If you work with nonprofit marketing in any sort of capacity, then you are all too familiar with the number of communications options available to spread awareness and education to your audience.
Social media, emails, direct mail, special event materials, and even simple pamphlets are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to presenting information to your volunteers and donors.
Since we launched our podcast for nonprofits, we’ve been thinking a lot about how podcasting could help nonprofits share their stories and work with more people. Have you considered creating a podcast for your nonprofit?
33% of the US population has listened to at least one podcast in their lifetime, and 10% of the population listens to at least 6 podcasts every week. The typical podcast listener is between 18-34, college educated, and has an annual household income over $100,000. If this sounds like your nonprofit’s audience, then it’s time to start recording!
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What Is Podcasting?
Podcasting is a type of recorded audio media that is aired to your audience in a series.
Podcasts present information about your nonprofit in a casual way to both educate your listeners while promoting your cause and cross-referencing your communication avenues (website, social media, blog, etc.).
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The key to a successful podcast series that draws a regular crowd is consistency. You’ll want to create new content at regular intervals and maintain a consistent tone from one episode to the next.
Whether you choose to continue one particular topic or storyline throughout your series or tackle a new topic every week is entirely up to you.
One of the biggest reasons why your nonprofit should consider podcasting is the accessibility of audio. Listeners can conveniently enjoy your podcast through their mobile devices, music players, or computers whether they’re driving a car, exercising, or mowing the lawn. It’s a great medium for connecting with your audience while they’re on the go.
Benefits of Nonprofit Podcasting
There are many ways that nonprofits may benefit from incorporating podcasts into their communications calendar.
Creates a Loyal Listener-Base
Listeners are encouraged to subscribe to the podcast to ensure that they have access to your latest content. By providing podcast sessions that are informative and high-quality, you are ensuring that your audience returns.
Many nonprofits are feeling the pressure to diversify their messaging to reach a broader audience.
Everyone from donors to those receiving services need to be made aware of a nonprofit’s scope. Providing education about your cause may just be the thing that motivates a prospective donor to give or a listener to seek services.
Here’s a great podcast example by The Humane Society. The episode provides background on a new bill that would punish spectators of animal fights, and encourages listeners to take action.
You need your audience to view you and your nonprofit as a leader in your field. An informative podcast will do this.
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Here is a great example from Unicef. In this podcast series, the topic of human trafficking is discussed along with action steps.
Podcasting is a relatively affordable way to reach your audience. However, there are some startup costs to consider, such as investing in quality microphones. Also, consider if you want to save money and edit the audio files on your own, or outsource the editing.
Check out this informative blog post from Unsettle on the costs associated with creating your own podcast.
Those that listen to podcasts are sometimes not able to read or view your other marketing and educational materials. Podcasts provide an audible way for folks to listen on-the-go in the car, at home, or at the office.
Is Podcasting Right For Your Nonprofit?
The benefits of podcasting are significant, but there are some things to consider before you start recording.
Ask yourself the following before starting your own podcast:
Do You Have The Content?
Podcast sessions are most often made available on a regular basis, which means that you must have enough content to create an entire series. Consider a mix of new and recycled content to appeal to both your newer and well-informed listeners.
Though your content will depend on your intended audience, here are a few suggestions to get your wheels turning:
- Follow the stories of your nonprofit’s workers
- Interview specialists in your field
- Tell the story of the people your nonprofit serves
Tip: Plan your podcast topics ahead of time to stay organized.
Do You Have The Time?
The biggest strain that podcasting will put on your nonprofit is with time. Ensure that staff will have enough time to research, record, and promote the material. Keep in mind that, on average, it takes 4 times the amount of time to create a podcast than it does to listen to it. If you don’t have the resources to properly podcast, it may not be worth the effort.
“Keep in mind that, on average, it takes 4 times the amount of time to create a podcast than it does to listen to it…” tweet this
Keep these considerations in mind when starting a podcast:
- Know whether you plan to release a certain number of episodes per season or year round
- Decide the frequency (weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc.)
- Don’t forget to have a few episodes recorded and ready for release before you start promoting your series.
Tip: Incorporate podcast planning into your fundraising and communications calendar.
Do You Have The Technology?
To record a podcast, you need a few simple tools:
- Editing software (common programs: Audacity, GarageBand, Adobe Audition, ProTools). Note that if you choose to outsource your audio editing, then your editor may provide this software.
Tip: Find a recording software program that works with your current technology so you don’t have to worry about upgrading.
If you have the content, time, and technology necessary to start a podcast, then by all means start recording!
Starting your own podcast takes commitment, but the potential for engagement is significant. If you are at a loss about where to start, here’s a simple tutorial and if you need some inspiration, here is a nonprofit podcast list with 100+ podcasts to learn from.
Remember that the information provided in your podcast may be the factor that encourages action!