10 ways nonprofits can use blogs

By Britt Bravo

How can you harness the power of Web logs to help further your nonprofit’s mission?

You can:

* Report back from an event or conference.

Patricia Jones, manager of the Environmental Justice Program for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, is blogging from the Fourth World Water Forum.

* Involve staff and take advantage of their knowledge.

The Walker Art Center’s blog contains postings from art center staff on community programs and educational information about exhibits.

* To involve volunteers and document their work.

The volunteer staff performing reconstructive surgery around the world for Interplast, post to the blog from their worksite.

* Provide resources and information to constituents.

AARP’s blog is an online resource for aging issues such as retirement security, health, and volunteering.

* Provide resources and information from constituents

The Best Friend Network allows its supporters to create blogs around animal adoption issues they care about.

* Give constituents a place to voice their opinion.

Ann Arbor District Library System uses a blog to announce library news and events. Library users can post feedback to the blog entries.

* Give constituents support.

March of Dimes’ Share Your Story blog allows families with children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to share their experiences.

* Create the media coverage.

When the men accused of murdering Gwen Araujo, after they discovered that she was biologically male, went to trial, the Community United Against Violence used a blog to address many issues that the mainstream media missed. It also kept people informed during the second trial, and led to additional media coverage for the issue.

* Give constituents the power and tools to create change.

Human Rights Watch offers RSS feeds of human rights news to supporters so that they can blog about human rights issues.

Reach potential donors.

According to the article, “Blog Readers Spend More Time and Money Online”,  “Fifty million Americans visited a blog in the first quarter of 2005. Blog readers are 11 percent more likely than the average Internet user to have incomes of or greater than $75,000 and tend to make more online purchases.”

Britt Bravo is community builder for NetSquared, a project of San Francisco-based TechSoup.

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