nonprofit storytelling

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 | 1 comment
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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

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 | 5 comments
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Guest blogger Kimberlee Roth, one of our team’s valued writers, has cribbed for the Chicago Tribune and The Chronicle of Philanthropy among other publications. She provides writing and editing services to universities, health systems and other nonprofits.

As nonprofits continue to realize the value of storytelling in their print and digital communications, strong interview skills are critical for capturing constituent stories. Interviewing really is an art, as I learned when I first started writing professionally more than a dozen years ago. These eight guidelines can help you conduct better interviews and accurately capture the most compelling stories.
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Guest Blogger on May 31, 2012 in storytelling | 0 comments
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Invisible Children’s (IC) Kony 2012 is the poster child of nonprofit video storytelling. It got attention (50 million YouTube views in the first week of release) and generated some level of understanding of the atrocities of Joseph Kony, the Ugandan rebel leader, and his LRA army.

Although the video will be remembered forever as a way to scale awareness at the speed of light by going viral, it also highlighted the challenges of visual storytelling. Kony 2012 generated widespread skepticism for its simplification of a complex situation, the infeasibility of the proposed solution, and the sensationalism of its storytelling. That, followed by the public and extreme breakdown of Invisible Children’s co-founder Jason Russell, raised a lot of eyebrows.
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Nancy Schwartz on April 5, 2012 in storytelling | 2 comments
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