You’ll find it up there at the top of the list of disillusioning truths: “There ain’t no free lunch.” It’s true in fundraising, of course; but it can be obscured by the endless parade of miraculous “next big things” that tend to put our common sense out of focus.
For example, the seemingly limitless marketing possibilities offered by the Internet have charmed some planned giving fundraisers into the mistaken belief that this new miracle vector will do their job for them.
Make no mistake: With planned giving on the Internet as with anything else, lack of effort and commitment translate directly into lack of results,
Quality Results Require Real Effort
In a recent edition of Planned Giving Tomorrow, Executive Editor Viken Mikaelian made this point in reference to the current feeding frenzy over planned giving marketing via social networking sites. His basic message was, if you want to make fundraising on Facebook work for you, you need to work for it. The pixie dust of today’s craze doesn’t deliver something for nothing.
It’s not a pretty picture, but it is common sense.
That’s why a blog post by Jo on www.beaconfire.com caught our eye recently. Titled “Your nonprofit doesn’t need a blog”, the piece acknowledges the utility and appeal of featuring a blog on your fundraising website, but reminds the reader that “Not all blogs are good.”
Blog Is As Blog Does
Jo said a mouthful. Some blogs are so stale and boring that one wonders just how blinded by the Internet the author has to be to produce such a thing and not be aware of how it detracts from their planned gift messaging and spoils the impression they are making of themselves and their organization.
Jo’s post addresses critical issues of updating, content quality, reader comments, and promotion, and here again the basic message is, a bad blog may be worse than no blog at all. So if you’re going to blog on your website, do it right.
While we’re not going to recapitulate all of Jo’s points here, we do want to emphasize a quality we have found to be common to all good blogs, and that we think all fundraisers who are trying to promote planned giving on the Internet should aspire to.
It’s a quality that doesn’t come easy. It’s called spontaneity.
Update Or Out-of-Date
An authentically spontaneous blog is up-to-date, it’s topical, and it demonstrates the engagement of both the author and her organization. The way you create such a blog is by staying up-to-date, cultivating topicality, and maintaining engagement. That’s how you make your content fresh and compelling every day.
In contrast, a bad blog that features nothing but canned, evergreen content, shows the world that you’re trying to get by on the cheap-and-easy – and that’s not the kind of impression you want to make if you want prospects to beat a path to your door, electronically or otherwise.
So keep in mind: Because you never get something for nothing, a planned giving blog is only as good as you make it. A good blog can reach out to your audience with fresh content, personalize your website, and stimulate return visits. It offers powerful marketing advantages to nonprofits.
But only if you’re ready to commit the time and energy needed to do it right.