Kayla Matthews is a guest contributor for Nonprofit Hub. She is a writer and blogger with a passion for self-improvement and helping others. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter to read all of her latest posts.
Nonprofits often have their work cut out for them because they depend on donor generosity for survival. However, they also have a powerful tool that can be extremely worthwhile when used wisely: storytelling.
Below, you’ll find out why storytelling is so crucial to a nonprofit website, and how to tell stories that resonate with others.
People Don’t Just Want to Know What Your Organization Does
Learning about the various ways your organization tackles tasks can make for bland reading to a person on the outside. Instead, people want to know about the impact your organization has on others. You can answer that in an engaging way through stories. If there are people who have benefitted from your organization’s services and are willing to speak up, arrange to record testimonials from them.
Retain a person’s own words and only make edits to fix grammatical errors. Leaving the statement basically as is will make it more genuine. Canine Partners for Life, which trains service dogs for people who need them, does a great job using people’s real stories. Their examples even feature pictures of the individuals who wrote the content, alongside their faithful canine companions.
Stories Help People Relate to Your Organization
If it feels like the majority of the community where you work is disconnected from or unaware of your nonprofit, storytelling can solve those problems. In many cases, people may have a real interest in knowing more about your nonprofit, but could be under the impression that the realm that you work in doesn’t relate to them.
Stories can prove otherwise, showing how your organization has broader appeal than some people might have thought. When you write them, make sure to use easy-to-understand language. Otherwise, you risk alienating your readers so they don’t want to read any further than the first paragraph.
Stories Explain How Community Members Can Get Involved
Although people often make fundraising appeals through letters that get sent through the mail, you can also ask for the money you need through a section of your website that features stories. On the other hand, maybe you really need a few volunteers at the front desk of your nonprofit’s office so you’re freed up to get face time with some high-profile donors.
Whether you need a helping hand in the form of donations or assistance through time that’s voluntarily given to you, use a stories page as your platform to honestly describe what’s lacking in your organization, and how anyone who wants to can offer assistance.
Consider using a call-to-action or an open-ended question at the end of the story to get readers thinking and challenging themselves to take the next step by being proactive.
Stories Are Memorable
You can probably still recall some of the tales your parents read to you to help you fall asleep as a child. That’s one reason why many people argue that stories are among the most memorable methods of communication.
In order for stories to best stick in the minds of those who hear or read them, they should have a beginning, middle and end. Also, try to keep the stories as concise as possible so people will stay invested in what you have to say. Every sentence should have a purpose.
Now it should be clear why it’s probably not a good idea to leave stories out of your nonprofit’s website content. Storytelling has an important place in the nonprofit sector. By following these tips, you’ll be able to write stories that the world can’t wait to hear. Hopefully that eagerness will also translate into a greater amount of support for your organization.