We have sung the praises of Tumblr for the, and we will continue to do so. Tumblr offers nonprofits and charities a free platform (with some themes and extensions costing a few bucks) and host to establish a web presence that is just a couple of clicks away from integrating with your Twitter account and . Tumbr offers elegant simplicity to est up a look and post as quick or as richly developed media-laden posts as your organization cares to produce via its Dashboard.
But most use Tumblr to pursue ‘Tumblogging’. The word morphed from ‘tumblelog’, first used in 2005 but briefly eclipsed by the rather dry ‘microblog’ for a while. It refers to a blog that consists of an ongoing series of focused, but brief, posts that include various visual, aural, and textual media. These tend to be short entries that simply state the immediate context of the subject/object of the post with no effort to tie it to a larger story.
Well, why would a nonprofit want to do that?
Because if you have a Twitter account, you are already doing it. And as you likely have realized with Twitter, your followers do so because you post fairly similar thematic tweets because those themes are pertinent to your nonprofit. Tumblr allows you to have the room and the flexibility to post more than 140 characters − plus a couple of pictures or a video − while keeping the casual tone and updatability of posting to Twitter. It could be the perfect platform for a nonprofit that wants to keep a branded and story-telling presence on the web, but does not want to invest in an in-depth blog.
The term ‘tumblelog’ has risen to the fore in the last couple of years expressly because of Tumblr. But it is not, in fact, the only platform in town. If you are ready to have a bit more control over the look and parts of your tumblelog, consider developing such a blog on WordPress. A ‘plugin’ has been developed that can make setup pretty easy: Wootumblog. With WordPress, you get complete control over your files, which are also easily portable to any web host your organization uses, or changes to in the future. You therefore have opportunity to back up subscriber lists, posts, and comments in case anything were to go wrong at the server. With Tumblr, you use their servers, period.
But with greater control comes greater responsibility: WordPress does not require any coding to get going, but it has a notable learning curve. You will need to invest a few hours for someone to get comfortable at the controls before you make your WP Tumblog go live. Other things to consider with a WP/Tumblog site, are that you will likely be paying for web hosting and you will need to monitor a number of security settings depending on who needs access to publish or respond to comments on the site.
A great thing about Tumblr, often noted, is the simplicity. But one thing that simplicity costs your organization is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Not that Google won’t find your Tumblr site − It will! But WordPress has a number of plugins to speed up that discovery and actively encourage higher ratings within its search matrices for new posts. And getting your charity found via Google searches could be well worth the extra investment to learn the WP platform, especially if you want to create an entire website around the blog.
Either way, a tumblelog could offer your staff and volunteers opportunity to tell the story of your nonprofit’s work over a timespan that will keep constituents engaged and donors connected. If you want to see a few hipper examples of tumblelogging for some inspiration, check out Justin Stravarius’s list. No one will have to work up full stories of a fundraising event or an emergency response to a local concern. Instead, tumblelogging could allow a few of your peers the chance to post their own image or two and their own brief account of what’s going on. Then your followers get the story from a couple of angles while no one is tied in front of a computer or tablet screen for too long at any one time. Indeed, the vitality of presenting your nonprofit’s story in this manner could be part of the dynamism you want to share with your audience.