Stories mold who we are, going above the chaos of day to day events, and provide a sense of character and identity. Will Storr, a prize-winning journalist, explained that storytelling activates the brain’s reward mechanism when we use our neural models to populate the world of the story that we read. For a Nonprofit, the benefits of strongly crafted storytelling are immense, creating a shared culture to unite the organization, helping attract and maintain donors, and providing clients with a way to inspire others.
1. Defining what you stand for.
Yes, we all have read the mission statement. But what does it really mean when the chips are down?
Telling stories in public forces nonprofits to define clearly who they are and why it matters. This may require you to answer difficult questions and demonstrate a commitment to a shared purpose. Above all, you need to answer – Why should anyone care?
By crafting strong stories and sharing them in public, you craft a message that can cut through the day to day noise. You define what it is you do, why people should donate, volunteer, attend. Through shared stories, you define what really matters, and create a shared purpose.
2. Media attention.
Nonprofits are ultimately about people and communities. While statistics sound impressive, they don’t move people any more than a stock report. Stories about the people and communities that they belong to move people. Crafting stories about your actions and communities invite media organizations to share your message widely. Every media organization is looking for the important stories of the day, and your stories are prepared for that.
3. Bigger financial commitments from donors.
Donors are giving you their money, and they want to know that they are making a real impact. Hearing stories about your successes strengthens the bond with donors and can inspire them to share your good work with others.
If your nonprofit is to survive, you must have a comprehensive donor relations program – one that involves research, stewardship, acknowledgment, and cultivation.
4. Word-of-mouth marketing.
Sharing compelling stories via social media exposes your message to new people, recruiting new donors, volunteers, and potential clients. Supporters can share your stories posted via social media, encouraging their friends, family members, and personal connections to get involved in your organization. Every new set of eyes that reads your stories may become another supporter, client, volunteer, or all three.
5. Using Video and Photos to enrich the story.
There is so much out there competing for our attention every second. Stories stand out from the overwhelming barrage. Videos and photos enrich the stories and place the viewer inside the group, enhancing their connection with the story. Social media gives us the ability to share this widely across the country. A wise Nonprofit takes advantage of the tools available to make their message impactful.
6. Increased transparency.
Storytelling forces nonprofits to be transparent, showing donors (and potential donors!) what nonprofit due to their resources. Potential donors use a lack of transparency as a reason to avoid donations, citing the invisible impact that many nonprofits show.
Storytelling through open social media channels allows you to lift the veil and be transparent in your operations and your work.
7. Instant feedback.
Social media provides an amazing way to communicate with donors, volunteers, clients, and the community in real-time. Social media encourages others to share their own stories, offer suggestions, and get involved. Social media tools are a perfect way to gather instant, unfiltered feedback on new programs, topics, or questions. Encourage differing opinions to help address problem areas.
Stay top of mind with daily Facebook postings, Tweets, and Instagram photos that showcase the stories of your organization. Once you get into the groove and the social media mindset, you won’t be able to stop!
Maria Ochoa Empreder Creative