So today, I'm going to give you all kinds of ideas for different types of content for your nonprofit! By content, I mean anything that you might make a social media post about or send in your newsletters or publish on your blog; those things are all content. They all kind of fall into the same bucket. It doesn't matter if you're gonna do a video, article, photo, or an infographic. All of it has to start with an idea. It has to start with the concept of the content itself. I'm going to tell you all the ideas that I have for you to make your content.

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Monica Maye Pitts
Monica Maye Pitts Chief Creative Officer

Nonprofit Content Ideas for your Blog, Newsletter, and Social Media

So today, I'm going to give you all kinds of ideas for different types of content for your nonprofit! By content, I mean anything that you might make a social media post about, send in your newsletters, or publish on your blog; those things are all content. They all kind of fall into the same bucket. It doesn't matter if you're gonna do a video, article, photo, or an infographic. All of it has to start with an idea. It has to start with the concept of the content itself. I'm going to tell you all the ideas that I have for you to make your content. 

Right now I have 14 ideas for content on my list: 

  1. Stories - Journeys
  2. Self-directed Stories
  3. Testimonials
  4. Events 
  5. Group Content
  6. Report Interpretation
  7. Objections
  8. Commonly Asked Questions
  9. Problems
  10. What’s Happening
  11. Box Openings
  12. Tour
  13. Throwbacks
  14. Quotes 

Connect with your audience through your shared values and interests.

The thought processes is any place where your values and interests intersect with your audience, with the people you want to make relationships with, that's what you post about. Where I want you to put your head right now is, where do your interests and your values intersect? I came up with these ideas by finding ways to deepen your relationships with people through the content you're producing and finding a way to connect with them through your shared values and your shared interests. 

Meeting People and Maintaining Relationships 

Now, your content serves two purposes. You're going to use it to meet people and you're also going to use it to maintain relationships. Most of the examples I'm going to give you today are good for maintaining relationships. They may do some for meeting people, but for the most part, what I'm focusing on is easy, fun to produce content ideas that are going to do a great job of maintaining relationships. Not every nonprofit has a blog. They have a newsletter most of the time and they'll have social media. Those two things go out to people you already know. You hope they can get circulated around and end up in front of people you don't know, but getting in front of new people is a different strategy for developing your content. I will touch on it a little bit today, but, for the most part, we're talking about making friends.

1. Stories - Journey 

The most obvious one is the stories. When I say stories, I really mean journeys. There are so many different journeys people go through when they are involved with your organization. 

Tell the stories of who (or what) you serve. 

You have the people you serve. Or maybe it's actually a purpose that you serve,  seeing the purpose that you serve, or the creatures you serve. So you have those things/people/creatures that get value from what you do. That's one type of journey. Where did they start? Where did they finish? What was the difference you made?

Tell donor stories. 

Now you also have your donors. Don't forget they're going through a journey too! They're going through this journey with you. You have where they started in a relationship with you and where they are now. That's a journey you can share as well. 

Staff members have professional journeys.

You have your staff. A lot of staff members start with nonprofit organizations really young, and they learn. They move through the ranks of the organization and become these skilled, intelligent, professional human beings who have an amazing story to tell. So you're serving them as well, you're helping develop their professional skills, you can tell that story. 

The volunteers are there for a reason, that reason is worth sharing. 

Then you also have the story of your volunteers. They're volunteering for a reason, when you tell their reasons in their stories, then other people who might not have considered volunteering or might be considering can see themselves in their shoes. My friend, Carrie, just went out and was volunteering at the food bank and she was telling me how amazed she was about how hard her daughter worked and how much fun they had. Carrie telling the story is showing her relationship with her daughter, how she spent quality time with her, and how she is instilling her core values into her child about giving back in her community. You want more volunteers like Carrie. So telling those stories, telling those journeys is a great piece of content. 

Don’t forget to say thank you! 

Where some nonprofits get lost in this content is they tell the story, but they don't say thank you, as they're telling the story. I was just talking to my friend, Jamie Fredericks, and she told me all of these nonprofits are posting content, but they're not telling the donors they're the reason this story happened. When you're posting stories about the people you serve, or about your staff members who are going through a journey, it’s an opportunity for you to let people know they were part of the journey. Because of their generosity, this person, or this story, this transformation happened, so thank you. It’s a great way to connect with your donors and make sure they understand they are a part of this journey, and they support your mission. 

2. Self-directed Storytelling

So number two is a self-directed story. For example, if you have a museum or if you are running an event, you can have a selfie booth or a selfie location where people take a picture of themselves. They can put the pictures out online and they might tag your organization. That's a great way to build awareness and get in front of a new audience. So really encouraged self-directed storytelling. Whether it's volunteers who are working at the moment or people attending an event, all those people can tell their story and your story on your behalf.

3. Testimonials 

Testimonials are another type of story you can tell. Now everybody wants to go after the high profile person for testimonials, right? Because other people know them and organizations think, if people could see Janet Gibbs, then everybody would want to give to this organization. I'm not sure that's 100% true because you want people to see themselves in the people that support you and in the people you serve. Or you want them to see people they know in the people you serve. So I won’t say just get testimonials from high profile people. You should be talking to all the dimensions of people that make your organization tick. So it could be anybody from a board member to a volunteer to a person who has volunteered once to a new volunteer at the beginning of the journey or a person who just attended the training you offered: include all of those things. People like to see people at the beginning, middle, and end of the journey you are directing through your work. 

Gathering Testimonials 

Here are a few fill in the blank questions to ask people for testimonials. So you could have people say:

  • I give because_______
  • I believe in ______ because ________
  • ________ makes a difference because ________
  • I started becoming involved with _______because of ______

You can fill in those blanks like a mad lib, right? Those are just the beginning of testimonials. There's a whole art to gathering them. 

4. Events

Number four is events. There are all kinds of different content you can make around events. You can do event recaps and offer those in your newsletter, social media, or on your website. You can do content during the events.

 Before you even do an event, I want you to think of all the ways you can gather content. Think about people standing in front of a selfie booth and taking their photos, think about the people gathering around a certain area. Just really envision your event and think about all the different ways you can make content while you're there because that is going to be good stuff. And we want to use the content for later. 

During the Event 

We've even gone so far as talking to people while they're at the event. Asking them about testimonials or pulling them aside and videoing them doing testimonials It's awesome because it just gives you an opportunity to generate so much content at this one in this one setting. 

During the event, you're going to do updates. You could show people walking in and be like, hey, it just started. If it's a virtual event, you're going to post online, you might take a screenshot of what's happening. You're going to have updates if you're doing a fundraiser about the money raised. So you would thank people as they are making donations and let people know where you're at right now in your donation totals and where you're going. Tell them what your goal is and encourage them to share, like, and donate. 

Paparazzi

I love doing paparazzi pictures at the event. Have some flattering paparazzi pictures. Then I put them out on the website in a huge gallery. After the event, send out an email and make a post on social media grouping the picture. Caption it something like: Hey, were you at the event? Check out if the paparazzi got you! Or did you get caught in the paparazzi? People want to see pictures of themselves so they almost always check it out on your website. That's just another way to bring them back into that moment and remind them of the good work you do.

5. Group Content

Number five is group content.

Roundtable Style 

One way to do group content is content roundtable style. So let's say there's a commonly asked question you hear all the time, have your whole group answer it. It might be answered by your executive director, a very recognizable development person, or the head of your board. We use roundtable style to address slightly controversial issues and how we feel about them. Now by controversial, I mean, big topics or news that is going to be highly discussed. You can use the roundtable to foster discussions, whether it's something the city council just decided, or another thing just came down the pipe that people are talking about a lot. Have multiple people in your organization touch on it and give their thoughts.

Traditions 

Other fun group content is traditions. So talk about everything from Fourth of July traditions to Christmas traditions.

6. Report Interpretation 

Idea number six is report interpretation. If you deal with something not everybody understands or if there's a bunch of information from a survey or research report that's been released, read it, if you understand it, you can interpret it for people who also might need to know it. I like to look through content, figure out what I learned from it, what's the most important thing, and then you write up content about it. You can just share it on social media and explain why it’s interesting or write up a whole article about it and share it in your newsletter or blog. It might also be a good segue for you to educate your constituents about what's going on. 

7. Cover Objections

Number seven, cover objections. So when you're having conversations with people about giving or volunteering, what are their objections? What are the reasons they tell you they're not going to do it? If you don't know their reasons, then we probably need to belly up and ask the reason. We need to figure out the disconnect. Because they don't have to give you a huge gift or a ton of time, they can give you a gift or time that works for them. If you understand what their objections are, then you can cover them upfront. So let's say one objection might be volunteering takes me away from family time. You can answer that volunteering as a family is a great way to spend time together. Make sure you hear their explanation and have an answer. Their reason may not as valid as they thought.

8. Commonly Asked Questions

Idea number eight is answering commonly asked questions. Any question you hear, answer it, especially on social. When you're on social media, you can answer these questions really quickly. Remind people if your hours are changing, or things are fluctuating within your organization, the public needs to know. You can kind of treat those commonly asked questions as an announcement. The easiest way to find commonly asked questions is by talking to the person who answers the phone. Go ask them what they’re being asked all the time and go answer it! You would go out on social media and say people are calling in and asking how to volunteer, so here’s how to volunteer… 

9. Problems

Now the last two that I covered were objections and commonly asked questions, now number nine is problems. Solving problems is an amazing way to make new friends online. What you have to do is put yourself into the shoes of the people who share your interests and your core values. What are the things you guys have in common with your interest in your core values? What are the problems they're facing and how can you help them solve it? 

So let's say you are an animal shelter, your interests are going to intersect with other people who love animals. Think about the challenges those people are facing. An easy challenge to think of is dogs barking. How do I make it stop barking? You want to deepen the relationship of people with their animals, animal lovers adopt more animals and they donate to organizations who take care of animals, right? So those are the people that you want to have in your list of contacts that you build relationships with. So if they're having a problem getting their dog to stop barking, you can bring in someone who can give examples on how to solve this problem for those pet owners, and then they will find your website and learn about you because you solve their problem. So that's just a simple example of it. 

10. What’s Happening

This is probably the easiest one really—it's what's happening. What's going around. So, here's a great example. One day, we had a bird that landed in our office (we have no clue how). Rebecca, one of our designers, is like a Disney princess! She's sitting there, hanging out with his baby bird and it’s just perched on her. It was just the craziest thing, so you know we're making social media posts about that! 

Another example is while I was scrolling through my newsfeed, one of our local animal rescue groups posted a 15-second video of new puppies that they needed foster families. Those puppies were so cute that I actually considered fostering a puppy. Me— I have two kids, two dogs, I run a business, I have hobbies, I don’t have time for that! But for like two full minutes I actually considered fostering a dog because I saw this video.

Another great example is when our local Humane Society asked for people to donate food. They then took a picture of all of the Amazon boxes stacked up in the lobby of the shelter of all the donated dog food. It was moving.

11. Box Openings

My kids watch this YouTube channel about a lady who rehabilitates all kinds of animals. from birds to reptiles. One of the videos she does is opening the Amazon boxes people send her as donations. She doesn't have any idea what's in them and she opens them all up and she videos the whole time. She gets really excited about every single thing she takes out. So she'll open one up and be like, Oh, look at this. It's a bird toy. This is gonna be the perfect bird toy for Charlie. He's gonna be so happy with it. Thank you so much. I just can't wait to give Charlie this present. My kids love it and it's such a great idea to say thank you to your donors. And it's just all about you know, what's happening.

 So boxing openings is number 11 because all these kids are watching all these stinking videos where they're opening packages like L.O.L Surprise Dolls. So open up those boxes when people send them to you, and rejoice. It's really fun to watch. 

Here we are testing our equipment to prepare for a Facebook Live virtual tour.

12. Give people a tour! 

Give people a tour, walk them around your facility, walk them around your office, introduce them to your staff. You don't have to do it all at once. You can do it one by one, but let them see the inner workings of what's going on. 

One of my clients has a workshop and they build pet carts, which are carts that people can power with their hands because they're for people who can't walk. They have a whole new facility so we're gonna do a Facebook Live tour to show everybody the whole production facility.

13. Throwbacks

Go back into your old events, especially if you've been around for a really long time. Find people with 80s hair, find the super old stuff. Find those memories you've collected over years and years and post those! People love them, they will go nuts. Also, see if you can find old documentation of adversity you have faced. It could be you almost had to shut down or your facility flooded. Let's say you were on the cusp of having to close down because something bad happened or you had a fire or whatever it is, then you can share that story again and reconnect with the people who helped you get through that moment. You can thank them again, and tell them how you got where you are today because of all of their generosity at that time. 

Another fun throwback idea is like staff or board members who've been around forever. Get old pictures of them and post them. It could be really fun and embarrassing, especially on their birthdays.

14. Quotes

Last but not least, is quotes. You can post quotes from staff or from others during your mission. I love posting quotes from the staff because there are so many amazing people that power your organization. Their words are equally as impactful sometimes, same as all those really amazing leaders that we've had in history. 

Then there are funny quotes too. Like for example, the other day, we were having a brainstorming session. I meant to say, open your mind and free your inner client because I was trying to get everybody to put themselves in the shoes of the people that we’re serving. And instead, I said, open your mind and eat your inner client. And we all had a good laugh and it was posted on social media.

Go turn those ideas into reality! 

Those are my ideas for developing content for your nonprofit! Hopefully, through all of those ideas, you found some spots you feel like you can grasp on to and utilize in your own content. Now start creating! 

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