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Storytelling for Non-Profit Marketing

Non-profit marketers have shared success stories about implementing the use of storytelling into their marketing tactics at presentations and conferences. Whether a brand is large or small, the most successful organisations often owe their success to consistent, emotional storytelling. It seems like such a simple concept, but if this is the case, why are there so little non-profits using storytelling in an effective manner?

While there are many successful non-profits out there, you will find many organisations whose storytelling skills are certainly lacking; this has nothing to do with the organisation itself being bad. The majority of organisations are working extremely hard to build better communities and give people a better chance in life.

The Importance of Storytelling in Non-Profit Marketing

However, many are yet to figure out how to tell a clear and captivating story about the purpose of their organisation, their goals and aspirations and why others should get involved. Their marketing efforts are often packed with facts and figures, from the number of children’s lives they have changed to the tons of food they have served to the poor. But this is not storytelling. Emotional connection is lacking, meaning they are struggling to grab people’s attention and raise awareness to encourage engagement and involvement.

If your non-profit fails to get its audience emotionally engaged, it is highly unlikely to have much in the sense of long-term success. It may do well for a while, but eventually you will be replaced by a non-profit who does have a story to tell. This story will be much more capable of attracting volunteers, donors and supporters. As a result, the importance of your organisation will be minimised.

The way that some non-profits are poor storytellers can be split into three main reasons. However, this does not have to be the case. Any organisation that is willing to invest internal time and collaborative thinking can improve how it talks about itself. It can also start connecting with its key constituencies on a more emotional level through insightful storytelling.

Reason 1 – You are a Victim of your Past

Some non-profits have inherited ways of talking about themselves in ways that are not really beneficial in any way. They may spend too much time presenting their visions, the impeccable backgrounds of their high-profile board members, or the magnitude of their work on a global scale.

Though these may all be important points as part of your story, they are not the story itself, and they certainly will not help you connect emotionally. If you really want to engage with your audience, then you need to consider what it is that your organisation is currently doing to help specific individuals and communities that the audience can recognise and relate to.

Email is a great way to tell a powerful story about a specific, challenged individual with their needs being more emotionally captivating, than talking about the many groups your organisation is working with. It is more in depth and personal.

Reason 2 – You’re on an Island

Of course, you will find it is easier to get people excited internally about storytelling when they have shared an understanding of what you mean by the term. This is one of the reasons why storytelling is such a big topic for marketing conferences. However, in most circumstances, the marketers at a non-profit are in the minority. They work with colleagues who initially may not see the value of storytelling.

“Why talk about only one family when we have helped thousands?” This approach is likely to fail to connect emotionally with your audience. If effective storytelling is what you are after, you should invest time in helping your team understand some of the individual, emotional stories that you have written with your organisations actions. You should also explain why these stories are so important before you look beyond your organisation.

Reason 3 – You need Help

In many cases, non-profit marketers are overworked and underpaid. The demands of the job can often be too broad and unrelenting. The idea of stepping back and getting your organisation to rethink how the story should be told may seem daunting and near-impossible.

Bringing in a marketing agency to help can pay off in the long-run. Though you or your organisation may not like the idea of spending money on extra help, many non-profits have declared that such an investment was one of the smartest choices they ever made. Having an experienced agency to help improve storytelling can also enable you to address your challenges more quickly and efficiently than trying to do it all on your own. The investment you make will provide your organisation with even greater future returns and better storytelling methods raise funds, build a portfolio of volunteers and engage with your community.

Talk to Wodehouse Ltd

Wodehouse Ltd are here for all aspects of your marketing needs. From print and direct marketing, to marketing collateral, there is no limit to what we can do for your organisation. Get in touch for more information.

 

 

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