Practices for Planning Your Nonprofit Content
It is important to plan your content at the beginning of the year to make sure it aligns with and supports your message. Planning a year of content can feel like a big task. But if you break it down into smaller more manageable steps you will actually save yourself time throughout the year. All it takes is looking ahead and deciding what your overall messages will be and how you can support them.
Start with Big Picture and Work Your Way Down
When planning your content for the year it can feel overwhelming. The best way to get started is to think big picture and work your way down. For example, think about your big annual appeal campaign, Giving Tuesday, and your events. Then under those headings start narrowing down the different pieces of content that will go with each campaign/event.
Look at Last Year’s Metrics
Looking at your metrics from last year will help you better plan your content for the year ahead. You can check your social media metrics to see what posts got the most engagement. In addition, take a look at the open and click rates in DonorSnap’s mass email tool, as well as in Constant Contact. These metrics can help you determine what was the most appealing to your audience and will direct you to create more of that content in the coming year.
Think About Your Different Segments
Segmentation is important when delivering relevant content to your audience. In your planning phase see if you can come up with different segments in your audience. If you want to start simple, think about segments such as new donors, recurring donors, volunteers, etc.
You can also create more detailed target personas. There are many benefits to creating target personas, or fictionalized versions of your ideal supporters. To do this you will want to work as a team and also look at your data. Target personas can be broken down into more specific details like recurring donors under the age of 30. This audience might be best reached via SMS and social media.
Create Evergreen Content
Creating content can be time-consuming. The great news is that once you create it you can continue to use it and share it. According to Wordstream, evergreen content continues to be relevant long past its publication.
Evergreen content could be any blog post that is informative about the area you serve or your organization. For example, if you are a children’s art organization an evergreen piece of content may be an article about the benefit of art for young kids. You might make small changes to your evergreen content or update it with some fresh statistics over time, but Google likes to see this and will rank you higher for doing so.
Organize Your Dates and Channels
To create your calendar, decide what channels you will use, how often, and when. An example might look like this:
- Post on Social Media 3X per week
- 2 Blog Post Per Month
- Send a Monthly Newsletter
- During Year-End Campaign Email 2X a Month
- During Year-End Campaign Two Print Mailings
Using a calendar to plan out your content will help you in managing your time and resources at your nonprofit. Having a game plan ahead of time will ensure your messages are cohesive and tell a story over time.
Content Ideas for Nonprofits
Now that you have done your analyzing and planning it is time to start creating your content. But maybe you aren’t sure what kind of content you need or where to put it. Below we have several ideas to inspire you to create great content for your audience.
Best Content for Your Nonprofit to Create
When deciding what type of blog posts to write or social media content to create it is helpful to consider how it will add value to your audience. In general, content that answers questions, informs, tells stories, or gives an inside look into your organization will perform well.
You can start off with a calendar like DonorSnap’s 2023 fundraising calendar. The calendar is full of cause days as they relate to many nonprofit industries. Also, every month includes a fundraising prompt and resources to ensure you are on track for success in 2023.
Content That Answers Questions
High-quality content will answer questions that your audience is asking. Think about what your nonprofit does and what people who are interested in supporting it may be wondering. For example, if your nonprofit is an urban garden, think about the wealth of information you have on creating urban gardens. This is a golden opportunity to create content that will educate and inform. If people are googling questions about urban farming, you can answer their questions along with grabbing their attention and hopefully their support.
If someone is just being introduced to your organization, what type of questions do they ask? Framing your content to answer these questions can help with someone who is just starting to learn about an organization. Answering their questions through your content should guide them on a journey that will eventually lead to their support.
Content That Informs
Part of your mission likely is to educate people about the area you serve. Statistics or current events surrounding your cause make great shareable content. For example, Charity Water shares that 771 million people in the world live without clean water. This type of content has a strong impact on your audience and will drive them to share or take action.
Content That Tells Stories
Every nonprofit knows the power of story-telling, and your organization likely has many impact stories that will drive action. Think about everything your organization has done and who or what you have helped. What specific stories are particularly important to your cause and are likely to pull at the heartstrings of another? All of these stories can be told on your blog and then shared through social media and in your email newsletters.
Content That Gives a Glimpse Into Your Organization
No one wants to give to an organization without a face. It is important that you share who you are behind the scenes in order to build trust with your audience. Staff stories, board member bios, and everyday happenings in your office all make great content to share with your audience.
Best Places for Your Nonprofit to Share Your Content
Now that you have wonderful content that will educate and inspire your audience, where do you put it? Most nonprofits can post their stories and content on their websites or blogs. From there you want to share it with your audience. The best way to share your content is through social media or email.
Create Your Nonprofit Content On Your Blog
If your nonprofit doesn’t have a blog you are missing out on the opportunity to build up keywords on your website. Keywords are search terms that are related to your cause. If the content on your blog is relevant to what someone is searching for, then Google or other search engines will display your content when someone searches for it. For example, if you are an animal rescue in the Pittsburgh area, someone may google “Best Place to Adopt a Dog in Pittsburg, PA”. Obviously, you will want your organization to show up, so creating blog content that is rich in keywords like “pet adoption in Pittsburgh” will help people find you on the internet.
Share Your Nonprofit Content Via Social Media and Email
Social Media is a great place to reach new people with your content, and keep current supporters engaged. Anything you write on your blog you should share to your social media channels. You should also share any information on events or programs, fun stories about your organization, statistics on the area you serve and show examples of impact. The sky is really the limit with social media. It is more important to post consistently than to post a lot. Aim for two posts a week and if that is manageable you can work your way up to more.
The Bottom Line
Content marketing is an effective way for nonprofits to bring in new supporters and engage their current ones. It is important to have a content strategy that aligns the content you create with your mission and overall messaging. Thoughtful planning of content will support your outreach throughout the year and also help with SEO.
Nonprofits should plan their content for the year with the help of a content calendar. It is helpful to start with the big picture and work your way down when planning your content. Using metrics from the previous year will help you determine what time of content resonates best with your audience.
The best content for nonprofits to share is content that answers questions, content that informs, content that tells stories, and content that gives a glimpse into your organization. Once the content has been planned and created, nonprofits should leverage social media and email to share it.