messaging

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of diving deeper into the science of communications with Ira Flatow, host of radio show Science Today, and Sendhil Mullainathan, Professor of Economics at Harvard, who specializes in behavioral economics.

These rare birds—science specialists fluent in bringing scientists and the public together in dialogue—quickly jumped into a compelling discussion on how the mind interacts with messages and data to understand the world around us, and decide how to act.

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Nancy Schwartz on March 5, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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Nonprofit Storytelling #1-9

Today I’m going to show you how to shape and share another of the six types of stories your organization has to tell—your success stories.

Success stories (a.k.a. impact stories) are the stories most frequently told. And, when done right, these stories are unequaled in showing the value of your organization’s work in moving your issue or cause forward and matching the personal goals of prospects and supporters. 

The great thing is that you have many of these success stories to tell, and the potential for using them to move your people to the actions you want is huge. So invest the time and effort it takes to do them right.

Two Aha! Success Stories—
Showing the Before and After in a Memorable Way
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Nancy Schwartz on February 27, 2013 in storytelling | 2 comments
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Nonprofit Storytelling #1-9

Today I’m going to show you how to shape and share another of the six types of stories your organization has to tell—your focus story. This is so vital in connecting your work and impact with what matters to your prospects and supporters, so make sure to do it right.

Warning: Telling a good focus story is particularly challenging (and especially important vital) for policy organizations, intermediary organizations (e.g. community foundations, United Ways, nonprofit support orgs and others that help nonprofits do their work better and more broadly) and really, for most organizations that don’t provide direct services. Here’s how to do it well.

The Typical Nonprofit Focus Story
Is your focus story as inaccessible (and boring, let’s just say it) as this one?
Many are, especially for the organizations that need strong focus stories to clarify what they do and why folks should care.

 Nonprofit Storytelling Don't

 What? I don’t even understand this. It makes me tired.

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Nancy Schwartz on February 20, 2013 in storytelling | 0 comments
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New Nonprofit Elevator Pitch

Part One: New Pitches 1-3

“From the minute the first elevator zoomed up in 1853, people have been polishing their elevator pitches. The idea was that if the big prospect ever strode into your elevator, you’d be able to  smoothly explain your organization and your role there by the time you reached your floor.”

But that traditional elevator pitch is dead!  Here’s why, and how to persuade people to give, volunteer and support your cause today:  READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz on February 13, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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I think you see what I mean. (Watch video here)

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived a gunshot wound to the head in a January 2011 shooting spree, has spent the last two years re-learning how to walk, talk, read and write. And she opened yesterday’s Senate hearings on gun control with this unforgettable statement.

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Nancy Schwartz on January 31, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Nonprofit Storytelling #1-9

Today I’m going to show you how to shape and share one of the six types of stories your organization has to tell, the founding story.

The Typical Nonprofit Founding Story
Is yours as deadly as this one? Because you have all the ingredients to make it far more effective.

Typical Founding Story

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Nancy Schwartz on January 23, 2013 in storytelling | 1 comment
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Nonprofit Storytelling #1-9

There’s so much content around on storytelling, lots of its focused on why stories are so effective.

But there’s far less guidance on helping you know what your story possibilities are, and building your skills in shaping and sharing your stories. That’s what most of you said you wanted to know to become 5-star storytellers, and that’s the focus of this series.

Storytelling starts with finding the stories your organization already has. But, most of you tell me you don’t know where to find your stories. Here’s how..

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Nancy Schwartz on January 16, 2013 in storytelling | 2 comments
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“From the minute the first elevator zoomed up in 1853, people have been polishing their elevator pitches. The idea was that if the big prospect ever strode into your elevator, you’d be able to  smoothly explain your organization and your role there by the time you reached your floor.”

But that elevator pitch is dead, and you need to take a radically new approach. Here’s why, and how:
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Nancy Schwartz on January 14, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 4 comments
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You tell me you’re always seeking more effective ways to build interest and action. Well, there’s no better way than letting your supporters and partners do the talking with testimonials.

Few of you use testimonials—the essence of the kind of consumer-based marketing you’re hearing so much about right now—to full effect. I’m hope to motivate you to change that with this easy-to-get-to success story from Help a Reporter Out (HARO)—a wonderful free service that links reporters with expert sources.

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Nancy Schwartz on January 8, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 3 comments
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Nonprofit Storytelling #1-9

It’s a simple equation, at least theoretically.

Your goal is to change how people perceive, think, and give or act around your issue or cause.

Connection is the lubricant for those changes. You have to connect before you can persuade. But…
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Nancy Schwartz on November 26, 2012 in storytelling | 3 comments
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