Storytelling for nonprofits

5 Tips To Improve Your Nonprofit’s Storytelling

Conveying your nonprofit’s message in an effective and concise way.

Storytelling is an essential part of conveying a nonprofit’s message. According to African activist and social justice warrior, Sisonke Msimang, “Stories are the antidote to bias.”

In her January 2017 TED Talk, “If A Story Moves You, Act On It,” Msimang references a 2016 Pew Center study which talks about the decline in public trust with media and news. At the same time, Msimang says, we trust our feelings and emotions more than ever. In essence, what we feel is becoming a bigger factor in our decision-making process than what we know.

Heather Box and Julian Mocine-McQueen, founders of Million Person Project

Expert storytellers Heather Box and Julian Mocine-McQueen, founders of The Million Person Project, have worked with more than 1,500 people to help them tell their story effectively. According to Heather, every nonprofit has great stories to tell, but if you don’t go deep enough and only tell stories as “testimonials,” the narrative can sound cliche.

Instead, Julian says, “Connect donors with your passion.” Using Million Person Project’s 5-step process, you can tap into your organization’s values, use storytelling to effectively recruit supporters and learn what motivates your team. Here’s a quick overview of their process:

  1. Create a life map. Think of yourself, your staff and your supporters as resources for your nonprofit’s stories. Ask your team to think about when their values of service started. What personal experiences helped them shape their values they brought with them?
  2. Pick the top 3 values that drive people at your organization. Remember that old fundraising saying, “People give to people?” It’s true! So figure out how to connect the passions of your supporters to the stories you can share about your organization.
  3. Create a story vignette bank. Connect stories to each value you’ve assigned to your organization — these stories are the vehicles for you to convey your values!
  4. Determine your audience and your goals. This is a no-brainer. Make sure your story will resonate with your intended audience, and make sure it aligns with the goals you’ve set.
  5. Use Marshall Ganz’s “Story Self, Story of Us, Story of Now” format. According to Ganz, Harvard professor and storyteller, public stories contain three elements that call on the audience to take action. These three elements are your personal story, how it relates to a wider audience and why it’s important right now. So, take the time to reflect, convey a sense of community and provide a call to action with your organization’s stories.

Once you’ve found the story that best conveys your organization’s passion and values, you’ll want to be sure to share it across various channels to support your fundraising campaigns and key messages. Be sure to share on social media, in emails and on your website. You can also use your Razoo page to tell your story.

Razoo’s platform is formatted to help you tell your story and communicate impact with donors. With prominently displayed images and videos, custom donation levels to help re-emphasize your key messages, and the easy in-line editor on fundraiser pages, you and your supporters can tell your story in just minutes.

Check out the full webinar, and be sure to reach out to Heather and Julian to set up a one-on-one coaching session to maximize your storytelling abilities. And, as always, don’t hesitate to reach out to Razoo’s support team for questions about how to effectively tell your story on Razoo.

About Ashley Hieb

Ashley began her career in journalism working at a local newspaper. From there she transitioned into the nonprofit sector to share her passion with causes that were making a difference. She specializes in storytelling and crowdfunding strategy.

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