Storytelling For Nonprofits

Storytelling For Nonprofits

Storytelling for nonprofits is more compelling than policy papers. Good nonprofit story telling uses your members or advocates personal stories to connect with a wider audience. A great way to increase engagement on your issue(s) is to use members’ and advocates’ stories. Members and advocates have the best stories. No matter what issue(s) your organization focuses on, members and those on the forefront of the issue embody the reason your organization does what it does. They speak to people in a way that a policy white paper cannot. Here are some tips for getting the most out of storytelling for nonprofits:

Emotion matters:
A big pile of statistics on the need for real immigration reform is nowhere near as compelling as hearing someone speak about their personal struggle with the immigration system.

Giving context:
A real person can give real context to an issue. Beyond emotion, they can provide the when, who, where, what, and how all in one voice.

Images help with the story:
Pictures or video of your members talking to camera, telling their story can be very compelling. It always good to hear members talk in person, but the next best thing is great video or images or even just audio of them explaining why your issue matters. This does not have to be done in a glitzy way-- just answering some simple questions honestly and openly can be very compelling and emotional.

Follow Up:
Once a member tells their story, there is a natural opportunity for follow up. They can ask a lawmaker what they will do to help, for example. Or to sign on to a bill, get funding, set up a meeting, etc. The transition between their story and a call to action is a smooth one.  

Training helps:
Some people have a natural gift to tell their story, many of us don't. Some can tell a great story but then they forget to ask for follow up. It takes practice and time. Hold a training within your nonprofit advocacy group or membership organization and go through a storytelling for nonprofits work sheet for interested parties or those who have a good story to tell. Once they get the hang of it, the public will be connecting with your issue in a whole new way.

Have questions about storytelling for nonprofits? Ask them here:

Categories