Should your nonprofit be on Tumblr?

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Tumblr, the microblogging site that's more popular with teens than Facebook, made headlines this week after Yahoo bought it for a hefty $1.1 billion. 

The high profile purchase, combined with an incredible number of global users (the site received over 13 billion global page views last month alone) may have you wondering: Should my nonprofit be on Tumblr? Read on to find out.


What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a blogging platform and social network that continues to rise in popularity. It combines the visual component of Pinterest with the microblogging function of Twitter, while also allowing individuals and brands to have their own personal page/profile - similar to Facebook.

Does Tumblr work for nonprofits?

Yes! Just like Pinterest, Tumblr is a great way for nonprofits to visually engage their audience and raise awareness of their cause. Now in particular could be the best time for nonprofits to get on Tumblr, as the site's main user demographic matures, goes to college and begins supporting the causes that matter to them. 

Tumblr is also yet another platform for you to share all of the images, videos, gifs, etc, you're creating as part of your content marketing strategy. By getting your content shared ('re-blogged') on Tumblr, you can increase the social signals directing back to your site, helping drive SEO.

So, as long as you have the time and resources to update it frequently, creating a 'Tumblr blog' is an excellent idea.

How can nonprofits sign-up on Tumblr?

At the moment, Tumblr doesn't have a separate sign-up process for businesses and organizations. All Tumblr users can create a Tumblr blog the same way, by entering an email address, username (this will also be the first part of your Tumblr blog's URL, followed by a .tumblr.com) and password at the site's registration page.

Once you're signed-up, customize the look of your Tumblr by choosing a theme (Mashable has put together a list of good themes for small businesses, many of which would also work well for nonprofits) and adjusting the colors to suit your brand.

How can nonprofits be successful on Tumblr?

  • Be Visual - For the most part, Tumblr is not a place for large chunks of text. It's not even the place for small chunks of text. Stick to posts that are purely visual, with a 2-sentence caption at the most. Quotes are also extremely popular on Tumblr, as well as a great way to inspire your followers.
  • Be Current - Find ways to link your organization's cause with the trending topics that interest Tumblr's core demographic. Or, if there isn't a particular news item that relates to your cause, simply design your post in a format that Tumblr users like. For example, if you run a diabetes nonprofit, rather than uploading PDF reports on diabetes statistics, post images of delicious sugar-free meals and set the click-through link as a corresponding blog post containing the recipe (Tumblr is a great tool for making your marketing content go further). 
  • Be Your Brand - While Tumblr is a great opportunity for your organization to engage its audience in a creative, visual way, don't let the pizazz of this youthful platform distract you from your brand. Only post and 're-blog' content that truly represents your brand and speaks to your audience.

Are any nonprofits already on Tumblr?

Plenty of nonprofits have created Tumblr blogs, including Doctors Without BordersFair Trade USA and the World Wildlife Fund. Click here to view some examples of organizations that are making the most of this exciting blogging platform.

Do you use Tumblr? Do you think it can be useful for nonprofits? Let me know what you think in the comments.