Because the best blogs for nonprofits aren’t necessary specific to nonprofits. I first came across this image on a fantastic social media blog by Buffer (an awesome social sharing web application). Based on the heralded creative advertiser James Webb Young’s technique for producing ideas, the graphic demonstrates the concept that the ability to make connections is the key to creative and consistent idea-making.
This demonstrates why focusing solely on nonprofit-specific channels is not always the best use of time, especially at the eye of the content marketing revolution.
According to a study cited in the Harvard Business Review, nine out of ten organizations (of all kinds) now rely on content marketing to cultivate relationships with customers. Nonprofits need to keep a pulse on their cause-sector and overall industry trends while also staying up-to-date with technology, marketing, storytelling, social media, design standards, user experience, SEO…and the list grows.
We’ve put together our favorite blogs and sites, both nonprofit-focused and otherwise, so you can spend less time searching and more time making the connections you need to produce the great ideas that allow you to be innovative and successful in your mission. Please add your favorites in our comment section or tweet us @Classy – We’d love to hear your input and add more to this list!
News, thought leadership and best practices
Stanford Social Innovation Review – My go-to for uncovering new industry data and discovering new perspectives on everything from nonprofit technology to fundraising trends to cutting edge development work.
Bill Gates – the philanthropy giant is a prolific writer and thinker, with lots of great book recommendations and insights into the world of international development.
Harvard Business Review – marketing trends to management best practices, you’re sure to find a ton of great information on the HBR blogs.
Skoll – although it doesn’t post daily, the Skoll blog provides a plethora of videos, lectures and fascinating articles that highlight the work of social entrepreneurs across the globe. As one of the most comprehensive resources out there, I’d definitely recommend watching some of the recordings from the Forum.
World Economic Forum – Great articles, great website. Go.
HuffPost Impact – the great thing about the HuffPost is its range of voices. The many guest bloggers write about unique experiences working in a variety of roles at nonprofits, from fundraising to founding. This is a great resource for anecdotal learning.
Nonprofit with Balls – Vu Le, the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps based in Seattle, shares his outlook on life and work with fantastic prose and outright hilarity. A gem of a blog, its candid pages are a must read for any nonprofit professional.
New York Times, Washington Post, Economist, the Guardian and other traditional news outlets – Don’t discount local, national and global news outlets to get fundraising ideas, industry tends and read up on the latest studies about the sector. Set Google news alerts for topics you’re interested in. There might be a lot to sift through, but there are definitely invaluable diamonds in the rough out there.
Social media, SEO, and marketing
Buffer – Need to know something about social media? Buffer is a one-stop-shop for the best info on social media trends, tips and engagement tricks (and a pretty great social sharing app, too).
Moz – the inbound marketing masters, Moz offers great blog posts and videos for all your marketing needs. Join Moz founder Rand Fishkin for Whiteboard Fridays where he delivers quick, 10-minute workshops on a variety of marketing topics.
Kissmetrics – they’re data experts on marketing to CRO (conversion rate optimization). If you have questions about A/B testing, SEO, leads, conversions, landing pages, growth, social media (…you get the idea), visit this blog regularly.
GrowthHackers Community – Growthhackers consists of a lot of SaaS (software as a service) marketers, but the community members have endless insight on growth, marketing tools and platforms and running A/B/multi-variate tests that will be useful to your nonprofit too.
John Haydon – focused on nonprofit marketing and social media, John Haydon has great, straightforward insights for organizations.
Susan Chavez – social media news and how-to’s.
Inbound.org – another community, Inbound.org is a forum to share content and ideas about inbound marketing.
Technology, data and design
UserOnboard – Ok, I love UserOnboard and I’ve learned a ton from this site. Critic Samuel Hulick takes down a variety of products and services, providing amazing commentary on what works and doesn’t work for onboarding new users. The tear downs are hugely useful for understanding good copy, design that converts, and blockers, which can be immensely insightful for a nonprofit organization struggling to get potential supporters from your landing page all the way through your donation form.
Unbounce – the landing page, A/B testing veterans also publish some great tear downs of landing pages and website copy, plus useful articles on conversion optimization.
99 Designs – design trends and tools galore.
Awwwards – pretty, inspiring and interesting.
Canva – design trends and how to leverage them (also a cool and easy design app).
Storytelling, personal growth and productivity
Medium – I’m pretty passionate about Medium (read more, here). From genuinely enjoyable, casual reading experiences to life-changing insights, the platform has shaken up blogging. With a focus on quality content, you can find coding how-tos, entrepreneurship inspiration, life hacks, nonprofit stories and much more. Read daily.
HelpScout – this help desk software blog covers much more than customer support. With excellent writing, HelpScout explores company culture, personal growth, productivity, leadership, and expression.
Contentuity 360 – nonprofit blogging, storytelling, and marketing best practices.
The Storytelling Nonprofit – a great site with lots of advice for nonprofits on honing storytelling skills.
Daniel Melbye – always something new and interesting, with a fresh perspective on fundraising, storytelling and social media for nonprofits.
Seth Godin – short, quirky posts on life, learning, entrepreneurship and more. Tons of inspiration, insight and wisdom.
Joel.is – the first time I encountered Joel’s blog, I was hooked for hours. Honest, sincere and revealing, Joel’s writing is both inspirational and insightful.
Zen Habits – life hacking, period. Parenting to procrastination, you’ll learn how to harness the power of you and accomplish your goals.
Quora – ask a question, any question. Find an answer, any answer.
LinkedIn Pulse – LinkedIn is an awesome resource for learning and sharing fundraising tips. Browse LinkedIn channels, follow relevant thought leaders and professionals and get yourself into some nonprofit LinkedIn groups!
Re:Charity – This blog is managed by Brady Josephson and we had to add it to this list. All modern nonprofits should follow its tips and insights which cover everything from fundraising to storytelling.
Big Duck – This group specializes in nonprofit fundraising and marketing – and it shows.