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Tools of Web 2 0--Blogs

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 1 month ago



A blog is a website where entries are made in journal format and displayed in reverse chronological order with the most recent entry appearing first.


At a minimum, they typically combine text, photos and links to other sites. They may also include audio, video and slideshows that are embedded directly into the page. Usually they will focus on a particular topic area. For nonprofits, this would generally mean their organization and the cause that they serve.


Unlike an organizational website, which is generally a one-way communication tool, blogs are specifically designed to support interaction between the blog author and readers of the blog. Using a blog's comment feature, readers can provide feedback to the author on the blog topic and/or share additional information or resources. They may also "talk to" other readers of the blog, as the comments of all readers are visible to anyone who reads the blog.


Readers may "subscribe" to your blog using a process called "RSS" or "Real Simple Syndication." This means that each time you publish a new entry on your blog, readers will be notified.




To learn more about the basics of blogging, try this article. Or read this Nonprofit Guide to the Blogosphere You might also want to learn more about blogging terms. This Introduction to Blogs is also excellent.



Why Would a Nonprofit Want to Have a Blog?

Some of the reasons that nonprofits might want to consider starting and maintaining a blog include:


  • You can update constituents more frequently about the activities of your organization and on other related news and information.


  • Creating and maintaining a blog does not require any specialized expertise. The software to create blogs is very similar to using Word to create a word processing document.


  • Blogs are a two-way communication device. They allow you to find out what issues are important to your readers, to test out new ideas, etc.


  • They are an effective, low-cost marketing tool.


  • They provide a platform for easily sharing other information about your organization, such as event photos, video, etc.


  • Blogs can be a good way to test new marketing messages and ideas before investing in print advertisements or other more expensive media.


  • The best blogs create a sense of community and commitment to a cause. This can be a valuable way to turn people who are interested in your cause into people who are actively supporting and donating to your cause.




To learn more about how a blog might benefit your nonprofit, read Weblogs: The Promise for Nonprofit Organizations. You might also want to read this article on how a blog can be like a business lunch, updating your audience on the latest happenings in your organization.


Museum 2.0 has a great blog post on how to select the right kind of blog for your museum, with links to some examples of each type. Although geared toward museums, the advice and idea is applicable to a range of nonprofit organizations.

 Characteristics of a Great Blog

In this post, I explored the characteristics of a great blog. These 9 lessons for would-be bloggers are also helpful.


31 Days to a Better Blog provides you with 227 tips for improving your blog.





Examples of Nonprofit Blogs



To get a picture of how a nonprofit blog functions, you may want to visit some of these organizations' blogs:


American Rivers' Designing Inward Out Blog The Designing Inward Out blog is a public diary of a non-profit's website redesign process and an attempt to share experiences, test web 2.0 tools, and learn from others who have gone, plan on going through, or thinking about a website redesign.


First Book Blog First Book gives low-income children the opportunity to own and read their first books. Their blog features text, links, photos and podcasts.


Genocide Information Blog This blog focuses on interventions to protect civilians from genocide world-wide. Note that they provide information about how supporters can take action.


The Oceana Network is a global online community of individuals who care passionately about protecting the world's oceans. Their blog is a place for supporters to get the latest news, join stimulating discussions, and find ways they can take action and make a difference.


Frogloop This is the blog for the Care 2 community, a social networking site for individuals seeking to connect through their support of particular causes.


Interplast is an international nonprofit that provides free reconstructive surgery for people in developing nations. They use their So No Child Must Wait blog to share success stories. They also have "sub blogs" that share information about individual surgical team trips and workshop information.


Nonprofit Leaders who Blog







Resources for Building a Blog


Bloggers use specialized software tools to create their blogs. These tools are available for free or at a very low cost. Popular blogging tools include:


Tumblr is probably the easiest, quickest tool for you to use to get started with blogging. While it's probably not the best tool for an organizational blog, it's excellent for introducing staff to the concept of blogging and is a great way for staff to keep track of articles, audio, video, etc. You can learn more about it at the site and through this post.


Typepad which provides easy-to-use tools for creating a professional-looking blog design, writing your blog, inserting photos, links, etc. and for tracking traffic to your blog. There are free and paid versions available.


Wordpress is similar in most all categories to Typepad, with the added advantage that it's free. Wordpress provides some nice tools for adding Widgets to your blog as well.


Blogger is another popular blogging tool. Blogger is free, and operated by Google. The latest release includes the ability for you to use your own domain name, integration with Google Docs and Spreadsheets for collaborative editing and publishing directly to your blog, and the inclusion of labels (tags) for the categorization of your articles.


Vox is a newcomer to the blogosphere. It is probably the easiest of the blogging tools to use. It is also free and it provides a broad range of design templates from which users can choose to create their blogs. Users can easily add photos, audio and video to their site. They can also connect to other bloggers using a "neighborhood" concept that allows users to identify and link to family and friends who are using Vox.


To learn more about blogging tools, their features and benefits, and how to choose the right tool for your organization, read this article from TechSoup




Resources for Starting and Maintaining a Blog


To start and maintain your blog, you may want to read these articles:


Ready to Start Blogging?


How to Start a Blog


Blogging 101


Video Tutorial on Using Blogger to Start a Blog


First Impressions Count


Goals to Achieve in Launching Your Blog


Twenty Usability Tips for Your Blog--Great article on basic blogging principles.


Beginner's Blog Design


How to Write Home Run Posts


Networking Within Your Blog Niche


Four Lessons for Organizational Blogs


Blogging and Transparency Build Trust


Getting Back Your Blogging Mojo--good ideas in the comments.




10 Techniques for Building Your RSS Subscriber Base

What if My Employees Want to Have Their Own Blogs?


As blogging spreads, you may find that your organizations needs to create guidelines for employees who blog. Here's Yahoo's Guide, which might be helpful as a sample.




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