storytelling

juliebrownGuest blogger, Julie Brown, Program Director at the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation. Julie is intrigued by storytelling, and the opportunity it offers to inspire donors and volunteers to act.

Barely a year ago, one of my co-workers, Lisa Houck, and I were happy to spend a day together at a Nancy Schwartz training called “How to Tell Five-Star Stories.”   Lisa and I share content management duties for the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation Facebook page.

Other than a hazy wish hoping for additional Facebook followers, we had no specific goals.  Each day, we decided what our followers needed to hear and then we used Facebook to broadcast it to them. And we thought we were pretty good at it!

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Guest Blogger on March 13, 2014 in storytelling | 9 comments
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juliebrownGuest blogger, Julie Brown, Program Director at the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation. Julie is intrigued by storytelling, and the opportunity it offers to inspire donors and volunteers to act.

As storytellers for a Community Foundation, we find ourselves in the enviable position of having too many stories to tell: agency stories of great grant-funded programs, emotional client stories of lives transformed by these programs, and donor stories about those special folks who make all of our work possible.

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Guest Blogger on February 6, 2014 in storytelling | 1 comment
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juliebrownGuest blogger, Julie Brown, Program Director at the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation. Julie is intrigued by storytelling, and the opportunity it offers to inspire donors and volunteers to act.

As a program officer preparing a presentation for our board, I search for one answer:  “What is the common thread in the successful video nonprofit storytelling projects this board has funded?”  Some videos make an impact and some don’t.

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Guest Blogger on December 5, 2013 in storytelling | 12 comments
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chapincoleheadshot13smallGuest blogger, Chapin Cole is a proud Millennial who works in nonprofit development in the California Bay Area. She blogs on getting successful (yet stress-free) as a nonprofit staffer.

Who cares what your nonprofit is doing to change the world? I don’t. I’m busy; I don’t have time to read about programs and services, how many people you’ve lifted out of poverty, or how many children you’ve taught to read.

And yet, the minute you put someone’s story in front of me, I’m hooked.

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Guest Blogger on November 21, 2013 in storytelling | 8 comments
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Whether you love, hate or have never seen Breaking Bad, there’s a lot to learn from its emotionally intense, can’t-stop-watching storytelling.

Pay special attention to these to-dos for your nonprofit storytelling:

  • Remain flexible, i.e. stay relevant—If your network’s perspective, wants or needs change, change your stories (and the rest of your messages) too to ensure connection.
  • Show and tell—Memorable details, like the cotton-candy-colored blue meth that plays a major role in the Breaking Bad story, keep the story running in your listeners’ minds.
  • Distribution is everything—Even the most moving stories will fall flat if you don’t get them out there right. Produce your stories in formats that folks like to share (i.e. video), ask them to spread the word to friends and family and provide specific how-tos to make it easy for them to do so.

Here’s how to break out of bad nonprofit stories:

breaking_bad_infographic.jpg

Nancy Schwartz on November 5, 2013 in storytelling | 2 comments
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We are pleased to welcome our new guest blogger, Julie Brown, Program Director at the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation. Julie is intrigued by storytelling, and the opportunity it offers to inspire donors and volunteers to act.

”The universe is made of stories, not of atoms,” said poet Muriel Rukeyser.

Just a year ago, Ruykeyser’s words proved to be transformational for the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation. As a program officer listening to a grantee report about a local man facing a terrible disease with amazing dignity, I felt called to capture this inspirational story using a medium that could convey its energy.  Grantee interim reports are usually full of data, but this was different; this one had soul.

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Guest Blogger on October 17, 2013 in storytelling | 0 comments
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Nonprofit Storytelling #1-9

This is the last in my six types of stories your organization has to tell series on how to find, shape and share your strength story. Strength stories showcase how your organization’s particular focus or approach adds value to the community you serve and/or and moves your issue or cause forward in a way unmatched by other orgs (a.k.a. differentiation).  

Guru-of-most-things Seth Godin recently summed up the value of differentiation: If there’s not at least one thing that’s distinctive about your organization—OR if you have that unique strength but don’t highlight it—you’re toast. Prospects will think you’re just like every other nonprofit, and that’s death to us marketers and fundraisers.

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Nancy Schwartz on June 11, 2013 in storytelling | 0 comments
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Keshet-DanceI was thrilled to be invited to judge this year’s TechSoup Digital Storytelling Challenge and even more thrilled to see how many powerful videos, and photos (both stills and slide decks/photo series)  were submitted.

There’s so much potential in visual storytelling, but photos (single or series) and video are still not part of the daily communications toolkit for most of us. They should be—these formats have unequaled power to engage, be remembered and shared by your network.

Take a look at the winners of this year’s Challenge to get some great ideas of how you can put picture power to work. Pay special attention to the winning photo and photo series. Still photos carry a lot of power but are frequently overlooked with today’s focus on video…

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Nancy Schwartz on June 4, 2013 in storytelling, Visual | 1 comment

Nonprofit Storytelling #1-9

I’m a sucker for stark contrast. It’s one of the best learning tools ever, and today I’m drawing on examples from  Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP).

The Challenge
MMP supports and strengthens mentoring programs in Massachusetts and faces this marketing challenge common to every organization that doesn’t provide direct services:

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Nancy Schwartz on May 15, 2013 in storytelling | 5 comments
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Nonprofit Storytelling # 1-9

Stories are at the top of the format heap right now, because they work. Although they’ve been around forever (the Lascaux cave paintings in SW France are  17,000 years old), most of us still thrill to good stories on pages and screens.

Why We Respond to Stories
Stories help us make sense of a world that can be hard to understand. Lisa Cron, author of the wonderful Wired for Story, clarifies that stories drive emotions and emotions drive decisions. We count on our emotions to help us break through the clutter of the 3,000 messages we’re bombarded with each day.
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Nancy Schwartz on April 25, 2013 in storytelling | 2 comments
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