Relating your nonprofit’s mission with story telling can be one of the most powerful things that you ever do (and continue to do) to impact funding for your cause.

There are many ways to tell a story… in person, in writing such as in your newsletter and direct mail letters, and with multimedia like online video. The main point is, as Tom Durso of 501cfiles says, Tell Your Story … and Tell It Today.

What should be included in your storytelling? The human element of course. Stories of individuals you’ve helped and background on the cause. As Tom Suddes of For Impact says, “STORYTELLING is about AUTHENTICITY. It’s about VISUALIZATION and IMAGINATION. And it’s about PASSION, EMOTION and ENTHUSIASM.”

But don’t forget to appeal to the more “rational minded” in your audience. An isolated situation or individual client must be put into context of your cause as a whole. Numbers, statistics, results, dates and charts can be included in key places to provide a more well rounded picture.

World Vision ChinaWorld Vision consistently tells their story well, in both online and other media. Currently their website’s homepage has a powerpoint type video featuring photos and audio from the recent China earthquake. (Note the donation buttons both in the feature box and at the end of the video.)

Kivi at Non Profit Marketing Guide provides some other great examples of Where to Find Some Great Nonprofit Storytelling.

The Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations (HANO) recently held a conference with the theme of “Telling the Nonprofit Story.” Thirsty-Fish consulting assisted with planning, keynotes and workshops and provided interviews prior to the event.

Fear and the desire to “play it save” can prevent us from telling our authentic stories. Michael C. Gilbert explores this in Playing it Safe is a Trap: Five Syndromes in Online Marketing

And in case you are curious, here’s my “why story”… The Face of Fundraising.

Posted on 23 May 2008

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