How Nonprofits Can Use Tumblr


Before there was Pinterest, there was Tumblr. Without Tumblr, there would be no Pinterest.

As if there weren’t enough social media sites to manage these days, today we are going to take a look at Tumblr and see if it is a good fit for your non-profit organization.

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a short form blogging site that allows users to post photos, videos, blog posts, and audio recordings into what is called a tumblelog. (Yes, it’s a real word. Stick with me here.) Users can follow tumblelogs and re-blog or “like” posts . . . just like on Pinterest.

Who is Tumblr’s Audience?

Every social media site has an audience. Facebook and Twitter’s are the broadest, and they are the most popular. However, sometimes finding a niche audience can be very effective when it comes to reaching more people. The average Tumblr user is under the age of 25. While they probably aren’t big money donor prospects due to their young age, Tumblr users can be very powerful online advocates for your cause. According to Wikipedia, “as of June 8, 2012, Tumblr has over 58.9 million blogs and more than 24.7 billion total posts.”

Young people who may not be able to contribute to your organization today, might be able to do so tomorrow and don’t you want to be on the top of their list? In the meantime, these individuals can be talking about what your organization is up to or become a volunteer.

To put it in fundraising terms, asking these young people to advocate on your behalf will have a “self-cultivating” effect and build a very strong donor base for your organization in the future.

What is a successful Tumblr post?

Just like with most social media sites, you want to create a post that users will want to share with others. (Sharing really is caring.) On Tumblr, most users will like a post if it is short. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of long posts out there in the Tumblrverse, but they are usually by people who have an established and large audience.

Photos, lists, videos, and questions do well, and I think it is helpful if you include links citing original sources so that if your post is interesting I will be able find more to read on the subject. Additionally, you can use Tumblr to drive traffic to your agency’s website by creating a short post with a link back to an article on your webpage. You might also consider sharing a photo from your latest event on Tumblr.

Tumblr also has a feature that allows users to ask the tumblelog’s owner a question. Posting answers to those questions is a great way to interact with your followers.

How do I get started on Tumblr?

Sign up.

  • Take a look at what other nonprofit organizations are doing on the site. See what type of posts work best for an organization like yours.
  • Follow tumblelogs in your community and actively reblog and like their posts.
  • Tell your volunteers, supporters, and donors that you are now on Tumblr.
  • Write a few posts and see which ones your audience responds to most.

If you are looking for a younger audience with whom to share your content, Tumblr just might be the place for you. If you find that Tumblr is not a place for you, I still recommend signing up and claiming your organization’s space on the site so that no one else does. I also recommend using Tumblr as another source for finding out what is going on in your online community.

For more Tumblr tips, check out this Mashable article.

Does your organization already have a tumbleblog? Post a link in the comment section below and let us know what works best for you on this platform.

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About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on June 18, 2012, in Fundraising, Mondays with Marissa, nonprofit, resource development, technology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

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