Storytelling for Nonprofits

Storytelling for Nonprofits

Marketing and promoting the mission of a nonprofit can be challenging.

Telling stories about the cause of a nonprofit to its supporters can work well because stories are easier to remember than statistics. Storytelling can also lead to free word-of-mouth marketing.

Storytelling can come in all shapes and sizes and nonprofits have plenty of material for storytelling, as they are trying to bring about important changes in people’s lives. Nonprofits seek change, change often invites conflict, and conflict always makes a great story.

Qualities of a Good Nonprofit Marketing Story

A good plot will not suffice for a story to work in nonprofit marketing. It needs certain other qualities. A story has to be brief, maybe in 500 words or less.

If the chosen form of content is video, then the video should not be more than two minutes in duration. It should be straightforward and not go off in tangents, as that would distract from the main reason why the story is being told.

For instance, Charity: Water is a nonprofit that supplies safe drinking water to developed countries. Their email newsletter narrates stories about lives that they have changed.

Stories can also be about specific people that ring true. Storytelling will work if there is a specific goal. The message in the story has to be made clear.

Charge Stories with Visuals

Visual storytelling is important. Videos, infographics, photos, and images can all contribute to a story’s impact. If visual elements are added, it would help people to remember a story.

They can also help listeners to grasp complex concepts better.

Data can also be visualized with the help of maps, texts, and charts. This can show clearly the impact of a nonprofit. For instance, the infographic used in Unicef uses the format of a Problem-Solution storytelling . The  problem is restricted to  the graphic’s left side,  the solution is restricted to the graphic’s right side.

Story Ideas

There can be multiple sources for story ideas. The people that nonprofits help and their supporters can be interviewed. They can be asked how their situation has changed after being associated with the organization.

A survey can also be conducted on clients, members, and donors about issues they feel strongly about. People who speak at webinars and workshops related to the work of a nonprofit can be asked to submit guest posts.

There are several holidays and other special days on the calendar. There are also specially designated months. For instance, June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. Such designated days and months can be used to write stories and articles.

Introduce Positivity in the Stories

Nonprofits work on solving issues and stories about those issues could be dark. To balance the dark, it is important to bring in some positivity.

For instance, how a person being helped by the nonprofit managed to overcome adversity and ended up living a better life.

Focusing too much on the dark components can make it harder to relate, and if it seems too happy, people might think their help is not needed. A balance has to be achieved in the stories.