Content ideas for nonprofits

Creating content interesting enough for your PR pitches social media posts etc. is an ongoing challenge for many small businesses, nonprofit organizations etc. However, it shouldn’t be that difficult if you follow a certain template.

  • Interviews: interviews make great content since you can follow a certain question template and get unique answers from your respondents. This is such a sure shot strategy that numerous nonprofits contain interviews with staff or volunteers in their monthly or weekly newsletters. You can spice up the interviews by asking questions about unusual or unique situations the volunteer might have worked on while working for your nonprofit. One of our clients had volunteers working through a blizzard in below 5 to get enough soil samples for their project.

  • Photo features: You can create great content by simply taking a camera with you on all the events and taking candid pictures of your volunteers working on project or your event attendees. This works even better if you work with animals, children etc. which typically makes great pictures.

  • Repurpose comments into testimonials: Have you seen how lots of nonprofits have testimonials from their volunteers, local businesses, office bearers of local chamber of commerces etc.? Its a great way to fill newsletter space as well as doing complete stories about what people are saying about you in your community. You dont even have to go out and get new soundbytes: just browse through your existing data such as survey comments, feedback forms, guest book comments etc. and repurpose it into content. You should also write your own headlines to summarize testimonials and provide a spin to the text itself. For example, if you are running a day long volunteer program to clean the local river to create sustainable habitat for fisheries such as Trout, you can put a headline announcing “thoughest sunday you’ll ever spend by the river”.

  • Create a media kit: It doesnt matter what kind of story you are trying to write but always have a media kit containing recent press releases, artwork such as logos etc., photographs of recent events, quotes from key people at the organization etc.

  • Stay aware of latest news: One of the easiest ways to craft content is by matching it with recent events happening elsewhere in the world. When Flint, MI lead water crisis happened, numerous nonprofits around the world not organized numerous events, workshops, water testing and filter distribution programs in their community but also generated numerous content such as opinion pieces, explaining the recent scientific studies coming out in layman’s terms, etc. all of which was picked up by local press. You should start by making a list of keywords relevant to your organization’s activities and using an alert service such as Google alerts, Specrom Alerts, talkwater alerts etc. to send you an email whenever news with similar keyword is published. This way you will never be out of the loop and will always have content ideas.

  • Follow celebrity charity events and causes: There are lots of celebrities who have their favorite issues they support and quite a few times a year they will host a event or do something to mark their cause. If your organization’s mission statement falls in line with these causes than you should do a content feature that marks the event locally and generate some press that way.

  • Create News feeds on your website: You are mainly writing content so that people can find you and your website can become a resource for everyone interested in your cause, right? how about taking it further and also creating a news feed page on your website where you aggregate recent news on the topics/keywords of your choice? If your organization works in the area of water pollution, than you can tell your web developer to take a commercial news feed like Specrom News API that allows filtering by keywords so that you get all the news of the days with keywords of your choice.

  • Get ideas from Google Trends: You can stay on the top of trending topics and search queries by using Google Trends that lets you visualize search queries popularity over time. It also allows you to see related topics which provides further details on why the search queries are spiking and how you can capitalize on it and start creating content for exactly things your audience is searching for. Another feature I like about Google trends is that it gives you interest score by subregion, so that you can visually see where most traffic is coming from. In case those geographic ares do not correspond with where you are active, than you can skip that query and do content research for something else. Just as an example, I searched for Flint (city in Michigan) and I saw a strong spike in search queries in Dec 2015-Feb 2016 corresponding with Flint, MI water crisis that culminated in a emergency declaration by state Governor on 5 Jan, 2016. If you look in related topics section, Google Trends correctly guesses that it had something to do with water (chemical compound) and a water crisis.