we promised to discuss the connection that can be made between your nonprofit’s Tumblr site and RSS Readers around the world. Thus far in this series we have focused on the Tumblr side of things, but today it might be of greater value to focus on RSS, what it is and how it can be used as a means to keep your audiences fully up-to-date with your work.
The meaning of the acronym ‘RSS ‘has been debated, but not hotly. Most people understand it as ‘Really Simple Syndication’, though early in its history the letters meant ‘Rich Site Summary’. The readers are also known as ‘news aggregators’ because they pull changes from websites and present them in a listed format for the reader’s convenience − allowing him or her to click on any of the headlines of the ‘new news’ of a website to read the full story. Given the fact that your nonprofit wants to be making news, you want to give your followers the opportunity to sign up for your ‘feed’, and Tumblr makes that process painless.
The technology was developed over a decade ago (remember ‘Netscape‘?), and is still regularly used. But its features are rather more hidden from most of us by Facebook and email blasts. In a sense, Facebook is a massive RSS network: you find organizations’ pages (websites) and subscribe to them by ‘Liking’ them. Then when a charity posts photos from the weekend’s work at the community garden, your Facebook page pulls in those changes for you to see in the Timeline.
Here’s a great short video that nicely sums up what RSS can do for you as a consumer − with hints about why you want to produce content about your nonprofit for your followers’ RSS aggregators:
Facebook does not in itself inspire giving of time or money. The best way to get people engaged is via email and a blog of your charity’s great work.to solve both those issues. First (assuming you have your Tumblr account ), go to your Dashboard and make your way down to the boxes pertinent to RSS (screenshot to the left). Shortening the feed address would be handy for your readers, especially if you want them to share it on Twitter (You do, don’t you?!).
If you want to tie your blog directly into FeedBurner (now run under the auspices of Google, so well worth it to get the words out!), click the scond box and save. You will be taken to the registration page of FeedBurner, where you enter the address of your Tumblr site. Note Bene! You must open your site from the settings and get that address. Do you use the URL of your blog’s dashboard, or your readers will get notice when you change settings, which they won’t be able to see. Then they’ll delete your account from their readers in irritation. Not good.
Now you have an address that your constituents can click on in their Google accounts or within the RSS Reader of their choice, and when you update the blog with a photo, a video, and/or a great story your subscribers will be updated with the title and a couple of lines of opening text. The reader can then decide to click through to your site, so make your title and opening attention-grabbing.
So Tumblr continues to show its mettle that is of far greater value than its free cost would suggest. But it is not the only platform in town. Next, we’ll look at some if its competitors so you can weight some costs and benefits of this platform with some others. And if you have a platform that your organization is especially happy with, please let us know so we can include it!