How to Build a VolunteerBlog with Form & Function    Julie Pippert, Founder and Director, Artful Media Group, Inc.        ...
Who I Am   I’m Julie Pippert (@jpippert on Twitter, Julie Pippert    everywhere else in the online and offline world)   ...
What are you doing?   Let’s get to know    each other a bit and    talk about…       What your        organization is   ...
Do blogs really benefit                  your organization?   Tell your story                                  People are...
Quick Exercise 1                                Grab your paper and pen                                 (or Smart Whateve...
Elements of a Good BlogNotpictured:MagicalFairy Dustor PixieDust (asyouprefer)
Other Elements   Tell me: what do YOU    love to read and what    drives YOU to act?     Tell me something good!And then ...
How to Make it All                                Happen   Make a plan, Stan   (Make it SMART)Group Q: How does your org...
Step 1: Choose Your                              Method   Single Contributor vs. Multi-    Contributor   Open Access vs....
Step 2: Be Organized                Editorial                 Calendar                Schedule:                 Assignme...
Step 3: Be Clear                                 These are rules but try for   You have to lay it all out                ...
Step 4: Recruit                                  Volunteers                     Method                    Volunteers can ...
Quick Exercise 2        Organize into small groups of about 5        Have one leader who represents the         org, one...
Go be Wonderful!   Thank you    so much    for    attending    today!                     "And                           ...
Resources   Some good resources for you:       Who Owns Copyright in Works by Volunteers?        http://www.copyrightlaw...
Things I Wish We’d                     Gotten to Talk About   Building an editorial calendar (good thoughts from Spin Suc...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

How to Build a Volunteer Blog with Form & Function

3,655 views

Published on

How does a bare-bones nonprofit manage to create a strong and consistent online and social media presence without spending big $$ and hiring a team? Same way it manages other projects: volunteers!

But every NPO knows that even the best volunteers need support and coaching, and every volunteer project needs management. That can make it seem daunting or, worse, as a resource drain.

This presentation will specifically walk-through how organizations can create and implement a plan for a volunteer-based online presence that builds connections to community, heightens cause awareness, raises funds and brings valuable rewards.

Using a case study compare/contrast of two national nonprofits’ plans for blogs and social media, learn:
Mobilizing and selecting volunteers
Planning and tasking
Organizing with schedules and deadlines Planning content
Pros and cons of models: regular contributors, guest contributors

I speak in takeaways. Audience members will walk away with a sense of can do!

1 Comment
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
No Downloads
Views
Total views
3,655
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
8
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
7
Comments
1
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • I’m JulieI’ve spent my professional life as a writer and editor.The last decade has been creating content and content strategies for organizations and companies.I’ve written for a lot of different types of blogs as both a volunteer and paid employee.We’ll talk about those today.
  • Anyone come in today with a specific goal – something to walk away with?
  • It’s too easy for organizations to receive – take the time or money and let the relationship end there.A blog is a way to keep in touch, share where donated resources go and how they help, progressively, in a timely way.It’s also a great way to keep up that engagement and build trust.
  • One thing is what you GIVE – a value add for your community.One things is what you GET – a return on your investment.It’s important to keep these both because a blog is not intended as a space for constant broadcasts and pledge drives. You need it to be a real VALUE – that brings readers, builds engagement, and ultimately makes them want to support.
  • SMART or SMARTERSS Specific Significant, Stretching, SimpleM Measurable Meaningful, Motivational, ManageableA Attainable Appropriate, Achievable, Agreed, Assignable, Actionable, Adjustable, Ambitious, Aligned, Aspirational, Acceptable, Action-focusedR Relevant Result-Based, Results-oriented, Resourced, Resonant, RealisticT Timely Time-oriented, Time framed, Timed, Time-based, Timeboxed, Time-bound, Time-Specific, Timetabled, Time limited, Trackable, TangibleE Evaluate Ethical, Excitable, Enjoyable, Engaging, EcologicalR Reevaluate Rewarded, Reassess, Revisit, Recordable, Rewarding, ReachingS Satisfactory Satisfies Strategic Vision
  • I’ve worked on a variety of blog styles. None are hard and fast and each can be blended into a hybrid. Pick elements that appeal to you and work for your org.Your biggest issue is getting that consistent and constant content that accomplishes your goals and engages readers/community. Your biggest problems will come from dealing with humans and their needs and egos, and turnover.Example 1: (Think MOMocrats) Open access free posting volunteer blogs. A trusted group is selected and given free access to the blog to post at will. There are guidelines and a general “don’t step on toes.” The pros are strong, dedicated volunteers who can post at their convenience, low time demand on staff, and a ready-made draw into the community since the contributors are influencers. The con is when everyone ends up busy at the same time, posting drops, traffic drops, and key events may not get covered.Example 2: (Think Moms Speak Up) Editor style blog: 3-5 dedicated volunteer writers with “beats” and assignments, deadlines, etc. Submit posts to editor, who reviews and ultimately posts. The pros are consistent and constant content, oversight to ensure quality and compliance, all necessary areas are covered as needed, content is managed and coordinated, ensuring connection to overall org.The cons are time demand, “wrangling volunteers,” managing feelings about being edited, possible beat dry spells or boredom, contributor turnover, editor may need to fill gaps.Example 3: (Think Choose You) Single Contributor/Manager. One person is the voice and persona of the blog and writes the majority of the content. This person is the point person between the blog and org.The pros are solid and consistent voice and persona that represents the org well, key point person, no scheduling conflict or overlap.The cons are time demand, this is going to be a daily task that will take time – planning posts, researching and writing, responding to comments.Comments are IMPORTANT. You need to respond to these. Plus they can sometimes lead to really engaging content. (Time a Choose You commenter asked a Q that lead to a really popular series about eating during chemo.)Plan the direction of your blog: voice and persona, style, content. Who is a shining light in your org or community who people respond well to? What is your community reading frequently and in large numbers? When people from your org speak, how do they behave? What’s the general culture? Remember that blogs tend to be more casual in tone, so seek the “casual Friday” version of the voice versus the “Monday suit” voice.
  • Create an editorial calendar: it helps to have regular and consistent content, featured events can blend in.Coordinate with your organization and communications calendars and ensure you highlight and spotlight relevant and timely things. This integration is crucial. Your blog is your outreach and while it ought to reflect back things that interest community, it also needs to reflect out important aspects of your org.Share the calendar with collaborators. If you can use the Cloud, it’s a good spot, such as Google Spreadsheet, to create and share a calendar. If you create a general Blog Folder in Google, it can also be where you store and coordinate article documents.Set a schedule and ensure that you build in time for receiving content, editing it, and posting it. Make sure assignments are clear, and keep everything as much in one place as possible, such as the Editorial Calendar.The biggest challenge is getting all areas of your org to talk with each other, especially if you’re large. The blog can – and usually should – be the one spot where everything comes together.There are times that multiple representations make sense, such as how ACS has things organized out by effort and campaign. It’s all scalable. But, in general, start small and build out. Don’t ONLY envision your dream goal end result. Develop a reasonable not overwhelming starting place and grow.
  • You need guidelines and policies – for everyone who touches your blog. You need an up-to-date profile. You need clarity and transparency – about your org, about people at your org who are relevant, about blog contributors.And OH MY GOSH INCLUDE CONTACT INFORMATION!This includes things such as:Policies for contributors – what to write, how to write and submit, your expectations, what they get in return, what the writing and posting process is, including any editing that may happenPolicies for guest posts and suggestions for posts – who to contact and how to do itPolicies for commenting and being a community member – eg bans on profanity or attacks on commentersPolicies for any promotion or advertisement on your blog (hint: generally? Not a good idea.)By golly also be clear WHO OWNS THE CONTENT and your and the contributors’ rights to repost elsewhere.For the open access free posting volunteer blogs…we allowed contributors to repost something they had written for elsewhere, such as their own personal blog. The caveat was: it had to be germane, it had to be accurate and in line with posting policies, and it had to contain an fresh introductory paragraph, including any appropriate attribution. At that blog, we let each contributor run their own comments but the group had a backchannel communication space to discuss issues or ideas and to ask for assistance. Each of us complied with a general foundation: no profanity, no trolls, and no deleting unless it was a serious issue or threat.For the Single Contributor blog, the content I posted became the property of the nonprofit. I did not reuse it, and after I completed the project, the content remained there for them to use and reuse as needed elsewhere. Comments were mine to manage but I adhered to a pretty solid “this has to be PG” criteria and was pretty strict about backlinks and promotional comments.Also consider how you want your good resources – employees, in house volunteers, etc. – to help promote your content. Constant irregular asks can be annoying and net little result. Choose a set time, such as once a week and ask folks then. Provide all the information they need – your trackable links (for measurement) and wording they can use, for FB, Twitter, etc. The easier you make it the better your results.
  • Yes I saved the best – by which I may mean the most fun challenge -- for last. A lot of people would rather donate a little time – on their own time (and availability) than money. You can always make time.Choose your methodGuests -- will you use occasional guests, special guests, spotlight volunteers, or use regular – such as weekly – guests? Determine how you will find and recruit them and what goal they will further.Regulars – Will you create a “stable” of contributors, with whom you work regularly? How much content will you ask them to contribute (frequency) and what type of content, including length, do you want?Think of this like DATING – find a compatible person, court that person, select and recruit that person, TRAIN THAT PERSON, SHARE YOUR POLICIES AND PROCEDURES, BE CLEAR ABOUT EXPECTATIONS AND WHERE THIS IS GOING…and make sure they get something that is for them like a “big payoff.”What are other types of rewards/incentives?Publicity and association with a good cause – at Choose You some celebrities wanted the affiliation and also a pulpit to promote their own health program. It was a way to build interest and get celebrity spokespeople without the big spokesperson fee. Sometimes they wrote their own posts, and sometimes they sent in written answers to written interview questions.Promotion of an ally group – sometimes you have friendly organizations in your community. At times, your topics might meet neatly. In that case, some cross content and mutual promotion can benefit you both.“Exposure, awareness and impact” – I read this from a volunteer blogger in a volunteer blogger chat. She said that volunteer bloggers are often committed to the cause but also want to build awareness of their own blogging and writing efforts as well as their passion for this cause. So offering big promotion – not just on the blog, but also via your mail list and so forth can help them build cred. It may also give them space to speak about something that they care about but that they may not be a fit in their own space. My own blog was not a big political space, so being invited to volunteer at a political site gave me space to talk about economics, a pet passion topic of mine, and policy. Also, when the blog went national and we got special access and invitations to events, we got to share these, allowing us to meet major elected officials, sometimes in very intimate venues, and share our views. I’ve met with policy advisors, heads of parties, presidential candidates, Senators, Speakers of the House and more. It provided that growth and access I craved, and by working with a group, I built bigger and faster than I ever might have on my own.Super special volunteers – make your bloggers feel inside the organization, a special part of it. Include them at events – gratis whenever you can – and when possible offer a “VIP” experience. Give public recognition. Show appreciation. As a part of Choose You, ACS often asked me to represent them at events such as conferences, sometimes as a guest, sometimes in the booth. It gave me the chance to connect face-to-face with readers and potential new readers. It let me speak passionately aloud versus in writing about something I believed in deeply. It let me feel important and a part.Pay them. If you can offer any kind of stipend, do. It creates a business relationships, which is a HUGE pro, and shows how much you value what they do. If you can’t pay in money, pay in other ways. Have a blogger lunch party. Like I said earlier, give them free access to something if you can. Be creative and find ways.Things to consider:ALLCreate a spreadsheet with name, contact information, start date (and end date if you agree to a time period), and “beat” or areas of knowledge, as well as a bioAdd a tab for potential folks you run across – other bloggers, committed volunteers who are great storytellers and reps, regular commenters (great way to build that and tap interests), frequent connections in social media, etc.GUESTSIt’s common to use guest bloggers 4-5 times per month. If you have 4 or 5, that’s a once a month ask.Keep a “brainstorm list” of their ideas and plug any relevant ones into the editorial calendar as you can – this is a reward tooREGULARSAlso important to have a spreadsheets.Editorial calendar and clear timeframes (1 week between submitting and posting for edit etc time, for example) crucial
  • Let the leader share the resultsSome good resources for you:Who Owns Copyright in Works by Volunteers? http://www.copyrightlaws.com/us/who-owns-copyright-in-works-by-volunteers/6 Free Websites For Public Domain Images & Free Stock Photos http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-free-websites-public-domain-images-free-stock-photos/Frogloop – Care2’s nonprofit marketing blogHandsOn Network
  • How to Build a Volunteer Blog with Form & Function

    1. 1. How to Build a VolunteerBlog with Form & Function Julie Pippert, Founder and Director, Artful Media Group, Inc. @jpippert on Twitter Julie Pippert on LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Facebook
    2. 2. Who I Am I’m Julie Pippert (@jpippert on Twitter, Julie Pippert everywhere else in the online and offline world) I have a dog, 4 cats, 3 generations of wild cardinals I track, and someday I’d like a pygmy goat. My two children are on board, my husband not so much. Professionally, I’ve advocated for clients and employers through writing, mainly technology, health care, political, and nonprofit, and also through communication strategy. I also avidly volunteer and/or donate in those same areas of interest plus The Arts, which I adore. This includes American Cancer Society, MD Anderson, NOW, Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast, certain candidates, education, a local playhouse, PBS, and more.
    3. 3. What are you doing? Let’s get to know each other a bit and talk about…  What your organization is doing with blogging now  What you hope to do  Questions you have  Goals for this presentation
    4. 4. Do blogs really benefit your organization? Tell your story People are more likely to donate and Tell other stories that engage and compel action participate when: Asked by a friend or Provide updates and acquaintance news, happenings of interest When it is easy Explain why and purpose of events Principles of When they understand the purpose Persuasion Share events and photos etc. When they know where from events resources go Give a face to your When they know results organization: employees, volunteers, support ers, board, etc.
    5. 5. Quick Exercise 1  Grab your paper and pen (or Smart Whatever) and jot down: Stand out and be heard3 things you could shareon a blog3 things you wish you’dget for your organization Attract the masses (and their help)from your blog
    6. 6. Elements of a Good BlogNotpictured:MagicalFairy Dustor PixieDust (asyouprefer)
    7. 7. Other Elements Tell me: what do YOU love to read and what drives YOU to act? Tell me something good!And then whathappened? I loveserials and updates!
    8. 8. How to Make it All Happen Make a plan, Stan (Make it SMART)Group Q: How does your organization plan? One person? Team?Collaboration? Brainstorm sessions? Designated plan writer?
    9. 9. Step 1: Choose Your Method Single Contributor vs. Multi- Contributor Open Access vs. Moderated/Edited VoiceSingle Contributor whomanages, writes most ofthe content, coordinateswith organization, andfills in with occasionalguest posts andinterviews, strongly tiedto social mediacommunity (conversationrich source for content)
    10. 10. Step 2: Be Organized  Editorial Calendar  Schedule: Assignments, D eadlines, and Tasks
    11. 11. Step 3: Be Clear These are rules but try for You have to lay it all out less…complex. And readable by all. In writing And share it Where appropriate
    12. 12. Step 4: Recruit Volunteers Method  Volunteers can give a face, voice and story to your organization and blog, while Regular making it do-able for Guests you s Inter- viewRegular Special s Incentives & High- lights
    13. 13. Quick Exercise 2  Organize into small groups of about 5  Have one leader who represents the org, one editor, and any additional people will be potential volunteer bloggers  Quickly create:  1 goal for your blog10  Method and type of blog  1 incentive  2 types of blog post (guest, interview, etc.)
    14. 14. Go be Wonderful! Thank you so much for attending today! "And though I be Questions? but little, I am fierce."Gratuitouscat photo
    15. 15. Resources Some good resources for you:  Who Owns Copyright in Works by Volunteers? http://www.copyrightlaws.com/us/who-owns-copyright-in-works-by- volunteers/  6 Free Websites For Public Domain Images & Free Stock Photos http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-free-websites-public-domain- images-free-stock-photos/  Frogloop – Care2’s nonprofit marketing blog: http://www.frogloop.com/  HandsOn Network http://www.handsonnetwork.org/  Beth Kanter – the best nonprofit voice out there and if you read nothing else read her http://www.bethkanter.org/
    16. 16. Things I Wish We’d Gotten to Talk About Building an editorial calendar (good thoughts from Spin Sucks – a great site -- http://spinsucks.com/communication/how-to-create-an-editorial-calendar/) Content Strategy – an easy-to-follow process at http://marketing.about.com/od/strategytutorials/a/Create-A-Content- Strategy.htm and NTEN  Your Top 10 Content Strategy Questions (Finally!) Answered http://www.nten.org/blog/2011/10/06/your-top-10-content-strategy-questions-finally- answered  You Need a Content Strategy (slideshare) http://www.slideshare.net/annanten/12- nt-clorem Policy Database: The most complete listing of social media policies. Referenced by the worlds largest brands and agencies. http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php Volunteer Blogger Agreements. Look at your own standard volunteer agreement and use it as a base. Tailor it with blogging specific expectations and incentives. One sample at http://www.npnparents.org/guest-blogging- for-npn

    ×