Storytelling for nonprofits
Every business model is driven by a story, a tale that connects with the target audience and establishes an emotional bond. This ‘tangible’ connection is of the utmost importance for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profit organizations (NPOs). The cause that such organizations are working towards should be authentically conveyed to the public. This is where the role of storytelling steps in.
Your story must not only be relevant but poignant as well. It should be thought-provoking and capable of evoking the deepest of emotions. Ask yourself, why should a person, sitting in a uber-cool city in a highly developed and technologically advanced country, care about the lack of toilets in an African nation or the lack of clean drinking water in some remote corner of the globe? Above all, why should the individual become part of the cause initiated by your organization?
This is why your initiative should be backed by the most important element—a powerful story. Remember, a powerful story is just half the battle won. Some of the most moving stories can fail to leave an impact if not told effectively. Therefore, the way a story is conveyed holds great significance.
This brings us to some of the basic components of powerful storytelling for nonprofits:
It should engage the audience. The story should be gripping so that at no point should the target group feel disconnected or disinterested. You can play with a host of mediums, such as photographs, audio-visual elements, case-studies, et cetera. All these, and much more, can be used to hold your audience’s attention and keep them glued to your message. Remember, the human mind likes and seeks novelty, if your story follows linearity, it is likely to drift away.
You know that the story of your cause is likely to engage the audience but will it not go a notch higher if it manages to evoke emotions? Establishing an emotional connection is necessary as it ensures a personal connection. When people get involved at a personal level, the impact of the story is likely to stay with them longer; it lingers, often resulting in action.
Explore how the story of your brand or impact project connects with the audience, what can make them relate to it, then strum those chords. Evoke empathy along with establishing an emotional connection.
However, bear in mind that this emotional connection is established based on an ‘authentic’ example. Which takes us to the next point.
The more authentic the story of your cause, the better it will be. Authenticity is the hallmark of charity causes and impact projects. You weave a story around the current state of affairs and put forth your proposal to better the situation. Again, the element of authenticity can blend with your story with the help of audio-visual elements, case studies, testimonies, photographs, et all. An authentic story, based on trends, facts, and personal accounts of individuals will help win your audience’s trust.
Nonprofit storytelling example
One of the biggest examples of powerful storytelling is Scott Harrison’s journey from the fast-paced and dizzying world of nightclubs to floating a charity organization dedicated to providing clean and safe drinking water.
After over a decade of working as a party and nightclub promoter in New York, Harrison quit his job to volunteer as a photojournalist with a fleet of hospital ships that offered free healthcare in some of the poorest nations. Harrison’s camera captured moving, poignant images of extreme poverty, suffering and pain. The fact that people struggled, and faced debilitating ailments, just for the want of clean, drinking water, jolted his soul. The result was ‘charity: water’.
All that Harrison had was an astonishing set of visuals and an account of the suffering he witnessed on those hospital ships. On his 31st birthday, he launched the organization and asked his friends to donate $31 for the cause. The rest was history. In 2017, over a decade after the launch of charity: water in 2006, Harrison claimed to receive $325,278 from donations.
As this blog underscored the importance of storytelling, we aim to tell you what results from a powerful story can yield and the ingredients that go into impactful, powerful storytelling. The content of your message is important but how and where you convey it also holds significance. Factor in mediums such as social media platforms and leverage the power of videos for best results.As this blog underscored the importance of storytelling, we aim to tell you what results from a powerful story can yield and the ingredients that go into impactful, powerful storytelling. Click To Tweet
We hope this helped you and you feel ready to use the power of storytelling for your nonprofits. if you have any questions, feel free to contact us via email or social media.