Why nonprofit organizations need a balanced approach to content

Nonprofit content strategy requires strategic balance.
Date Published
12/16/2013

Content strategy is important for organizations, regardless of their size. A long list of nonprofit groups have planned, designed and published content on their websites and social media pages that tends to draw attention away from their core mission or story.

What’s the current state of content?
It’s increasingly important for nonprofit organizations to maintain a balance in their approach to creating and distributing content. In other words, nonprofit management leaders shouldn’t put all of their eggs in one basket when it comes to producing content. In fact, The NonProfit Times recently discussed many organizations are putting excessive effort into the visual aspect of their content strategy.

That means they’re likely putting too much time into developing video, graphics and photography that doesn’t necessarily contribute to the overarching message or mission of the organization.¬†While videos can offer an accessible and more dynamic way to present information, they can be ineffective if not targeted to a specific campaign or fundraising initiative. In the same way, interesting or captivating photography can help tell the story of a nonprofit’s project if presented in a well understood context. However, when a website is simply a collection of photos without text, people will likely have a hard time following the narrative the enterprise is trying to convey.

Finding the perfect balance can be a challenge
Citing Susan Soloman, vice president of marketing and communications for California-based St. Joseph Health, The Times indicated charitable groups should work on creating interesting materials that can be read and understood in a reasonable amount of time. For example, Soloman recommended using interviews, polls and surveys to help develop a more detailed picture of an organization’s values and mission. Studies and research that a nonprofit group conducts can be an effective means to quantify the qualitative data and information associated with a program. At the same time, this information becomes shareable through other media outlets and news organizations, which helps to build visibility for a nonprofit enterprise.

However, Michael Rosen, president of the fundraising marketing consulting firm ML Innovations, indicated on his personal blog that nonprofit groups shouldn’t go too far in the direction of statistics. Rosen explained, “a good story draws us in. It stimulates our intellect and our emotions,” making it stick into people’s memories.

When nonprofits are crafting their missions and stories for marketing or fundraising purposes, they need to remember to keep a balance among all the kinds of content they distribute.

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