How should non-profits Blog?

Sure there are the technical questions, WordPress or Moveable Type? (pssst..we love Moveable Type and TypePad) but another question that comes up when I talk to other non-profits is what should our voice be? Do we have one blogger speak or many? What should our core personality be? Well I got a chance to talk to my new friend Rohit Bhargava about this. He is the author of a new book about Personality on the Web and in Social Media. Check out the interview below.

1) What should non-profts have as their personality?

The premise of PNI is very interesting when it comes to non-profits because so many of them have some of the necessary ingredients for personality already that companies sometimes struggle with.  For example, having a base of employees that share the same belief is often a core element of what non-profits already have.  A second is a passionate leader – which again is a common occurence in many nonprofit groups.  For others, simply the idea of more cause or issue related than profit motivated means they can be more easily forthcoming about what they stand for.  Those are general answers though, because I don’t think there is a single answer for every non-profit.

2) How should non-profits treat the Blogosphere?

Blogs represent a wonderful opportunity for nonprofits to do two things.  The first is find like-minded people who may become advocates, members or conversation starters about the mission of the non-profit.  The second is that using blogs can be a completely authentic and transparent way to share the mission of what the nonprofit tries to do with the world.

3) How can non-profits find "voices" in their orginizations to represent
them?

This is a great question and one that is the main topic that I try to talk about in Chapter 2 of the book, which is all about "Accidental Spokespeople."  The idea of that chapter is that some voices will emerge and you need to find the right way to engage them.  The deeper answer which gets to the point of your question is how to find those people in the first place.  Again, it is the same method of encouraging these voices to come out and giving them support to try and do it.  In the American Cancer Society, for example, it might be to create an easy to use platform, set everything up and then start to talk to people about it and see who you can get interested.  Most often with social media, it’s not the person to whom it is assigned, but the person who is most passionate about it that really propels an effort forward.

4) How serious of a personality should a health non-profit have online?

Serious personality – not sure if I’m sure what you mean by that, but if you’re asking how important the online channel is, I would say it’s vital no matter what the organization.  For a health non-profit, I think the main reason why is because the online channel is hands down the easiest way to meet and connect with other people around the world who also have an interest or a personal stake in a particular issue.

5) What made you want to write this book (besides the lure of fast cars and
speaking royalties)?

Fast cars?  I’ve got a four month old so fast cars are unfortunately not in my near future! 😉  I’d say one big reason is because I always wanted to write a book and having long writing background (lots of poetry and some playwriting) so this was a natural step.  The other reason was the I believe in the topic and think that it’s a new and interesting one that not that many people are talking about yet.  Hopefully this book can change that.  And finally, getting introduced as an author at events is pretty damn cool, I have to admit.

Good advice for all of us!

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