Nonprofit organizations should focus on how to improve their storytelling. Being able to accurately, compassionately and interestingly convey the stories behind the actions of a charity can mean the difference between meeting goals and exceeding wild expectations. Adopting fellowship management software can increase an organization’s storytelling capabilities, bringing it greater success both financially and emotionally.
Find your path and stick to it
The Chronicle of Philanthropy recounted the success that the Global Press Institute has had with its nonprofit efforts in developing nations around the world. The Institute trains and provides materials to women in 26 countries to document current events and underrepresented stories in their nations. These stories are then translated and printed in the Global Press Journal. From this group, other nonprofits should observe the way in which Global Press approaches their goals. They consistently remind their followers and donors that news stories are best told by local voices. This is the mantra the nonprofit falls back on each and every time it tells its own story.
Spread the word
Something the Global Press does very well is dissemination. The group makes sure the stories written by the women it employs around the world are read, heard and seen. A charity cannot expect people to seek it out; charities must reach out to current, potential and future contributors to let them know it still operates and serves a valuable purpose.
Think outside the text
While text-based storytelling is always an excellent option, today people are often glued to their mobile devices. Sites that are not optimized for mobile use may affect user-friendliness and readability. Social Brite recognized that video is likely the future of storytelling, and nonprofits should hop on board. A video could be a simple slide show, narrated or underscored with statistics. It could be a direct call to action or animated tale about why the charity exists in the first place. An even more compelling option would be following volunteers around on a work site and observing how their efforts work to help certain recipients.
Videos are also a great way to involve more parties who can lend a hand to nonprofits in need of additional exposure. Social Brite noted that some nonprofit videos feature celebrities or comedians looking to help raise awareness for a cause they believe in. Reaching out to local, national or even international celebrities could do wonders for an organization’s recognition.
Interviews are also great methods for storytelling. The interviewee doesn’t have to be in charge of the organization or even a major contributor. While these are both great interview options, it’s also a great idea to interview volunteers or groups that the organization helped in the past. While this form of storytelling can be very emotional, depending on who is being interviewed, it helps establish strong ties between the organization and its membership.
If an interview is being pursued, it’s crucial to check in with the interviewee before the article is published or posted anywhere. Often people want to make sure they, and anyone they mentioned in discussion, are represented accurately. It’s also important to set up questions ahead of time and plan on listening more than talking during the conversation. An interviewer who does all the talking won’t have much to say about the interviewee when the meeting ends.
Send an annual report
While it may seem like an annual report is strictly for serious, unadorned factual information, it’s rapidly becoming a new platform to tell stories. These stories range from financial reports and images from volunteer events to digital versions containing graphics that morph as users scroll through them. It’s worth noting that unlike for-profit businesses, nonprofits already have meaningful stories to tell. Malayna Williams, managing partner at PWR New Media, told Chicago Now that since charities exist to help other people, it’s not as difficult to find the right stories to share with the world. The packaging is what these types of organizations truly need to focus on.
While this term is typically associated with funding particular causes through online community forums, crowdsourcing can be an excellent way to increase a charity’s ability to tell stories and its scope in general. Nonprofits can appeal to their followers on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to share their own, personal stories about the organization. This could include any donation, volunteer or recipient experience. Group members can either post their experiences directly on the social site, or organizations could collect them over time and post them on one large blog article.
There are countless ways to share stories. With fellowship management software, nonprofits can accumulate and interpret data sets that are crucial to the storytelling process.