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Want social proof that your nonprofit should have an online presence?

I submit this case study for your consideration.

The Networked Nonprofit is a book by Allison Fine and Beth Kanter, which you should really go buy, okay?

This story is from the Networked Nonprofit.

WildlifeDirect” a nonprofit based in Nairobi, Kenya, tried this approach to get more donations. In 2004 a group of committed conservationists led by Dr Richard Leakey became convinced that social networks provided the best opportunity for securing a future for wildlife, an approach that could harness the collective energy of countless good conservationists and combine it with millions of individuals around the world who have a genuine concern for the future of the planet’s wildlife.

In 2007, WildlifeDirect had seven blogs, each written about a specific animal by a conservation professional in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The blogs were an opportunity to engage people in conversations about the daily challenge of conservation work in Africa. They also raised $350,00 to pay rangers salaries and help save mountain gorillas in the Virunga National Park. Two years later, they have over seventy blogs, donations have risen fourfold, as has website visitation. They treat donors as partners in their programs. The WildlifeDirect blogs enable individual donors around the world to communicate directly with the people that they are funding. This crowd can respond to any conservation emergency much more swiftly and efficiently than a bureaucracy can.” -Pg 141, The Networked Nonprofit

So guess what? Just as we suspected, specificity on the web and transparency means you’re going to get funded more.

So, why not make a blog for each kind of animal you’re studying or trying to save? Why not make a blog for each of your research teams to contribute to?

Why not make a blog for each one of your programs? Because, you say, “Who would update the damn thing? Who would read it?”

Donors would, for a start. And people who are interested in helping the specific kind of people or animals that you serve would find it much more easily.

I really wanted to do this at my last full time position, but we were mired in bureaucracy so it never happened. But you know what? If you really want to make a blog for your nonprofit, you can. WordPress does a decent free blog. Weebly is another. If you want to make 10 blogs for your nonprofit, you can.

A word of caution, I made a myspace page for my nonprofit in 2007, and my boss was all, “Oh no u didn’t!” and reprimanded me because it was not something that she understood. So, do your best to get your boss’s approval before you make the blog. Show this blog post, get The Networked Nonprofit and show examples of a LOT of other nonprofits that have used the web successfully to get more donations. Then go do it!

PS. If you liked this post, here’s another post I wrote about “The Networked Nonprofit” and here’s a link to their wiki page where you can keep learning and exploring!