7 Ways to Transform Nonprofit Staff Bios from Mundane to Magical

Relationships are built person-to-person, not person-to-organization. So put your people forward! Pithy, punchy staff bios–with photos–to introduce prospects to your organization at a personal, emotional level, motivating them to dig more deeply into the details of what your nonprofit has to offer or how they can get involved.

Here are some well-tested guidelines for crafting bios that will help audiences connect with your organization: (Read the full article for a more in-depth guide to crafting compelling nonprofit staff bios.)    

1. Start with the basics
The main goals of these bios are to give the reader an accurate sense of whom your team members are and what they do, to establish expertise and credibility, and to qualify their experiences and background. More generally, they’ll enable your network to feel they’re getting to know your organization. These elements combine to nurture trust in your team and your organizational brand.

2. Introduce the folks who make your organization work on a daily basis, not just top leadership
Provide bios for your leadership (including board members), but go beyond that to incorporate bios of program, communications, fundraising and other key staff at the director or manager level if possible.

3. Clear, friendly and brief
Consider team bios the written equivalent of a conversation opener at a professional gathering, so make it brief and compelling. Otherwise, you’ll lose your reader in a flash.

4. Incorporate these elements in each bio 

  • Lead in with your name. People need to know who someone is are before they hear what they’re all about.
  • Follow with  most important responsibilities and title
  • Touch on significant professional accomplishments, briefly!
  • Note relevant professional designations, associations and awards. These demonstrate deep connections in the field.

5. Create website and speaking (if relevant) versions

6. The photo makes the initial connection — make sure they’re good ones

7. Keep the bios fresh

What are your strategies for crafting team bios that engage your audiences at a personal level, and for keeping them fresh? Please share your techniques here.

P.S. Great great gift and personal reading ideas in my Free E-Guide, The Book That Changed My Life. 129 top reading picks from nonprofit leaders around the world.

Nancy Schwartz on December 7, 2011 in Writing | 2 comments
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  • http://twitter.com/PhilippaWrites Philippa Willitts

    Great post – this is the kind of thing that is so often overlooked, but which can make a huge difference.

  • Kay Keenan

    One of my favorites is what “Back on My Feet” has done. With their focus on using running to get people out of homeless situations all their staff bios include their shoe size and a photo of them running.http://backonmyfeet.org/back-on-my-feet-national-staff.html

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