Storytellers are people who are excellent communicators. From the way they speak to the people around them and the way they are telling their story in front of a wider audience, their ‘language’ of speaking can influence people’s emotions, behaviors and beliefs. A well spoken story can ‘open a way’ to someone’s heart or mind. Storytelling is important because it can create a clear context with a meaning and purpose that allows us to connect with each other. It can be a powerful tool to use for fundraising, mobilizing volunteers, building trust and raising awareness between the donors and the Nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit organizations tend to have powerful impact stories of perseverance, hope, and new beginnings.
But, how can a Nonprofit Organization improve their storytelling?
- Encourage a Culture of Storytelling
Establishing a storytelling mindset among the nonprofit members is the ‘’baby’’ step for creating a culture of nonprofit storytelling in the organization. Through different storytelling the organization can share her inspiring story that ‘’stands’’ behind her mission and vision in the community. It can be a presentation to the community, an open call for action on social media or recruiting new team members. A great example is Feeding America’s mission is to end hunger by providing food throughout America with the help of food banks or One Girl, an organization which focuses on educating girls across Africa.
- Encourage a ‘Real-Life’ Storytelling Experience
We all share stories of family, work, and of our experiences. Depending on the organization’s mission or vision, sharing one’s personal story to the public will not only emphasize the importance of accomplishing the main cause of the nonprofit, but will also create an emotional connection with the wider audience. Listening to an individual story helps us gain a deeper understanding of other people’s experiences and lives. For example the Rainforest Alliance, a nonprofit, has created an excellent Follow the Frog, storytelling video that tells the story of a man’s journey to save the rainforest.
- Encourage a ‘Marketing-Strategy’ Storytelling
Nonprofit storytelling should be part of the main marketing-strategy of the organization. Depending on the brand of the organization, creating a ‘marketing-strategy’ storytelling will express the organization’s main mission to the users and inspire them to be part of the planned actions and activities. Marketing storytelling can be expressed in pictures, verbally or in written form and they can be told across all channels, from social media to billboards. As a great example of a successful nonprofit ‘marketing-strategy’ storytelling is ‘Disneyland Paris’. It is a tale of a little duckling who arrives unexpectedly at Disneyland Paris, and it is greeted by Donald Duck. Also, there is the ‘Coca-Cola’ story, where the story consists of animated characters, who engage and share a Coke.
- Encourage a Visual Storytelling
Visual storytelling, as an art of communicating messages, emotions, and information is a way to ‘touch’ viewers at a deep and emotional level. With the rapid advance of technology, graphics, images, and videos have become the ‘new language’ to tell a story. It has created a lot of fascinating stories. One of the best known examples is Patagonia , a clothing company, where each piece of clothing signifies their commitment and care for the environment. Also, there is Our Work, a nonprofit organization, whose mission is to end hunger in the U.S. They express their story through numerous blogs and YouTube videos.
Practicing successful storytelling includes making abstract things and ideas more clear. This is why nonprofit organizations can clearly and undoubtedly communicate their main mission and vision to the audience. They use stories to inspire and encourage people to become part of their mission, to raise funds for certain causes and to share important data. Through storytelling, as a marketing tactic, the nonprofit sector creates emotional connections with their users. As a result, they get encouraged to involve, donate, or just spread the word of their mission.
- Shaunak Wanikar, (2018) ,’’Examples of great Nonprofit Storytelling’’, https://callhub.io/examples-of-great-nonprofit-storytelling/
- Christine Hennebury, (2020), ‘’Storytelling is not just entertainment. It’s a fundamental part of being human’’ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/storytelling-is-human-1.5511027
- Ilma Ibrisevic, (2022), ‘’The Ultimate Guide to Nonprofit Storytelling (30+ Tips)’’https://donorbox.org/nonprofit-blog/nonprofit-storytelling-guide#nonprofit%20storytelling%20tips
- Bel Booker, (2019), ‘’12 Top Storytelling Marketing Examples: How Brands Tell Stories’’, https://www.askattest.com/blog/articles/12-top-storytelling-marketing-examples#:~:text=Storytelling%20marketing%20means%20using%20a,works%20to%20humanise%20your%20brand.
- Dennis Shiao, (2020), ‘’3 Stunning Visual Storytelling Examples’’, https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2020/03/visual-storytelling-examples/