Posted by Jay Wilkinson

One of the best ways to add fresh content to your website is with a blog. This will add vitality to your site as well as position you as a thought leader in your space, and when you create a team blog, it’s not a major undertaking for any one person—the responsibility is shared.

That being said, if you’re going to do this, you might as well do it right—don’t add content just for the sake of adding content.

Here are three of six elements I believe are necessary for a great, well-written and effective blog.

1. It tells a great story. There’s so much being said and discussed in the nonprofit space about the importance of telling your story, and for good reason. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Philip Pullman: “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the things we need most in the world.” Stories are what will connect your audience with your cause and your organization. How you’re impacting an individual, a family or your community—these are the kind of stories people want to hear about.

2. It encourages constituent participation. A blog isn’t necessarily just for sharing information; sometimes a blog post may ask me to get involved. What can I do as a result of reading this? How can I help? Where can I make a difference? An effective blog post will communicate something interesting or noteworthy, then inspire or ask me to take action. If a call to action at the end of a post makes sense, then by all means, include it and encourage readers to do something positive.

3. It expresses gratitude and appreciation. I read a research report that came out of Scandinavia a couple years ago about the secret sauce to being happy in life. These researchers did a massive study, and they came back and said, “Well, it’s simple. The people who are the happiest in this world are those who regularly and genuinely express gratitude to others.” Try this experiment. Take a full day, maybe tomorrow, and require yourself to express gratitude ten different times throughout the day. I’d guess that, at the end of the day, you’d feel differently about your life.

The same attitude should be expressed in the way we talk about our organization. An expression of gratitude through our blog posts makes our organization connect in a really important way with the people in our communities. Don’t be afraid to say thank you.