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Storytelling is the Evergreen Content Your Nonprofit Needs

Do you feel like your nonprofit’s content is too event-focused to be evergreen? Here are a few ways you can also publish evergreen content — with storytelling.

We’ve discussed why a nonprofit should blog before. But what should you write? As a nonprofit, your fundraising is often campaign driven, much like marketing campaigns in the for profit world. And that makes for great content. But how long will it be relevant?

Though the events may end, the stories that emerge, the results of the good work, and the people whose lives are changed continue on.

What is evergreen content?

Evergreen refers to trees and plants (most popularly, conifer and oak) that aren’t deciduous. Meaning, they don’t loose their leaves seasonally, stop photosynthesis, etc. In the context of blogging and content marketing, evergreen means it’s always applicable and relevant; it’s not seasonal.

“Instead, evergreen content represents the posts and articles on your blog that will always be relevant to your audience, compared to topics that may change over time.” Sujan Patel – Search Engine Journal

Blog versus Static Pages

A blog is generally the content on your web property that displays in reverse chronological order where static pages never change. As far as the site’s taxonomy goes, pages are considered to be a priority and, therefore, more important.

As part of an evergreen content strategy for your nonprofit, static pages should, by their very nature, be evergreen — always relevant. This would include your mission statement, team page, and contact information.

“The pages on your website that don’t change very often, like your About Us pages and basic program descriptions, are evergreen content. You should schedule a reminder in whatever to-do list tracking or calendar system you use to double-check those pages on your website at least once a quarter to ensure they are still accurate.” Kivi Leroux Miller 

How often should you update?

Better question is should you have to update? If the content is, in fact, evergreen, it should never need updating. However, there may be a few facts or figures that need updating. Plus, updating content certainly is a big plus for those Google bots that crawl your site.

There was some debate in a conference I attended about what evergreen is. Is a post like “Top 10 Fundraising Tips for 2014” is evergreen? As long as you update the info and year in the headline, it is.

“Ideally, the topics you choose for your evergreen posts should minimize the amount of follow-up that’s needed to ensure these posts remain valuable resources for members of your audience.” Sujan Patel – Search Engine Journal 

What is the big deal with storytelling?

There are several types of storytelling models such as your how, why, and educational articles. The “values-in-action” model, as Moz describes, is most applicable to nonprofits and cause marketing.

“Values-in-action stories are similar to vision stories and teaching stories, but they focus on the core values you want to reinforce and provide examples.” Isla McKetta – Moz

Why are stories evergreen?

Effective storytelling goes beyond information and touches the soul and emotions of the reader. This type of storytelling is an acquired skill, but any cause should master this art.

Gathering like-minded individuals to believe in your nonprofit enough to volunteer, recruit, and support means they also need to be emotionally invested.

Storytelling doesn’t mean that you need to write a novel. Photos (on Instagram) and videos (on Facebook, YouTube) are powerful. Short posts keep people up-to-date. You can show photos of the trash on a recent beach cleanup as well as your team having fun.

This story-driven content is encouraging and inspiring. Storytelling shows people that they, too, can make a difference. They can help, even in small ways.

Storytelling communicates with your donors that their financial gifts have been effective and put to good use. This increases the probability that they will continue to choose your cause when considering their charitable contributions.

Who are your Storytellers?

You can curate stories not just from your core team or staff. Many times your volunteers have their own stories and perspectives. You have boots on the ground, so to speak, and they have a unique perspective, too.

“Encouraging your supporters to tell their story gives your organization a deeper engagement with your supporters, gives you more moving stories to pass on and gives you more validation of your mission.” Kevin Wolfe – DonorDrive 

You can curate these stories in several ways. Include a form on your website, interview people over the phone, or ask people to email you their stories. You can even coin a hashtag and ask people to use it. With a tool like Storify, it’s easy to curate the tweets of others.

Your nonprofit is creating stories every day. Telling those stories on your site encourages support. Gathering user generated content can be the key to a healthy content calendar.

Inspiration is Evergreen

Stories are evergreen because inspiration never dies — and everyone has a story to tell.

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