Shelley Feist

7 Signs Your Nonprofit is Headed Toward a Content Crash

Ah, nonprofit leadership. It’s tough and you are to be commended for making it through the last 24 months.   

I feel your pain.  

Over the past 20 years, I worked as both a funder and as an executive director for a <$1million nonprofit. Am I wrong or are small nonprofits MORE difficult to run than large nonprofits? I figured we might agree on that. 

Let’s bring an octopus into this 

Small nonprofit executive directors are like that cartoon octopus from way back that had a telephone receiver at the end of each tentacle. 

Eight arms may not even be enough for you to get your job done. Heck, it takes two arms just to type on your laptop!

So we can agree there are soooo many topics we could talk about in the space of nonprofit management, mission, and operations. 

Let’s start with the one that drove me to get into this line of work: content creation! 

I know you and your team feel it – the pressure to produce great content daily that will stand out in the crowded digital space. 

Is your content working to create a community?

How does your organization show up in the digital space?  

Do the people who really need to be part of your community have a way to find you? Is your virtual door open for them to come into your caring community? Do you have systems in place to grow your audience and to turn that audience into a community of supporters?

These are fundamental questions every nonprofit needs to ask. 

Your content should please your audience, and not lead to burnout for your small staff. 

Maybe you don’t have the bandwidth to overhaul your content just now. 

But let’s take a look at 7 signs that might hint at a coming content “crash” for your nonprofit organization.

1. You are posting everywhere.

If you are showing up on multiple digital platforms you’re more likely to connect with many people, right? Well, the number of people who see you is not as important as the type of person who sees you. It’s risky to show up everywhere and to get nowhere with your core audience.

2You’re creating a lot of original content – some of it good.

Has your team commented about how difficult it is to generate new and good-quality content? And, who is seeing all of this great content, anyway? It may be time to ease up on the pushing out and focus on calling your ideal audience towards you. 

3. Your entire team contributes content.

It’s great to activate the talents of your team. Who keeps track of what will get posted, when, and where? Your small team faces a big challenge balancing volume and quality right now. If everyone is responsible, no one is responsible.  

4. You follow a content calendar.

If the calendar governs your content creation, it could mean days wasted. Do you have a content strategy – written down and with buy-in from your team? Filling in a calendar for the sake of showing up daily might be contributing to draining the energy from your content tank.

5. As an executive director, you’ve got to delegate content posting to your team.  

Of course, you ought to delegate content posting to someone on your team. But what is the foundation of your content strategy – what is the guide your staff follows when posting content? Your content strategy should be developed from the place of your organization’s heart, soul, and purpose. If it isn’t your content might be a mishmash that does little to inspire the kind of engagement you know you need to succeed in your mission. 

6. Your team uses the words that everyone else uses.

Of course, you’re posting about the people you serve, making a difference, and thanking your donors. But is it starting to feel like word salad? Identifying your organization’s power words is an important aspect of a content strategy. 

7. You have a pretty impressive email list. 

You’ve grown your email list over several years. It’s great to have a lot of people signed up to receive your email. Or is it?  

Digging deeper into your email list and email performance can be cringe-worthy. But if you haven’t done it in a while, it is probably time to do so. 

Content creation is a lot to stay on top of – and given how you help people and the planet, it should not take more staff time and attention than is required. 

A content crash could greatly slow your team down. And that won’t help you stay focused on your important mission. 

P.S. Because no one wants to crash, grab this new year content clarity quick start guide.

I’m Shelley and I can set your team up for a humane content re-tune that makes your team feel like rock stars and your audience feel connected to your mission. 

Book a free discovery call with me! In 30 minutes we can solve one of your communications challenges. 

Art to lift the nonprofit executive spirit!

In every blog post, I’ll include an art moment. I do it for two reasons

1) Because art is my second-greatest passion (after supporting non-profits) and

2) Because art generates ideas, and how could this be bad. So … enjoy! 

Because you have at least 8 things going on at any given time, I encourage you to express yourself by drawing a cartoon octopus. (BTW, Best to draw this while you are on a long conference call)! Video off.

Here’s one tutorial from wikiHow.  

And because you’re busy – this equally cute one shows you how to draw an octopus in just 4 steps!

Please don’t be shy with your creation! Share it! Your fellow nonprofit executives need to know about you. Send me your octopus drawing (I sure hope you drew it while you were on a long conference call) to and I will give you a shout-out in my next blog post. Be sure to include your name and your organization.

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