Editor’s Note: This series explores ways to apply content marketing strategies to help lead a successful nonprofit volunteer program. Using the wealth of information in Kivi Leroux Miller’s book “Content Marketing for Nonprofits” as a jumping-off point, this four-part installment discusses how a solid content marketing strategy will pay dividends in drawing volunteers and supporters, bridging the gap between volunteers and donors, and engaging your community.
When communicating with your volunteers and community members and applying your content marketing strategy, keeping your content relevant is crucial to your success.
And who decides relevancy? Your volunteers and supporters! They want to go to your Facebook or Twitter page and see posts that interest them and make them want to keep reading. This will make them come back for more.
While your organization’s needs should certainly be considered when applying your content marketing strategy, the needs of your volunteers and supporters should be the primary focus. As Kivi states in her book, “Always remember why people are there on the trail with you. It’s not solely for your benefit. It’s because they want to get something out of the experience, too.”
This blog post will explore the key to keeping your content relevant and becoming your volunteers and supporters’ favorite organization: staying in the conversation.
Produce Content That’s Refreshing
With social media allowing information and news to be sent and received instantaneously, it is crucial that your content is up-to-date and current. Yet coming up with new content can take time, and the demand might seem to frequently outweigh the supply. How do you satisfy a community that is constantly seeking new and fresh information?
Suppose it is the winter holidays. Your organization wants to send your fans into the break with a few “tweets”, but you’re out of news to talk about. A great method of producing content is re-purposing. Remember that tweet you sent out a few weeks ago telling volunteers how they can make an impact at a local homelessness shelter? You can re-purpose that tweet along with a few others and create a list of ways people can give back over the holidays. The old tweet is made new, and it is refreshing because it is relevant in the specific context of the winter holidays.
Tell Compelling Stories to Connect on a Human Level
Social media, email, print newsletters – whatever your medium, you want to come off as a helpful friend and a trusted expert. Telling fascinating stories will allow you to connect with your volunteers and supporters on a personal level. And this is crucial for you in becoming their favorite organization.
Telling stories might also come in the form of testimonials. What is the success of a website like Yelp? A lot of it is relying on people’s testimonials. If 100 people give a restaurant a 5 out of 5 rating, it is very likely that a new customer will decide to try that restaurant for the first time. So why not use testimonials in your content?
One approach is the volunteer success story. Invite a volunteer who had an awesome experience with your organization to talk about it for one of your blog posts. Have that person explain how they became interested in your organization and why they enjoyed their volunteer experience. Not only will that volunteer feel rewarded and likely keep volunteering, other potential volunteers will see the post and envision themselves having a similarly great experience.
Create a Network with Other Organizations to Gain Support for Your Cause
Rather than compete with other organizations in your community, partner with them to reach out to both their supporters and yours. Sharing the work of other organizations with your followers is an awesome method of conveying your own values while staying relevant.
This can be as easy as “retweeting” the tweets of other organizations. If a local nonprofit led a successful beach clean-up last weekend, even if your work might be totally unrelated to environmental awareness, a simple retweet is a great way to say to your audience, “The work these guys are doing is awesome, and we support them.”
This makes your organization feel personable and conscientious, showing that you aren’t just pigeon-holed into one area, but supportive of a number of diverse causes. People are much more likely to volunteer with your organization because they will see that there are actual people who care about multiple issues producing that online content.
We want to hear from you: how does your organization stay in the conversation?