4 Reasons Why Your Nonprofit Should Start a Podcast

It was impossible this week not to notice Apple’s release of its latest smartphone, the iPhone 6. At some stores people stood in lines that stretched for blocks.

Smartphones, whether they use the Apple or Android operating system, have brought new attention to podcasts, audio programs that can take the form of radio interview shows. More than two out of three Americans now have a smartphone and can easily download, store, and play a podcast.

While a handful of podcasts attract millions of listeners, most programs serve much smaller audiences who want information about a specific topic. That can make podcasting an excellent choice for nonprofits and other social change organizations that want to reach a well-defined, loyal community of supporters.

Here are four reasons why you should considering podcasting to your organization’s communications program:

1. Make Your Own Media

You don’t need to bother with reporters, editors and other gatekeepers. As with blogging, you can use a podcast to deliver your messages directly to the people you want to reach.

2. Repurpose Your Content

You may worry about the time it takes to create original content. But you can use a podcasts to produce audio versions of material you’ve already published by interviewing guests about existing conference presentations, blog posts, and reports.

3. Reach New Audiences

People like to get information in different ways. Some love blogs, others follow Twitter, and many prefer Facebook. Lots of people learn best by listening and a podcast lets you connect with them.

4. It’s Affordable

It takes planning and preparation to create a good show. But the technical tools are inexpensive and widely available.

Apple installs recording and editing software like Garage Band in every Mac. You can buy a good, serviceable microphone for less than $100. And it cost nothing to post your shows on Apples iTunes, Sticher, and SoundCloud, the most popular podcast distribution platforms.

Want to start a podcast of your own? WikiHow offers a primer that outlines the basics. For an example of how a nonprofit has used podcasting, check out SmartCast, a series of six interviews with communications experts that we produced for The Communications Network.

What about you? What has been your experience with podcasting as a listener or producer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Mac Prichard

Mac started Prichard Communications in 2007 to serve nonprofits, foundations and public agencies after a long career working in the public and nonprofit sectors and with elected officials. Mac lives in Portland’s Ladd’s Addition where he is often spotted taking Instagram photos while walking his dog Kai, a Weimaraner.
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2 Comments “4 Reasons Why Your Nonprofit Should Start a Podcast”

  1. Mac, thanks for this post! I completely agree. I’ve been a loyal fan of the Washington Office on Latin America since before they started their podcast; however, the podcast has helped me stay engaged with their work. It allows me to follow important events in Latin America and learn about topics that are interesting to me, all while I walk to and from work. They occasionally talk directly about their own work or about their response to a particular situation, but most of the time the content is of broader interest. I think that’s important for keeping an engaged audience. (How much more likely are we to stop listening to NPR during the membership drive?!)

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    • I appreciate the thoughtful comment, Margaux, and I agree completely about the need to understand the needs of the community your organization serves. I encourage nonprofits creating that regularly publish content to follow the 80/20 rule: make 80% of your material about your field, and only 20% about the work of your organization. You’ll find readers and listeners will keep coming back if you offer them expertise and actionable ideas that address their interests and problems. It sounds like the podcast of the Washington Office on Latin America follows this principle, too.

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