storytelling

Visual StorytelingWhen executed well, visual storytelling cuts through the clutter, delivering  a mental image that resonates and is remembered (so more likely to be repeated).

Take this unforgettable example from MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action). I couldn’t look away, but instead lingered on the image, taking in the different women and their range of expressions. Most importantly, the photo quickly and memorably conveys not only what MAMA does, but how—improving health through educating and supporting moms via mobile messages. That’s a tough concept to get in a flash, but this photo says it all.

You can do it too! When you have your message hat on, keep an eye out for the image that says it all, and ask and train your colleagues to do the same. You’ll know it when you see it (or get a vision of what set up will be unforgettable), just like the  MAMA folks did.

BTW, MAMA does great here on the relevance scale as well, leading linking this visual story with International Women’s Day (coming up later this week).

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More on Visual Storytelling

Nancy Schwartz on March 4, 2015 in storytelling | 0 comments
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Yes you can—Find, Shape & Share Stories that Activate Your Supporters. Join me on October 1 in NYC. But register right now. Just a few seats remain.

In the competition for attention, connection and action, CHOOSING WHAT TO TALK ABOUT and HOW is one of the most powerful marketing methods your nonprofit has. But many organizations leave this game-changer undeveloped or overlooked altogether.

That’s where the right stories come in, and they have far too much potential to ignore! So don’t . Instead…
Join me for this intensive (but totally fun!) hands-on workshop, Wednesday, October 1 in New York City. In just three hours, you’ll finish with a draft story ready to use, and the skills and tools to create more!

Register right now. Just a few seats left.
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Nancy Schwartz on September 16, 2014 in storytelling | 0 comments
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Flickr: Zennie AbrahamWhen I heard that Maya Angelou had passed away this week, I was saddened, humbled and hugely appreciative.

Unlike most writers (especially poets and memoirists) or activists, Dr. Angelou made herself and her perspective accessible and relevant to all. She did so by shaping her writing around the same sensations and feelings each one of us experiences, bridging the gap between her life and point of view, and ours:

Human beings should understand how other humans feel no matter where they are, no matter what their language or culture is, no matter their age, and no matter the age in which they live. If you develop the art of seeing us as more alike than we are unalike, then all stories are understandable. (via Harvard Business Review)

There’s so much I learned from Angelou, so many ways and times she inspired me. Today, I want to share her storytelling secret sauce with you…

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Nancy Schwartz on May 29, 2014 in storytelling | 2 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.

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 | 11 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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