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Nonprofit Storytelling Tips Part 1

Clear is better than clever.

Stories are captivating, but humans have short attention spans. Make your story clear and focus on why your organization exists, what it hopes to accomplish, who you’re doing it for, and why should the reader/viewer care.

The beneficiary in the story is the hero, not your organization. Tell their story, not yours. Be specific and use descriptive words. Keep it short and too the point.

In my Roadmap to Storytelling class, I teach the importance of starting with the end in mind.

Here are my 7 favorite tips to help you stay clear in your storytelling.

  1. What do you want the audience to feel and do once they read your story?

  2. Provide a capturing photo or video. If possible let the visual speak for you.

  3. Big and fancy words are great, but are they clear? Are you really hitting home with your message?

  4. Do not go down a rabbit hole trying to over explain a situation or scenario. Be factual and descriptive.

  5. Use an outline or a template that you can reuse over and over again to create a tone your audience will recognize. This is especially important is multiple people are contributing to your storytelling efforts.

  6. Create a bucket of stories that you can pull out at anytime for different reasons. Engage your entire organizations to send those stories to you. Each story will capture different types of donors.

  7. Know the donors you are telling the stories to. If your donor matrix includes a younger audience, are you speaking their language?

I hope this helps you stay focused as you journey into storytelling for your nonprofit.

If you would like to learn more about storytelling for nonprofits, check out our events page or download some of our free resource templates.


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