Writing Content That Engages Nonprofit Supporters

Posted on April 7, 2016 by Debra M

As a nonprofit, one of your key goals for content should be engaging supporters. You want them to know what your organization has been doing to fulfill its mission and help your constituents, and you need them to help you achieve more. Developing a focused content strategy that encompasses your website, blog, social media and email communication will tell your story to supporters and engage them to donate, volunteer, advocate or take action in other ways.

Debra M. is a 5 star writer at WriterAccess

Debra M. is a 5-Star Writer at WriterAccess

Use these five techniques to create content that engages your organization’s supporters:

1. Storytelling

Have your program participants, volunteers, board members, employees and others who have benefited from your organization share their story about how what you do helped them.

These stories can go viral, so be selective in who you ask. Find someone who not only has a good story, but is articulate and engaging when they tell it. Depending on their comfort and charisma on camera, you can decide whether a video or a written piece would best get their message across without distraction.

If you opt for a video, you don’t need expensive equipment, however you do want to make a high-quality piece that is free of background noise, movement and other imperfections.

Letting your storyteller share in their own voice is key – whether it’s a video or a guest blog post, letter to the editor or message for an email campaign. An interview can help guide them in the right direction and keep them focused on your goal. However you decide to do it, having them explain in their words why your organization is great will drive home the point of how you help improve lives and communities.

2. Share External Research

New research comes out every day, and chances are, a lot of it relates to your organization’s mission. Whether you help people, animals or the environment, you can find trusted data and statistics that support the work that you do.

Check out research think tanks like the Urban Institute or Brookings Institute or action groups in your field, like the Natural Resources Defense Council. Begin following reputable organizations, either by subscribing to their newsletter or watching what they post on social media.

When new research catches your eye, think about how the data validates your organization’s work and how your organization can combat the problem. Analyze the findings and put them in context for your organization and mission. Share your ideas in a blog post, social media or an op-ed to position your executives as thought leaders in the field.

CaiaImageJV/Getty Images

CaiaImageJV/Getty Images

3. Illustrate Impact

Your organization likely has mountains of data about the work you’re doing, but are you using it? Illustrate the impact of your work through lists and infographics to break down topics like how donations or volunteers help fulfill your mission or how you are imparting change.

Try to find data that combats misconceptions about your organization or provides insight into how your day-to-day activities fulfill your mission. If your organization helps people learn to read, illustrate the number of total hours participants worked with teachers or coaches or the number of participants who have gone on to earn their GED or get a job.

Pick a few key statistics so that your copy does not become overrun with numbers. A good rule of thumb is to stick with one number or statistic per sentence, and always give context about what the statistic means overall and how it impacts your mission.

4. Give a Sneak Peak

Have you been working on a new initiative or pilot program? Share the good news about your work through a sneak peak. Whether you write a blog post or email campaign or pitch the idea to local news outlets, spread this exciting news so people are enticed to stay tuned and see what’s to come.

Executives and employees are ideal for this type of content. If they will be speaking to journalists, coach them on how to talk about your organization so that the mission stays in focus. Practice having them describe how the program or initiative meets the needs of your community and what supporters can do to take it to the next level.

5. Advocate

Thanks to technology, advocacy can gain traction like never before with email campaigns and social media. Creating templates will help ensure that people are sharing your message in the way that you would like. Provide the social media handles for legislators you are targeting or create unique hashtags so people can easily share, comment and retweet in a way that gets noticed.

You can also choose one of countless online advocacy tools to streamline the process. Make it easy for supporters to contact legislators with CQ Roll Call or Votility, or create a petition on Change.org or iPetitions.

By strategically developing content that engages your supporters, you can help them help you increase your reach and achieve more.

5-Star Writer Debra M helps clients take their ideas from brainstorming to publication. She partners with large organizations, small businesses and independent authors from Silicon Valley to Washington, D.C., and even overseas! Debra has contributed to and fine-tuned websites, social media, blogs, training and marketing materials, financial reports, white papers and case studies, newsletters, trade publications and more.


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