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The Art of Finding Your Story
By Tiva Quinn
Onwords! Consulting
Onwords.net
tiva@onwords.net
Tiva Quinn,
Onwords! Consulting
About Me:
• Over $20M raised through the power of
storytelling
– Ecotrust Canada
– Alaska Native Heritage Center
– 10 years consulting on planning & fundraising
• Animator since 2011
– Seedstock Community Currency
– Reel Causes
About You
• Interested in video
• Don’t have a staff position for it
• Most of you are repeat Netsquared audience,
so part of that overall dialog
Starting out w video:
common problems
• No staff often means several dep’ts
brainstorm together (good)
• But no one is really asking video-centric
questions to guide the process (bad)
• Like anything, 85% of making a good video is
planning
• But a lot of NP’s will charge in without even
asking the top 2 planning questions…
The Top Two Planning Questions
Who is our audience? What do we want
them to do?
Who is it for?
• People you serve
• Existing donor/volunteer base
• New audience w aligned values
• New audience, neutral values – education
• Specific demographics?
• Going beyond the choir!
What do we want them to do?
• Donate
• Volunteer
• Contact politicians
• Change spending habits
• Change diet, recycle, share goods etc.
What’s Their Problem
Traditional Mktg Question:
What problem can you solve for this audience?
Non-profit variation:
Why would this audience
care about what you do?
What’s Their Problem, Pt.2
• Linkage / Ability / Interest – how does that
translate into search terms they might use?
• Honest SEO is in. Make sure those search
terms are a good fit for the video you make.
8 Non-profit Storytelling rules
(that I learned from grant writing)
1. Start off strong – NEVER assume you’ve got a
captive audience.
2. Always include head & heart.
Non-profit Storytelling rules
3. Rely on familiar themes and visual
metaphors, but…
4. Also use new information or a surprising
twist – they’re here to learn.
8 Non-profit Storytelling rules
5. Make sure you describe a problem that’s
fixable, not an overwhelming crisis.
Non-profit Storytelling rules
6. The #1 question you must answer:
“so what?” (Why should I care?)
7. Build it & they will come does NOT
work! How will they find you?
8 Non-profit Storytelling rules
• Last One:
8. Go backwards or spiral out if that’s the best
way to find your story.
Balancing Acts
What Have You Already Got?
• Go over successful ask letters, events,
proposals – why did it work?
• Survey or focus group your supporters –
what’s in it for them?
• Remember to look for head & heart.
• Ask staff too, but this video is not for them!
Starting to Think Visual
• Who is your audience?
– Pacing
– Tone / language for voiceovers & text
– What visuals make sense
What do you want them to do?
• Take action?
– 90 seconds, tops – then
lead directly to a page
focused on that action
• Learn something?
– 5 minutes, tops – no
dead pixels
As You Look For Your Story
• Start thinking about context – where will you
advertise, what’s the style there?
• Starting point formula:
– 1/3 empathize
– 1/3 explain
– 1/3 call to action
Brainstorm Variations
• What if we used relatable characters & a
Hero’s Journey, like Meatrix or Reel Causes?
– (people you serve? Or donors?)
• What if we speak directly to “you” like Follow
the Frog?
• What if it’s more word-driven, w a series of
illustrations to add interest, like Story of Stuff?
• What if we do something interactive or
crowdsourced like “It Gets Better?”
If You’re Really Stuck
• Do you have an enemy? What’s their story?
How can you undermine it?
• Do you have competition? What makes you
different? (Do NOT name/shame competition
in your video… )
• Can you do a spoof like Meatrix or Old Spice
ads? (careful w this…)
• Write a rant about stuckness & see what
comes up
Next Steps
• Run the script(s) past a test audience, make
sure it makes sense to them – a sketchy draft
vid would be even better.
• What’s the Title? Upworthy brainstorms 25
titles or more for each shared link.
• Where will you promote it?
Sources
• Winning the Story Wars, Jonah Sachs
• Made to Stick, Chip & Dan Heath
• Into Focus: A Benchmark Guide to Effective
Nonprofit Video, See3 Communications
• Playbook for Good, Youtube

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The Art of Finding Your Story: NetSquared Vancouver 2013-08-14

  • 1. The Art of Finding Your Story By Tiva Quinn Onwords! Consulting Onwords.net tiva@onwords.net
  • 2. Tiva Quinn, Onwords! Consulting About Me: • Over $20M raised through the power of storytelling – Ecotrust Canada – Alaska Native Heritage Center – 10 years consulting on planning & fundraising • Animator since 2011 – Seedstock Community Currency – Reel Causes
  • 3. About You • Interested in video • Don’t have a staff position for it • Most of you are repeat Netsquared audience, so part of that overall dialog
  • 4. Starting out w video: common problems • No staff often means several dep’ts brainstorm together (good) • But no one is really asking video-centric questions to guide the process (bad) • Like anything, 85% of making a good video is planning • But a lot of NP’s will charge in without even asking the top 2 planning questions…
  • 5. The Top Two Planning Questions Who is our audience? What do we want them to do?
  • 6. Who is it for? • People you serve • Existing donor/volunteer base • New audience w aligned values • New audience, neutral values – education • Specific demographics? • Going beyond the choir!
  • 7. What do we want them to do? • Donate • Volunteer • Contact politicians • Change spending habits • Change diet, recycle, share goods etc.
  • 8. What’s Their Problem Traditional Mktg Question: What problem can you solve for this audience? Non-profit variation: Why would this audience care about what you do?
  • 9. What’s Their Problem, Pt.2 • Linkage / Ability / Interest – how does that translate into search terms they might use? • Honest SEO is in. Make sure those search terms are a good fit for the video you make.
  • 10. 8 Non-profit Storytelling rules (that I learned from grant writing) 1. Start off strong – NEVER assume you’ve got a captive audience. 2. Always include head & heart.
  • 11. Non-profit Storytelling rules 3. Rely on familiar themes and visual metaphors, but… 4. Also use new information or a surprising twist – they’re here to learn.
  • 12. 8 Non-profit Storytelling rules 5. Make sure you describe a problem that’s fixable, not an overwhelming crisis.
  • 13. Non-profit Storytelling rules 6. The #1 question you must answer: “so what?” (Why should I care?) 7. Build it & they will come does NOT work! How will they find you?
  • 14. 8 Non-profit Storytelling rules • Last One: 8. Go backwards or spiral out if that’s the best way to find your story.
  • 16. What Have You Already Got? • Go over successful ask letters, events, proposals – why did it work? • Survey or focus group your supporters – what’s in it for them? • Remember to look for head & heart. • Ask staff too, but this video is not for them!
  • 17. Starting to Think Visual • Who is your audience? – Pacing – Tone / language for voiceovers & text – What visuals make sense
  • 18. What do you want them to do? • Take action? – 90 seconds, tops – then lead directly to a page focused on that action • Learn something? – 5 minutes, tops – no dead pixels
  • 19. As You Look For Your Story • Start thinking about context – where will you advertise, what’s the style there? • Starting point formula: – 1/3 empathize – 1/3 explain – 1/3 call to action
  • 20. Brainstorm Variations • What if we used relatable characters & a Hero’s Journey, like Meatrix or Reel Causes? – (people you serve? Or donors?) • What if we speak directly to “you” like Follow the Frog? • What if it’s more word-driven, w a series of illustrations to add interest, like Story of Stuff? • What if we do something interactive or crowdsourced like “It Gets Better?”
  • 21. If You’re Really Stuck • Do you have an enemy? What’s their story? How can you undermine it? • Do you have competition? What makes you different? (Do NOT name/shame competition in your video… ) • Can you do a spoof like Meatrix or Old Spice ads? (careful w this…) • Write a rant about stuckness & see what comes up
  • 22. Next Steps • Run the script(s) past a test audience, make sure it makes sense to them – a sketchy draft vid would be even better. • What’s the Title? Upworthy brainstorms 25 titles or more for each shared link. • Where will you promote it?
  • 23. Sources • Winning the Story Wars, Jonah Sachs • Made to Stick, Chip & Dan Heath • Into Focus: A Benchmark Guide to Effective Nonprofit Video, See3 Communications • Playbook for Good, Youtube