It’s no secret that nonprofit storytelling is a great tool to inspire and motivate your audience. Storytelling is much more convincing and relatable than statistical data, and your donor base will notice the difference. So, the question is not why storytelling can raise money and awareness within your organization, but how do you effectively do this? The following suggestions will help get you on your way.
What’s Your Story?
This may feel self-explanatory, but in order to build a community of supporters, you should first establish your organization’s story and value proposition! Who are you and what makes your organization unique? What are your core values?
- Be succinct. Highlight what sets you apart while remaining clear and concise to ensure it’s easy for your audience to grasp.
- Keep it simple. No need for superfluous language or jargon here.
- Be honest. What challenges are you facing as an organization? When you’re upfront about how donor support can help impact your story, there is a greater sense of urgency.
First Impressions Matter
If someone were to stumble upon your website or another channel you own such as a social media channel, you want to keep them there. Make sure your mission statement or tagline is front and center. Potential donors are more likely to want to learn more if you reel them in with what sets you apart. The sooner new visitors can figure out what you do, the sooner you can count on their support and return to doing the work that matters.
This is a great example from Direct Relief International of how a homepage can help you effectively tell your organization’s story. However brief, the mission statement is the first thing you read, prompting visitors to learn more about what Direct Relief does. The simple, high-resolution photo also provides context and helps pique interest. It’s simple, straightforward, and easy to donate.
Share Your Work
The easiest way to effectively tell your story is to let your organization speak for itself.A relatable personal story is going to win in a contest with a pie chart every single time. Shine the spotlight on the impactful work you do, the recipients of your services, and the volunteers that make it happen. Take this weekly tweet from the Oregon Humane Society, for example. By showcasing the friendly faces their hard work benefits, it’s easy to see why contributing matters!
Congratulations to the 221 #ohspets adopted last week, including 128 cats and kittens! Taylor (lower left), a 12-year-old kitty, found her forever home. Happy tails to all! Share your adoption updates: https://t.co/0bHFB37YD7 pic.twitter.com/kYVSfgB60w
— OregonHumaneSociety (@OregonHumane) January 22, 2019
This effective use of storytelling accomplishes a few things. Firstly, it’s a great use of social media! A simple, easily shareable photo that emphasizes the impact of their nonprofit community. When viewers see a tweet like this one, there is a higher likelihood they will want to learn more about what you do, driving traffic to your cause. You likely have many stories to choose from,
Demonstrate How Your Work Is Helping Others
Again, social media is vital to spreading your message but using it effectively is key.
For a global nonprofit like Mercy Corps, it can be hard to simplify a mission statement when their impact can be found all over the world. Showcase the lives you have impacted and their stories will help your organization’s story shine, too.
Ahmad’s inspiring story only requires two sentences for the reader to want to know more. Promoting a story like his through social media allows readers to find their way back to your organization’s website, where they can learn more about what you do. It then becomes easy for your audience to understand why they should care about the work you’re doing when it’s personal, relatable, and real.
“When we started, there wasn’t even furniture. Students sat on stones.” Learn about Ahmad’s journey from #Syria to a #refugee camp in #Jordan, where he built a school and now teaches 40+ kids: https://t.co/dL5hacfZwH #Education 📚
— Mercy Corps (@mercycorps) February 3, 2019
Create an Experience
When working to reel in readers, simple design and high-quality photos go a long way! When your story is presented clearly, it speaks for itself.
- As aforementioned, keep it simple! The same rules apply to both design and content. When it’s easy to navigate your website and social media channels, it attracts more users. Your story should be the focal point.
- Design your website with donors in mind. Effectively telling your organization’s story online is largely to make sure you are growing your donor base, so make it easy for visitors to give!
In the words of a prolific storyteller,
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou
Looking to share your story to build and grow your monthly giving program? Invest in CauseMic’s newest online training program, “Launch or Reboot Your Organization’s Monthly Giving Program in 90 Days” to learn more. Pre-Register before March 1st for 30% off enrollment!