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My Take: Making Social Media Make Sense for Nonprofits

My Take: Making Social Media Make Sense for Nonprofits

By Laura Perkins, MLS | November 5, 2014

My social media content strategy colleagues and I attended a great webinar yesterday: “50 Blogging Best Practices for Nonprofits.”
Social media maestra Heather Mansfield of Nonprofit Tech for Good clearly laid out best practices for setting up and maintaining a blog using the most current understanding of user-friendly design.

What I found especially striking in her presentation was the evolution of thinking about how to make a blog or website appealing enough and accessible enough to attract and hold people’s attention.

Everything Old Is New Again

In the early days of blogging, it was cutting edge to have colorful backgrounds and white type. Blog posts were often long essays presented in small fonts. Designers tried to fill the screen with words and messages in an effort to engage users.

Mansfield contends current thinking about blog design is quite different. Designers now realize that it’s much easier for our human brain to read content online if it’s presented in dark type on a white background. It’s much easier to absorb information when it’s presented in shorter posts accompanied by compelling images.

ETR’s Commitment to Readability

From our beginnings over 30 years ago, ETR has produced materials that communicate complex, essential health education information to people of varied reading abilities. ETR developed these guidelines for easy-to-read materials:

  • Include essential information, limited to 1 to 3 key concepts.
  • Make text easy to read by using the active voice, simple words and sentences, subheads and short bullet lists.
  • Use design that features easy-to-read type, white space, emphasis on important points, and photos or graphics that explain and reinforce the message.

In a world where something that happened six months ago is considered ancient, it’s fascinating to see that some of the same things that have worked in pamphlets for decades work today in the most up-to-date blogs of the moment!

Laura Perkins is Project Editor at ETR. You can reach her at


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