Podcasting for Nonprofits with Michelle Ames

00:00 / 00:27:04

In episode 8 of our podcast, I talk with with Michelle Ames, host of the podcast WP Coffee Talk and head of Customer Support at Impress.org. Michelle is part of the team of GiveWP, a WordPress donation plugin that is used by thousands of nonprofits.

We chat about:

  • How to convince a nonprofit to consider podcasting
  • Focusing on projects and/or donors for your podcast and what you should and shouldn’t do
  • The art of using a podcast to fundraise
  • How to start a podcast without breaking the bank
  • Ways to find the time and energy to create a podcast

Podcasting hasn’t quite picked up in the nonprofit space, so I thought it would be good to talk with Michelle about what a podcast could mean to an organization. 

We start with the value it could bring and some do’s and don’ts, specifically around podcasting and nonprofits when focusing on projects or donors, or a mix of both.

Nonprofits cannot survive without fundraising and we chat about how to podcast without it being a too much on the sales side.

Michelle wraps things up by giving us a final tip on why nonprofits should consider a podcast for their fundraising and marketing efforts.

We spend time interjecting our own experiences with nonprofits, so you will want to listen in to this jam-packed conversation around podcasting and nonprofits.   

Insights from Michelle about Nonprofits and Podcasting

Reasons for nonprofits to start a podcast

Storytelling is one way to do that because storytelling allows us to make it real, to connect on a human level and maybe tug on those heartstrings a little bit. So we can use all those different avenues to tell stories. Social media is a great way to tell stories, your blog or your website is a great way to tell stories, but podcasting is a phenomenal way to do that as well because you get to hear people tell stories in their own voice, not just read it. And with the inflection, you actually hear somebody’s heart in the way that they are connected to that nonprofit.

If a nonprofit were to do a podcast, I would expect it would be more around what their mission and goal is. My suggestion isn’t to do a fundraising podcast because a fundraising podcast is going to get really tired.

Focus on your projects

Talk about what you do and what you do well, focus on your goal. Focus on your mission, tell people what it is that you do and how you meet that pain point of your community.

Get interesting people on. Tell the stories of people you have served.

Don’t focus solely on asking for money.

Don’t always talk to volunteers. It shouldn’t be the volunteer podcast. It should be about everything that you do and all the different people you interact with.

Focusing on donors

Speaker 2: (10:32)
Don’t ask them how much money they gave because that’s never comfortable for anybody; don’t focus on the money aspect of being a donor at all. What you do want to do is talk about why the donors are inspired to give, what motivated them to open their wallet and support this organization. And it’s even better to use words like support than it is to say donation.

It’s all about the storytelling. So if you can find the stories that connect your donors to your mission, then you’re in really good territory. Make sure you’re asking those open-ended questions that really drive to the heart of your mission. Why are you supporting us? What motivated you to give? And that’s where you’re going to get some of those really good responses from your donors and you’re not going to run into uncomfortable areas that way.

Fundraising and your podcast

So your podcast is a great opportunity to drive donors to your website because you’re going to share it through social media. You’re going to find different ways to embed on your website. They’re finding your services because they’re in need or they’re finding your donation page because they want to support you.

It’s dependent on what your site is doing, what your mission and goal is and how you want to present that on your donation form. But the bottom line is this: make sure you have an easy-to-find donation form so your podcast can promote that as well.

Not breaking the bank

Speaker 2: (21:24)
You can spend thousands of dollars to get into podcasting or you can do it relatively inexpensively to start. You can get on Amazon, you can buy the microphone with decent sound for less than a hundred dollars. Your software can be fairly inexpensive as well. There are free sites that will get your podcast out into PodBeans, Apple Podcasts and all those other podcasting areas. So it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Time and energy

Find the time and the energy to do it. If a person doesn’t already exist in your organization, advertise for it. Advertise for the volunteers you want and the volunteers you need. If you need somebody to manage your social media, is there anybody in your volunteer group who can do it? Why not ask if there’s somebody who wouldn’t be interested in starting your podcast? Ask for the specific things you need and you’d be surprised the people who are willing and able to help you go forward.

Where to find Michelle

WP Coffee Talk Podcast



WP Coffee Talk on Twitter @wpcoffeetalk

Michelle on Twitter @michelleames