Super Storytelling for Nonprofits

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Five keys to telling super stories for and about your nonprofit, and tactics for working across barriers to find the best stories.

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Super Storytelling for Nonprofits

  1. 1. SUPER STORYTELLING The power to unite, inspire and engage ARC Communications Richelle Morgan  Amy BlakeWillamette Valley Development Officers Regional Conference May 18, 2012
  2. 2. The power of storyIn order for nonprofit stories tostand out amidst the noise,they will need to be morecharacter driven, more vulnerable,more humorous or otherwiseemotionally poignant.Cara Jones, Storytellers for Good
  3. 3. Five keys to storytellingUnlock the secret to telling fundraising stories: • Hero • Passion • Obstacle/Conflict • Transformation • Audience
  4. 4. Five keys to storytelling• Hero*• Passion• Obstacle/Conflict• Transformation• Audience Note: A hero does not need to be a superhero.
  5. 5. Five keys to storytelling• Hero• Passion• Obstacle/Conflict• Transformation• Audience
  6. 6. Five keys to storytelling• Hero• Passion• Obstacle/Conflict• Transformation• Audience
  7. 7. Five keys to storytelling• Hero• Passion• Obstacle/Conflict• Transformation• Audience
  8. 8. Five keys to storytelling• Hero• Passion• Obstacle/Conflict• Transformation• Audience
  9. 9. Nonprofit storytelling Five Keys 1. Hero 2. Passion 3. Obstacle 4. TransformationWho are your heroes? 5. Audience• Staff• Volunteer• Founder• Board member• Donor• Others?
  10. 10. Nonprofit heroesThe last gasp of a polar bearbefore it drowns in thevast waters …The fumbled cries ofnewborn polar bear cubs …The exhaustion of a mother polar bearand her young as they succumb to starvation …Writing Tip: Use vivid details to bring heroes to life.
  11. 11. Nonprofit storytelling Five Keys 1. Hero 2. Passion 3. Obstacle 4. TransformationWhat is your passion? 5. Audience• What emotions are behind facts and numbers?• What will move donors?• How can you turn telling to showing?
  12. 12. Nonprofit passion One small triumph … that will be replayed more than 50 times this week. You can help Zoe – and all the dogs of our shelter – by making a generous gift today …Writing Tip: Break down a big problem into a small,do-able task.
  13. 13. Nonprofit storytelling Five Keys 1. Hero 2. Passion 3. Obstacle 4. TransformationWhat are the obstacles? 5. Audience• What enemies do you face?• What roadblocks stand in the way? – Time, money – Attitudes, awareness – Circumstances, environment
  14. 14. Nonprofit obstacles …There was a gaping hole in the relief that nursing homes can provide to their Jewish patients …Writing Tip: Decide what stance to take –against an enemy or overcoming a challenge.
  15. 15. Nonprofit storytelling Five Keys 1. Hero 2. Passion 3. Obstacle 4. Transformation 5. AudienceWhat do you seek to transform?• How will you spend the donor’s money?• Can you be specific or quantify the work?• How can you make it real or more relatable?
  16. 16. Nonprofit transformation…immerse yourself in intense,probing conversationand leave armed withstrategies to makeyour workplace moreopen and inclusive.Writing Tip: Avoid jargon and use strong words.Quantify where possible.
  17. 17. Nonprofit storytelling Five Keys 1. Hero 2. Passion 3. Obstacle 4. TransformationWho are you telling the story to? 5. Audience• Age• Education level• Income level• Other relevant information
  18. 18. Nonprofit audienceWriting Tip: Imagine one person. Put up apicture so you’re always writing to him/her.
  19. 19. Five keys to storytelling • Hero • Passion • Obstacle/Conflict • Transformation • Audience
  20. 20. Barriers to storytelling• Interpersonal – Awareness – Understanding – Support• Personal – Time – Location• Organizational – Silos – Policies – Systems
  21. 21. Removinginterpersonalbarriers isas easy as…opening the linesof communication…and opening doors.
  22. 22. Focus on barriers you can affect• Interpersonal – Awareness – Understanding – Support• Personal – Time – Place• Organizational – Silos – Policies – Systems
  23. 23. Identify stories and storytellers Look for stories in• What stories do you your want to tell? mission, values, and taglines.• Who has your “Changing lives. organization’s stories? Building communities. – Employees – Volunteers Creating opportunities.” Central City Concern – Clients or service recipients – Donors – Special experts
  24. 24. A positive approach• Create awareness.• Cultivate understanding.• Build support.
  25. 25. Create awareness • Talk to people – everyone! • Go to the stories. • Gather in groups. • Get the word out.
  26. 26. Cultivate understanding• Articulate purpose of stories.• Connect individuals to big picture. – Mission, values, campaign, etc.• Use five keys – Talk about heroes, obstacles, passion and transformation.• Share examples, results and feedback.
  27. 27. Build support• Create easy ways to share stories. Ive got campaigners sitting in campaign strategy sessions• Celebrate stories and and talking about how their work applies to fundraising. storytellers. Thats new, and it makes my job so much• Be consistent and easier. Development Director reliable. Friends of the Earth• Communicate outcomes up and out.
  28. 28. Keep growing The key to a healthy society is a thriving community of storytellers. Franco Sacchi, Nollywood Workshops• Build capacity – storytelling corps.• Create processes, share knowledge.• Integrate technology.• Keep looking and listening.• Share your story.
  29. 29. Hero  Passion  ObstacleTransformation  Audience Your Story
  30. 30. Thank you! Richelle Morgan Amy R. BlakeRichelle@arc-comms.com Amy@arc-comms.com www.arc-comms.com

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