“Medium is an ideas exchange, where thinkers, creators, and those with a story to share come to find their audience, move people, and move us all forward.”
-Medium co-founder Ev Williams
In the digital sprawl of Buzzfeed-style clickbait, hot takes, and anonymous vitriolic trolls, Medium stands in stark contrast. It’s a place where deep, long form reportage mingles harmoniously with listicles. A place where the comments section somehow generates more light than heat. A place where Bono casually fires off a beautiful op-ed on the gender politics of global poverty (and Melinda Gates publishes her reaction).
But perhaps Medium’s greatest content trick is that you don’t have to be a rock star (literally or philanthropically) to make yourself heard on the platform. Thoroughly and intentionally egalitarian, Medium invites rich, unhurried storytelling and thoughtful self-reflection. It does so with style, too, through beautiful, uncluttered page layouts rife with oversized photos, and unobtrusive engagement features that treat writer and reader exceptionally well. It’s a place for smart and caring people to publish, curate and share the smallest details and the biggest ideas.
In other words, it’s a fantastic and exciting platform for nonprofit professionals to explore, whether as a place to create, curate or just be inspired. From small grassroots organizations to some of the world’s most high-profile causes, nonprofits are beginning to realize and harness the unique content opportunities Medium enables. Here are four examples of how Medium has already been used to create top-flight, actionable nonprofit content:
Medium as policy platform:
Natural Resources Defense Council president Rhea Suh frequently pens calls for policy reform regarding issues like climate change. By posting her thoughts to Medium, Suh amplifies her organization’s message beyond its standard core audience, and taps into Medium’s much larger, socially-energized reader base.
Room to Read’s CEO Erin Ganju similarly pens Medium posts to educate and advocate for progress in her issue of choice (global literacy and education).
The Center for Biological Diversity is another example of the many NGOs who use Medium as a policy megaphone.
Medium as fundraising tool:
Charity:Water has long been a digital content marketing vanguard, so it’s no surprise this relatively young and buzzy NGO makes big waves (pun intended) on Medium.
This blog entry about Charity:Water’s core values and hardwired corporate culture approach of giving make for not only engaging content, but also a refreshing call for donations that’s direct and authentic without ever tipping into a hard-sell.
Medium as digital op-ed page:
Medium staffer Gabe Kleinman recently blogged, “Visionary leaders are treating Medium as the op-ed page for the internet .”
The platform’s wide reach and knowledge-hungry user base make it a perfect place for thought leaders to cultivate awareness, blow whistles, and compel action, such as the aforementioned Bono story on global poverty, as well as this Earth Day piece by Heifer International’s CMO Cindy Jones-Nyland.
Medium as storytelling tool:
Though Medium’s value extends from content curation to relationship building, the platform’s heart is storytelling. Ev Williams describes Medium as “a new, well-lit place for an old idea: letting people share their stories…optimize(d) for substance.”
The Institute for War & Peace Reporting is one example (of many) of those who use Medium for in-depth reporting; long-form pieces lose neither urgency nor humanity in this vibrant format. Charity:Water (whose use of Medium is so masterful it merits multiple mentions in one blog post) features beautiful, heartbreaking stories about the people they serve. Prominently featuring personal and often intense histories and photojournalistic, Nat-Geo-worthy photos from the field, they present a much more compelling argument for support than mere secondhand statistics or marketing talking points ever could.
(By the way: Have a nonprofit story to tell on Medium but lack the resources to tell it? Apply for Medium’s Storytelling for Good grant.)
Has your nonprofit seen success on Medium? Share your thoughts in the comments below.