Nonprofit Storytelling #1-8
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).
MMP supports and strengthens mentoring programs in Massachusetts and faces this marketing challenge common to every organization that doesn’t provide direct services:
Here are two absolutely irresistible (and free) ways to build your storytelling and video skills.
1) Jump into the free training offered right now with the Tech Soup Digital Storytelling Challenge, and submit your video by April 30.
Ready to change the world with a story? So is TechSoup, which is dedicated to providing your nonprofit, library, or charity with the resources it needs to tell its story.
Participate in these no-charge interactive trainings (listed below) to learn valuable storytelling and production skills, then create your own story to enter the challenge by April 30.
Welcome to guest blogger Meghan Hurley, Special Events Intern at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a senior at Loyola University Maryland.
Congrats to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for 40 years of persistent work to improve access to, and quality of, health care. RWJF has a multi-faceted anniversary campaign in place including sharing stories of those who have been touched by its work in some way.
Storytelling is a natural component of an anniversary campaign, but requires your organization to find those meaningful stories that may well have been lost (or never gathered, noted or heard) over the years. Here’s what Meghan writes about RWJF’s story banking approach and results….
Annie Escobar is co-founder of ListenIn Pictures which produces compelling video stories for nonprofits.
I’m on a mission to end bad nonprofit video. You know, the boring, long, put-you-to-sleep video about what the nonprofit does and not why, how or results. Nonprofits have too much on the line—and too many inspiring stories—for this.
Last week I had the joy of participating in #12NTC (the 2012 NTEN—Nonprofit Technology Network—Conference), with so many incredible peers in the nonprofit sector. I learned a ton, from one-to-one conversations and from the formal sessions, and will be sharing those insights and guidance out with you over the weeks to come.
Four storytelling superstars and I jointly presented Say It in Pixels: Visual Storytelling in the 21st Century (12NTCSIIP). Cara Jones of Storytellers for Good and I kicked off with some must-dos for every successful story, narrative or visual:
Guest blogger Kim St. John-Stevenson is the communications officer at the St. Luke’s Foundation of Cleveland, and a dedicated advocate for funding nonprofit skill building in Communications.
“To be or not to be, that is the question.” Most people recognize that as a classic Shakespearean quote, from Hamlet. But did you know the following quotes also come from Shakespeare’s pen?
- A foregone conclusion. (Othello)
- Come full circle. (King Lear)
- Eat me out of house and home. (Henry IV)
- Come what may. (Macbeth)
The fact that these and hundreds more everyday phrases were penned more than 400 years ago is absolute validation that Shakespeare knew a thing or two about telling a great story, and there’s lots for us to learn from this.
Guest blogger Kimberlee Roth, one of our team’s valued writers, has written 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.
Whether told through gestures, symbols or spoken words, carvings on a cave wall or YouTube videos, we humans have used stories as a communications strategy for thousands of years. It’s intuitive in many respects to tell a story.
I recently heard from Project HOPE‘s (PH) Marisol Murphy-Ballantyne, who wanted to share the communications innovations integrated into the org’s new website.
Frankly, I (and your audiences) couldn’t care less about a new website. And organizations that announce the launch of a new site as if it’s news drive me nuts.
But when I hear about a new or improved site that makes it easier or more effective for the org and its base to achieve its goals, that is news.
Marisol and colleagues made many of the typical updates in the new site — improving access to basic information on its international health education and humanitarian programs, and adding homepage links to Project HOPE’s Facebook Fan and Cause pages, and its Twitter and YouTube channels.
But far more important are these two changes, likely to make a real difference in engaging the org’s base:
- A new series of stories of individuals like Consuelo Rodriguez participating in PH’s programs are much more meaningful that the broad-based descriptions and stats of those served that are featured in the program summaries.
- The ability of donors, friends and fans to create their own fundraising webpages, similar those created by ActBlue supporters during the 2008 elections. Users choose the specific Project HOPE program (by geography or focus) they want to fundraise for, describe what the organization means to them, then quickly and easily create and promote their fundraising page. The leading fundraiser to date (and this is brand new) has raised over $10,000!
Thanks for the heads up, Marisol. These are two significant improvements to the site that are strong models for your colleague nonprofit communicators.
What innovations are you creating for your org’s website? Let me know and I’ll blog about them. Thanks!
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