3 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Use Storytelling as a Strategy

by | Oct 29, 2018 | All Blogs, Featured

3 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Use Storytelling as a Strategy

Storytelling is key to helping your stakeholders identify with your organization, and social media is the perfect tool to get your story out there. There is so much that goes into a digital marketing strategy, but it’s important to remember that at the end of the day all marketing is about people. And just like you do in your organization every day, you need your digital marketing strategy to specifically connect with the people in our community.

Whether you’re looking for new donors, new clients to use your services, or new partner organizations, you’re still dealing with people. What’s more, you’re dealing with people in a digitally oversaturated world. According to Hubspot, the average American sees 100,500 digital words a day. People are overwhelmed with marketing messages from every angle, and the only real way to capture their attention is with a clever, compelling story.

Lucky for you, your organization is overflowing with clever, compelling stories. You just have to do a bit of digging to uncover them. Consider the following ideas a roadmap to get you started:


According to Simon Sinek, “The WHY is the purpose, cause or belief that drives every one of us.” When he first encouraged the world to find their purpose in life, Simon was speaking into the lives of everyone, including your target audience. Passion is contagious, and when you can find your organization’s “why” and package it into a powerful story, your message will take off like wildfire.

One great example of a nonprofit with a powerful “why” is charity: water. For the folks over at charity: water, their mission of bringing “clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries” is brought to life with every post, blog, and email blast. And people are paying attention. Since its inception in 2006, this incredible organization has followed their “why” and built wells to give 8,497,062 people access to clean water.
So, whatever your “why” is, follow their example and find a way to put it to work by building your story strategy and visuals around it:

Whether you have a full roster of rockstar employees or your organization thrives with the help of selfless volunteers, your team has a powerful story to tell. Nonprofit work is not easy, no matter what you do, and everyone from your CEO to a volunteer on their first day likely has an amazing reason for being a part of what you do. Start asking questions and see what stories you can uncover.

Maybe your volunteers have a personal connection to your organization. Maybe they had a life-changing experience while working with you. Maybe their time with your organization has had further-reaching effects than you could have possibly imagined. You won’t know until you start asking questions and digging deeper with your team.
The American Red Cross does an amazing job of telling their volunteers’ stories. Spend more than a couple minutes on their Facebook page and you will feel called to act, to give, to work, to become a part of what they are doing for those in need. What they are doing goes beyond marketing and straight into people’s hearts:

Speaking of reaching the heart of your organization, it is a no-brainer to highlight the people you are helping. Maybe you run a dog shelter and you help connect neglected animals to their forever families. Maybe you help at-risk youth gain access to educational opportunities. Maybe you help veterans find medical care. Whatever you do, there is someone at the other end of your work whose life you have changed for the better.

These people are the heart of your organization, the heart of your “why.” These are the stories of changed lives and uplifted communities, the stories that will drive your message home.

If you’re looking for inspiration in heartfelt storytelling, look no further than the ASPCA. Their digital marketing strategy is built on beautiful stories with high-quality images and videos that effectively get the message across. After seeing the tales (pun intended) of dogs and families that found each other against all odds, you can’t help but feel connected to this organization and the work they are doing:

Though each of these nonprofits is different, they all have something in common- they all have life-changing stories that people need to know. So, what about you? Are you ready to take your marketing efforts to the next level by digging deep into the stories of your organization’s why, your organization’s team, and your organization’s heart?

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