Using digital tools like your website, email newsletter, and social networks are vital in the quest to get your stories in front of a critical mass of people.
Working together, the power of great stories and the reach of digital channels will inspire people to take a desired action (i.e., change a behavior, sign a petition, attend a rally, donate), and make it easy and desirable for your current supporters to share the story with their networks.
According to research done by Waggener Edstrom, of social media users who support nonprofits online, 56 percent said that compelling storytelling is what motivated them to take action in the first place.
Your nonprofit has many stories to tell, so why not create a Story Series to share the stories in a strategic, thoughtful way?
Why a Story Series?
Many nonprofits have multiple constituents to serve and a wide variety of programs and services to offer.
They are simply unable to encompass all the great work that they do in one, thirty-second video clip. Maybe this sounds familiar!
I am here to tell you that, while you may have ten different programs serving ten different groups of people at your nonprofit, you cannot tell all of these stories at once, in one video or in one social media post.
The reality of today’s cluttered communications landscape means that bite-size stories, often called “snackable content,” work best across online platforms.
Create “Snackable” Stories
To maximize the impact of your storytelling efforts and to fit into the short attention spans of your audience, focus on just one central topic per story.
Less is always more when you are asking people to take an action!
The best way to create these “snackable” stories, while still ensuring that you cover all the important bases, is to create a story series.
Show Your Best Stuff
A story series is a collection of your best stories and testimonials told from several different angles and perspectives.
Refer back to the 5 types of stories that I listed out in my last video training.
Share one story per week to create a complete picture of your organization!
One story may focus on a client or a person that benefited from your program; it would tell about the person’s experiences.
A second story may be told from the perspective of a staff member or the executive director.
A third may feature a volunteer or board member and cover the reasons that they remain committed to the organization.
And so on—the possibilities are endless!
Mix Up Content Types
Announce your Story Series in an email communication to your list. Say that you will be sending out a series of short stories, one per week (or one per day, whichever you prefer).
Each week, share the same story on your blog, in an email, and in a carefully crafted social media post.
Remember to craft each post for the individual social media channel. What works best on Twitter may not work on Instagram.
Add a visual. Perhaps you are doing this Story Series in short-form video format—preferable, as video is the most engaging type of content online.
You can also add a graphic or a photo with each blog post, email, and social media post.
It is vital to have a visual to accompany the story and enhance it for the viewer or reader.
Consistency is key here – make sure the videos or photos are similar and make sense when seen all together.
Each story should function as a piece of a bigger puzzle.
Use Storytelling Everywhere
Storytelling gets at the heart of how humans process information.
When we hear stories, we immediately relate them back to an existing experience to determine how we feel about it.
Humans are inherently narcissistic in this way. But this characteristic is precisely what makes storytelling so effective for marketing purposes.
Free printable download - Story Collection Worksheet!
The Story Collection Worksheet is a must-have for the organized nonprofit storyteller.
Just follow the questions on this worksheet, and you will have a plan for collecting and telling various kinds of stories to showcase the impact of your work!
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