While all nonprofits share the same overarching goal—to fulfill a specific social need, mission, or purpose—the details of each organization’s story vary. It’s this story that allows like-minded individuals who share your passion to connect with your nonprofit and achieve meaningful change.
Whether you’re a new founder or have been in the space for some time, it always helps to learn new storytelling tips to evolve your tactics with your nonprofit. We’ll be covering these key areas of nonprofit storytelling:
This guide will help you understand the basics of nonprofit storytelling and how to hone your organization’s narrative.
Telling your story strategically is critical to achieving your mission because it:
Ultimately, your nonprofit’s story contextualizes your values, origins, and goals so you can better resonate with your audience.
Compelling nonprofit stories are similar to those found in a book or told over generations. They have these components in common:
While your story is centered around your organization, it should feature your most important stakeholders: your beneficiaries. Ensure that you amplify their voices by weaving your story with theirs to create an intricate tapestry of perspectives. The more emotional and beneficiary-focused your story is, the more that your audience will empathize with them and want to join your cause.
Now that you understand what is part of a great nonprofit story, let’s go over how to tell your story:
These tips will help you resonate with your audience, bring your story to life, and demonstrate your case for support.
Before you start revamping your nonprofit story, consider these inspiring examples of organizations that have mastered storytelling.
Kindness.org, an example organization from Fifty & Fifty’s guide to nonprofit digital marketing, powerfully communicates its purpose and impact. On its “About Us” webpage, the organization uses data to display its programs’ effects across numerous verticals:
Additionally, Kindness.org goes above and beyond to “show, not tell” on its website:
By putting its mission on a global scale and referencing forms of prejudice, Kindness.org demonstrates how vital its work is and which communities you’ll be supporting if you contribute to their cause.
As one of the most famous nonprofits in the world, Habitat for Humanity has a complex story of transforming the lives of millions of people. However, they still effectively communicate their impact and purpose in this example of a digital greeting card from eCardWidget:
Though this Christmas eCard only contains a few words, Habitat for Humanity features its beneficiaries building a gingerbread house, which mirrors its mission of building houses for people experiencing homelessness. As such, the card evokes empathy from audiences, captures the giving spirit of Christmas, and showcases how nonprofits can weave their story into even the smallest forms of communication.
When SickKids needed a new way to maximize donor engagement and fundraising revenue during their virtual campaign, they successfully supplemented their strategy with video. This video complements SickKids’ story of providing life-saving medical care for children across Canada by showing patients in hospital beds, highlighting who would benefit from donations. Peer-to-peer fundraisers were also shown enthusiastically demonstrating their passion for the cause, which can inspire the viewer to give or create a campaign of their own.
Ultimately, your nonprofit’s history is facts and figures, but you can transform it into a captivating narrative by following this guide. If you’re inspired by our tips, consider amplifying your story by updating your website and social media profiles. You can also partner with a nonprofit marketing agency to help you create a comprehensive storytelling strategy. With the right approach and digital assets, you can bring your nonprofit’s story to life and motivate meaningful progress toward your organization’s vision.