Why charity blogs are like fish fingers
Ever had a hankering for a beautiful piece of fish, served with perfectly fluffy chips on the side? You know the kind. Crunchy on the outside; oozing soft potato on the inside coupled with lemony fish. If we swooned over blogs the way we do over food, then I think charities may be in serious trouble.
Instead of the finest Atlantic Salmon with cracked pepper; many charity blogs are more like the humble fish finger. Not even the fancy fish fingers mind you. Nope. Some blogs wouldn’t even be sufficient to complete with Clarence Birdseye at his best; I’m talking the crumbs falling off black and white ‘no name brand’ fingers.
Why is this? Why are so many charity blogs as inspiring as school speech night?
I wonder whether we have the right people writing them.
Those who know me well are probably rolling their eyes and saying ‘here we go again’. Marketer bashing time.
Actually, no. Not this time at least (although I do love a good whine about marketers).
My point about authorship comes back to this. Over the years, whenever I have heard a ‘frontline’ person speak, I become infected with an enthusiasm; an excitement and a passion. People who provide the service are naturally able to speak off the cuff; to give anecdotes and bring to life to what they do. In many charities I suspect the person writing their blog has had a day’s exposure to the service. Perhaps a few days, if you’re lucky. Combine this with the obsession to be ‘on message’ and ‘politically correct’ and any zing to stories quickly slips away. Names and details are changed to protect the identity of service recipients. One, two, perhaps three, people cast their eye over the material before it is published. It becomes so ‘sanctioned’ and clean as a whistle that it’s positively dull.
For reasons unknown to me, blogs seem particularly ‘cardboard-like’. Is it because I can see advertising, read brochures or material from charities and never expect it to be a truly personal experience? Yet a blog is different. Blogging, by it’s very nature, is exceptionally personal. I read blogs and delight when the personality of the author seems to scream from the page; when it looks me squarely in the eye and tells me what its author is all about.
When was the last time you read a not for profit blog that did that? If you have seen one, I’d love to know. Please drop me a line with any charity blog which resembles something more delightful than a fish finger. At a stretch, I’ll settle for a fancy ‘high end’ fish finger. You know – the kind made with ‘real’ fish.