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Seven ways nonprofits can use podcasts

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Interested in creating a podcast for your nonprofit, but not sure what kind of content would be appropriate podcasting material? In this article, which was modified from a post that first appeared on the NetSquared Blog, writer Britt Bravo offers suggestions for creating compelling podcasts out of your everyday work.

A 2005 study by the PEW Internet & American Life Project found that more than 22 million American adults own iPods or MP3 players and 29% of them have downloaded podcasts from the Web. "That amounts to more than six million adults who have tried this new feature that allows Internet 'broadcasts' to be downloaded onto their portable listening device," the study noted.

After the initial investment in recording equipment, the only cost to creating a podcast at your organization is staff time. Podcasts aren't for everyone, but they are worth considering because you can't get more intimate with potential supporters than talking in their ear - literally!

1. A leader at your nonprofit or NGO talks about what is going on in the organization and in your field.

This is great if your founder or director is a strong and inspiring speaker. Example: Barack Obama's podcast.

2. Short, informational pieces about one issue combining voiceover by a narrator or host, accompanied by interviews with the people you serve.

Example: UNICEF's podcast Pakistan's Earthquake: A Fifteen-Year-Old Tells Her Story, in which UNICEF Radio correspondent Blue Chevigny provides narration about the earthquake in Pakistan combined with on-the-ground testimony from a young woman who lived through it.

3. Weekly updates about what is going on in your organization, followed by interviews with experts in your field.

Example: The NetSquared Podcast. Updates about what's new at NetSquared, interviews with nonprofit and social web innovators, and more.

4. Have your constituents create the podcast.

Example: UNICEF Digital Diaries: Berenice's Story from Ghana. A young woman in Ghana was giving recording equipment to document her daily life in this six-part series.

5. Be creative!

The Nature Conservancy produces a podcast called Nature Stories that is all about people's connection to nature. Check out the podcast titled "Just Another Fish Story," about a whale that washes up on the beach of a small town in Maine.

6. Use recordings from presentations.

Example: Bioneers. Bioneers have turned the presentations and speeches from their conference into a podcast.

7. Turn your radio show into a podcast.

Example: Democracy Now! Podcast. If your organization already produces a radio show, make sure listeners can also subscribe to it as a podcast.

Britt Bravo is a writer, podcaster, teacher, and producer with 15 years of experience in the social-change and responsible-business sector. You can find her work on Have Fun * Do Good, BlogHer, WorldChanging San Francisco, TechSoup's NetSquared project, and Big Vision Podcast.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

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