Nonprofit Storytelling: The Why

Take a second to think about the organizations that you are drawn to the most. Which would you be more inclined to give to: The local nonprofit that sends a generic letter asking for a donation for their upcoming event? Or an organization who details their mission through photos, videos and personal details to give you a sense of the urgency and need for your donation?

I think the answer is obvious, and it continues to surprise us that more organizations are not spending more time storytelling.

According to Vanessa Chase, founder of The Storytelling Non-Profit, “Storytelling is the process by which you tell a story. This could be through different mediums such as words, images or sounds.”

This is a much more fun, successful way to inform your donors about your organization, campaigns and projects. So, why should your nonprofit make an effort to be a better storyteller?

  1. Engage supporters: In an age of social media and instant gratification, your supporters want to be able to engage and connect with your organization. Storytelling makes them feel involved and gives them a personal connection with your mission and encourages them to interact with you, especially if you’re using social media platforms.
  2. Move people to action: When people know your story, they often feel more motivated to take action. Good storytelling encourages people to make a difference and help your cause, especially when it doesn’t feel like you are just sending out a form letter asking for donations. Use video, photos and testimonials to hook readers – this makes them want to be heroes and help you help others!
  3. Share real-time updates: Your supporters don’t just want an update when the project is finished, they want to know where their gift went and the personal impact that they made. So, if you are building a school overseas and your team is just starting to lay the foundation, send an update via email to your donors so they can see the progress. Telling the story of your project as it develops is a great way to keep your donors engaged.
  4. Highlight real people and real impact: Your donors are the lifeblood of your organization, so it’s important that you take the time to recognize that. Share testimonials of people who participated in a certain event that your organization hosted. This allows you to show your appreciation for their gifts, and it gives you the opportunity to share their story with potential donors and to highlight your nonprofit’s supportive community.

Think of the stories that your nonprofit could tell about the good you are doing and the lives you have changed. What would you share?