Posts

7 Steps to Ethical Storytelling (G.R.E.A.T. Stories)

Does the protagonist of your story know what she’s getting into—how you’ll use her story, and the risks are of sharing it? Probably not, if you’re like most communicators. Let’s change that.

Organizations like ours—that share stories regularly to activate our people—wield power and influence. When a protagonist lends us her story to share, she opens herself up to curiosity, criticism, misunderstanding, and sometimes even physical harm. It is our responsibility to respect those whose stories we share, ensuring they 1) are comfortable with the way we use their stories and 2) stay safe.

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5 Storytelling Tips for Your #GivingTuesday Campaign

Guest author JennNonprofit Storytelling #GivingTuesdaya Sauber is a crowdfunding and digital marketing expert at CauseVox, a peer-to-peer fundraising software for nonprofits.

The beauty of a movement like #GivingTuesday is that the nonprofit world gets to shine in the midst of the chaotic and overwhelming madness that is the holiday retail season.

But let’s face it: when your nonprofit is one of hundreds, or thousands participating in this growing global giving day, making your story stand out can be an intimidating task. You’ve got a short lead in to December 2, and then you have 24 hours (less if you think about when people are awake and online) to inspire people to give.

So how do you amp up your fundraising appeal in a way that encourages people to click that donate button? Use the power of storytelling! Here are a few of my favorite tips to consider as you craft your storytelling plan for #GivingTuesday.

1) Make your story relevant

When planning a move, people always say “location, location, location.” For #GivingTuesday, it’s of the utmost importance to keep things relevant. And we’re not just talking about staying on topic to your mission—but think of the time of year, think seasonal.

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How to Spot & Gather Strong Stories

When you gather compelling stories—about beneficiaries, donors, or volunteers, or other players—to share in campaigns, thanks, and other communications, you gain a powerful complement to your data and anecdotal understanding of the people you want to engage. Together, these insights forge a shortcut to engaging hearts, minds, and wallets.

But it can be tough to source the right stories. Stories Worth Telling, a useful guide from the Meyer Foundation, reveals a damaging disconnect in the way organizations collect stories. Almost universally, organizations rely on program staff knowledge and relationships to gather stories, though the department overseeing the storytelling process is typically fundraising (54%) or communications (42%). Yikes!

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The RIGHT Way to Tell Your Story via Video

 

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.

When I first started working with nonprofits to create videos, I realized that communicators see the power of video to connect their audience to their mission, inspire action and build a movement, but often don’t know where to begin.

Overwhelmed, they put everything in a single video. So my business partner Ethan and I went on a journey to give our nonprofit partners a framework for thinking about video.

Here are two approaches we use with great success to help our nonprofit partners identify where their audiences are and what kind of video will help move them to the desired action. Give them a try:

1. How do you want to change the audience?

2. Focus in on a genre

The kind of video that you want to create must be aligned with your goals. It is not effective to create a campaign video asking people to take action on your cause, if they don’t even know what the problem is.

Listed in the image below are the six most powerful non-profit video genres. The colored dots correspond with the image above, highlight the strongest matches between genre and the movement you want your audiences to make:

Use these maps next time you’re starting the video development process to help you narrow your vision and define your goals. Good luck!

What other pressing questions do you have about your video strategy?