Turn Your Stories Into Solutions

So you won the nonprofit marketer’s lottery — you uncovered a great story. Or a great story found you. Or you know your next great story is just around the corner, and you want to be ready to run with it. Pop the cork — because you know how a good story can speak to an audience!

Now, what to do with it?

Of course, there are the workhorses of the nonprofit professional’s arsenal always crying out for a good story — your newsletter, your e-news, your website, your annual report, your social stream…

It’s likely your story will land in more than one of these buckets before you’re done. But if you’re looking for some fresh ideas for making the most of your story, here are a few of our favorites:

Use video

Capture the story as told by its main character in a video. Have them share their story in their own words, and if possible, show footage of them in action. Video can be powerful on your website to your social media to an email blast — even at your next event.

Video’s also a great way of collecting new stories. Our friends at the Harley School did a great job with this surrounding the Heart of Harley day of giving campaign we helped them coordinate. They invited their school community to submit videos in advance and shared them strategically throughout the day on their social media pages as part of the campaign.

Make it part of your pitch

What about those times that you land on one of those rare gems — the quintessential story that really sums up who you are? Polish it up and have it ready to go when you’re introducing someone to your organization in a conversation. Share it with your organization’s team, including your board, so they can use it, too. Think of it as an addendum to your elevator speech for a ride to the 95th floor!

Work it into your next appeal

Yes, your appeals love stories, too! There’s nothing like a story to help your donors connect with you on an emotional level. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box. For example, your story’s protagonist doesn’t necessarily need to be a person. We helped our clients at the Natural Areas Association recognize that they could tell a story about the parks their members maintain and the challenges the parks faced in the initial months of COVID — significantly improving the organization’s appeal revenue over the previous year.

At the same time, pay close attention to what kinds of stories connect best with your audience. Our friends at the Israel Guide Dog Center have astutely recognized that their donors respond best to stories about the blind and visually impaired Israelis they help, not necessarily stories more centrally focused on the guide dogs they raise.

Would it help to see an example? Read our latest story-drive appeal for IGDC. And take note of the length…

As said by Leo Widrich in The Science of Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate our Brains, Lifehacker.com, “The next time you struggle with getting people on board with your projects and ideas, simply tell them a story.”

Need a fresh perspective to help you get the most from your marketing? Give us a call at 267-468-7949 or drop us a line at info@iriscreative.com.