Shelley Feist

The World Called – You Answered

You started a nonprofit organization – now how do you connect with your people?

Setting up “camp” while visiting the family farm in North Dakota.

This year alone thousands of social changemakers in the United States have responded to the needs of people and the planet by setting up nonprofit organizations.  

Organizations providing health and human services in the U.S. alone now number well over 110,000.

Your Message Architecture

While your mission statement announces the change you intend to make in the world, your message architecture is the key to how you will bring others along on that journey of positive change. Message architecture is a fundamental element of a documented content strategy. 

So now, in addition to developing mission and vision statements, setting up a board of directors, getting administrative systems in place, fundraising, finding a bookkeeper that will work for free…. (this is a partial list) – add a content strategy to that list.

Why Have a Content Strategy?

Maybe you haven’t thought too much about a documented content strategy as being fundamental to your starter year success.  

In business a documented content strategy has been found to pay off big time. Even so, data developed by The Content Marketing Institute found that just 40% of B2B marketers and 39% of B2C marketers said they have one.

In my work with starter and small nonprofit organizations, I help founders and their comms teams make the time invested in a content strategy pay off.

Content Operations Mistakes

While showing up consistently on social media is important, many nonprofit organizations make the mistake of setting themselves up to fail by being grossly overextended in two ways

  1. being present on too many social platforms or the wrong platforms
  2. producing tons of content without having in place touchstone filters related to audience needs and interests

These things are problematic because they contribute to core pain you might be feeling as you start out on this amazing leadership adventure –

  • using time wisely – yours and that of your team(s), no matter if paid or volunteer
  • ensuring resources are secured and deployed ethically and effectively
  • demonstrating return on investment on both time and financial resources

Getting Started on the Right Path with Your Online Content!

If you are just starting – really just getting started – then you should join me next week for a worth-your-time free event.  We’ll talk about a 5 step (5 hour) content strategy for starters, and my friend Mychelle will give her expert recommendations of essential low-or-no-cost tools for setting up your content operation.  Mychelle has built dozens of websites, written content and performed SEO work for many nonprofit organizations, and she’s sorted through tools to pinpoint the best ones to get you started at a low price point.


A documented content strategy puts space into your schedule.

It gives you breathing room because you’ve been thoughtful up-front about all aspects of creating and delivering content.

  • You take a whole team approach to content creation and you understand it to be the bridge or structure through which you call in your most passionate advocates and supporters.
  • Your approach is user-informed.  You’re minimizing investment of human resources in developing content that doesn’t resonate or that screams “us-us-us” to the universe
  • You have focus. You’ve made choices and committed to a path that you will monitor and measure over time. 
  • You’ve set up a process. Content development systems – even if basic – ensure a check on quality and addressing user needs.
  • You are clear about and resonate with your brand voice.  All of the copywriting you do, or that is done by contractors for your cause, is developed from this voice.
  • You have a production schedule that you stick to.  You also adjust this to make sure the tendency to over-deliver doesn’t end up throwing you off of the strategy.


A documented content strategy (with all of its elements) and a set of tested tools combined to allow you to engage volunteer support and/or eager but perhaps inexperienced staff support.

The blueprint offered in your user-focused content strategy can be taught and should be discussed with anyone who develops digital, print, audio or video content for your start-up cause. 

Building orientation and workshops into your content operation is critical – maybe especially because you are just forming your content team.  A whole team approach and buy-in on the strategy will help you realize results sooner.

Support for Your Start-up Nonprofit

If you’re ready to do your first simple content strategy, I hope you will follow me on Twitter @ShelleyRFeist or send me a message / follow me on LinkedIn.  I’ll be posting and writing a lot more about small scale content operations and the elements of a content strategy that set you up for success.

You will definitely want to sign up for the StartUp Nonprofit Content Camp sessions scheduled LIVE for next week and join me and Mychelle Garrigan of Firelink Digital Marketing to get your questions answered about tech tools, a 5-step/5-hour content strategy, content operations on a shoestring and how to get all of it started. Register here. It’s free!

See you then!

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