You’ve heard it time and time again: Your nonprofit should have a blog. Marketing your nonprofit organization is about more than just posting on social media or sending out the occasional email newsletter; it’s about telling your NPO’s story. A blog on your nonprofit’s website gives you the opportunity to tell that story time and time again, to update constituents on current events within the organization and to share about the significance of your mission.
As our CEO Jay Wilkinson says, “You blog so that you can tell your organization’s entire story—not just one chapter. A blog allows you to tell your story over time and take your readers on a journey; it gives you a platform for storytelling.” So, you know you should be blogging. But, who should actually do the blogging?
Which begs the question, what about outsourcing the work? Businesses, individuals and nonprofits alike often utilize marketing or creative agencies to “ghostwrite” their blog for them, which keeps the blog updated, but requires less time commitment from the nonprofit itself. Both outsourcing and insourcing have benefits and challenges. Let’s examine the pros and cons of when to in-house your nonprofit’s blog and when to outsource it instead.
Keeping the Blog In-House
Depending on the NPO’s financial resources, your first instinct for the website blog might be to keep the work in-house. Many nonprofits have this mindset, and for some of them it works out well. However, there can definitely be cons when trying to force the blog to function in-house. The greatest challenge when running your nonprofit’s blog in-house is simply finding someone who has the time to run it.
Jay Wilkinson suggests using four to six people to work together as a team and handle the nonprofit’s blog. Your team can be made up of volunteers, staff members, donors… anyone with a vested interest in the organization who has a gift in writing. Depending on your size and capacity, this can be a hefty request. The team is responsible for generating new blog ideas, scheduling out content and of course, writing the blog articles themselves. Managing this task requires a significant amount of time, effort and knowledge in blogging.
Of course, all of this assumes the nonprofit has individuals on-hand with writing capabilities who want to manage the blog. And if hiring a new staff member for the job is on your brain, that can bring with it certain challenges as well. The latest Forrester research found 96% of chief marketing officers said the breadth of skills required to succeed in marketing has increased dramatically within the last few years. The same study found 44% say they struggle to find the right combination of people and skills in the job market. Hiring a new staff member to help manage your marketing and blogging efforts can work; however, it can also be a more expensive option with less-tangible results if the staff member doesn’t have all of the necessary marketing and writing background knowledge.
On the other hand, if your nonprofit does have a good team of individuals ready, willing and capable of managing the organization’s blog, keeping the work in-house can be a great option. The greatest advantage: Your NPO has control over the entire situation. You decide how much time you want to invest, what type of content you want to create and how you want to produce the articles. More than likely, individuals with a vested interest in your cause also have significant knowledge about your mission, and might be better capable of exemplifying the mission through writing than an outside party. When staff members or volunteers handle the writing, they have a complete background and insider knowledge to the inside workings of your organization, your target audience and how best to reach your constituents.
Outsourcing the Blog
On the flip side of all this is the option to outsource your NPO’s blog. While keeping the blog in-house allows your organization a significant amount of control, outsourcing it relinquishes a lot of that control in the process, such as time management, content and quality.
For example, Dale Traxler from Practical Ecommerce shares, “Another challenge is that good service providers tend to be very busy. I used a talented graphic designer, for example, that I enjoyed. As his clientele grew, it was more difficult to get his time when I needed it. Eventually I was forced to find a new service provider with more flexibility.”
While the majority of professional bloggers do have strong time management skills, there’s no guarantee when or how they will be able to handle your organization’s blogging needs.
Outsourcing the NPO’s blog can also face one big challenge: cost. Depending on how you want your blog managed, how many articles you consistently want and how in-depth you want the articles, outsourcing can be more or less expensive than keeping the work in-house. For example, if you have an intern working for your organization without pay, then having him or her handle the blog will be cheaper than hiring a professional writer. However, you might not get the same results. If you require a significant amount of writing with in-depth research, it might be more expensive to hire an outside professional rather than work with a team member.
Nevertheless, depending on the articles’ length, how many you want and how long you want to maintain the blogging relationship, outsourcing your blog can also be remarkably less expensive than keeping it in-house. Rather than paying multiple staff or hiring a new employee to manage some of the marketing work, you instead pay one agency for one specific project at a time. More often than not, this ends up being the more cost-effective solution for blogging.
Outsourcing the blog also frees up your organization’s time and resources to be better allocated toward serving your clients and mission. Usually, outsourcing also means working with a professional writer who has the knowledge and skills to get your organization the best return on investment for your blogging efforts. Not only do you free up time within your own organization, but by bringing in professionals at a respectful price, you can be guaranteed to grow blog viewers, website visitors and your cause overall.
There’s no all-encompassing solution when deciding whether or not to outsource your nonprofit’s blog. Perhaps your best option is a combination of the two, depending on the topic you want to write about. Considering the scope of the blog, either option could be the best financial fit, and both have their own challenges and benefits. Evaluate your nonprofit’s current blogging needs to decide which choice works best for you, and help grow your cause through valuable blogging efforts.
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