My colleague Celeste who blogs at the studio501c blog responded to my invitation to help answer the question "To blog or not to blog that is the question." (The ideas presented in my post are the collective thinking of John Lorance from CompuMentor, Nancy White from Full Circle, and Marshall Kirkpatrick. We will be addressing this issue as part of the session on Nonprofit Blogging at the NTC Conference in Seattle in two weeks. )
Celeste suggests that nonprofits consider the concept of a "business-lunch-blog" -- a simple, general blog that chronicles events and ideas in the life of the nonprofit organization.
"I call it that because the tone and topics are similar to that of a conversation you might have with one of your stakeholders -– a donor, client, staff member, board member -- over lunch. I also think the metaphor helps overcome popular misconceptions about blogs, e.g., that they are only suited to heavy political discussions or chronicles of the antics of your cats."
She makes the point that nonprofit blogs can still be effective with one author and cautions against offering prescriptive blogging rules.
While a business-lunch blog could certainly involve many contributors, it can just as easily and effectively be authored by -- gasp -- a central authority, even -- gasp again -- PR and marketing people, as the case seems to be with this excellent example of a business-lunch blog from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. (The gasps are not poking fun at Beth, just at some of the dogma I’ve heard about nonprofit and business blogging.)
Even if only one person posts to the blog on behalf of the whole organization, I think it’s best, and more in keeping with the more personal nature of blogging, if the poster’s name is published with each entry. (I recommend this especially if there’s a chance that more than one person will post to the blog in the future.) Note, however, that the posts on this well regarded blog of the humanitarian organization Interplast are not identified with a particular author -- proof that a blog can be great even if it doesn’t follow every rule ever published about blogging.
She offers some great examples of what types of post the business lunch nonprofit blog might offer.
Great thinking Celeste! Will be you be in Seattle in two weeks? Or perhaps you'd like to SKYPE into our panel and say a few words?