… by Jessica Kirkwood, VP Interactive Strategy & Michael Nealis, Interactive Strategy Coordinator
Points of Light Institute & HandsOn Network
Most of us have a cause that is dear to us.
We are driven to feed the hungry, or house the homeless, or just love the heck out of all of the animals that don’t have a loving home.
But sometimes it is challenging to blog about what we hold dear.
As curators of HandsOn Blog, we’re charged with publishing fresh content on volunteerism on a daily basis.
We compared notes and came up with a list of five strategies we share for creating cause related blog content:
- Listen First – We’ve found that the best way to know how to contribute to the conversation about our cause is to listen first. We both use Google Reader to follow online conversations about volunteerism and stay on top of new developments, news, trends and politics. This gives us ideas and helps us add to the larger conversation via our blog posts.
- Share a Lesson – Over the last year we’ve found that some of our most popular posts are simple “How To” posts. Like 33 Ways to Make a Difference in Schools or 4 Tips for Using Social Media to Mobilize People. Luckily, this kind of post is easy enough for us to create as we can pull and repurpose content from our organizations publications, training materials, speeches, and training toolkits.
- Tell a Story – We love to profile an individual project, volunteer or person whose life has been changed through volunteerism. It’s easy to find the universally compelling center of each story and draw that out, letting each single story represent the larger whole of the cause itself.
- Connect your cause to something unexpected – We’ll often link volunteering to an editorial trend – like New Year’s resolutions – which is, admittedly, expected. But we also look for connections in unlikely places. Recently a cell phone commercial inspired a post about whether or not flash mobs could change the world.
- Use every day experiences so simplify the message– We’re always looking for more resonant ways to talk about volunteering. We try talking about program evaluation (kind of boring) as if it were like eating cookies (kind of awesome). And when we need to write about the intersection of social media and volunteer recruitment we might say, “Did you ever see that commercial for Faberge Organics Shampoo (and Wayne’s World) – where they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on… well ideally, volunteer recruitment via social media is… like THAT.”
Don’t let the cursor blinking against the blank page intimidate you.
Trust us, that cursor is a punk.
To learn more about volunteering, please follow @HandsOnNetwork and visit HandsOn Blog. You can learn more about Jessica and Michael via Twitter @HeyJK and @MikeNealis.
Really good ideas!