Storytelling for Nonprofits
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Storytelling for Nonprofits
Nonprofit Sustainability Through the Art of Storytelling
Curated by Wilton Blake
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The Next Phase of Storytelling

For the past few months I have been deeply reflecting on the role of the storyteller. I have been looking at it both in the context of my sector, the non-profit sector, and well as in a much more broadly across sectors and geographies (the most obvious example of this rise in storytelling is the famous TED Conference).

To speak from experience in the non-profit sector we place tremendous emphasis this skills as it is one of the most powerful tools we have to create empathy, raise capital, and connect people.
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8 great examples of nonprofit storytelling - How to convey a powerful message with videos & photos

8 great examples of nonprofit storytelling - How to convey a powerful message with videos & photos | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
As regular readers know, I’ve been a longtime proponent of visual storytelling to advance the missions of nonprofits, cause organizations and businesses. (Heck, I co-founded Ourmedia.org before there was a YouTube.)

People take action on behalf of a cause only when they feel an emotional connection, and yet nonprofits in particular are famously bad at telling their own stories.

What we tell people in our Socialbrite bootcamps and in our consulting work is this: Every nonprofit is now a media organization (the same goes for social enterprises and businesses). Never before have the tools of visual storytelling been so inexpensive, easy to use and accessible to the masses.

So why aren’t you taking advantage of visual storytelling yet? (Or are you? Tell us in the comments!)
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Applying Social Storytelling to Strategic Online Fundraising

Applying Social Storytelling to Strategic Online Fundraising | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
The fundamental skill of social is applying traditional relationship development savoir faire in the media. Meaning, the tools are the tools, but the actual interaction between people should be the focus for those seeking to cultivate donors. Your communication must convey a compelling story and a means for the donor to participate.
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Fundraisers Are Storytellers, Part 1

Fundraisers Are Storytellers, Part 1 | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
For better or for worse, nonprofit leaders who raise funds are storytellers. They either bore people to death with their stories or they tell such powerful stories that people reach for their wallets.

How do nonprofit leaders tell boring stories?

They describe their programs using insider language and statistics. They say, “we have a developmental training program that teaches life skills to 72 adults with developmental disabilities from our community.”
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Resurgence • Article - Stories for Change

Resurgence • Article - Stories for Change | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
From the comfort of a bedtime story to a tale that can change the course of history or even save lives, storytelling is a powerful tool for social change.

Unusual and effective in its use of storytelling for change, the UK-based organisation Folk Against Fascism (FAF) was founded after the right-wing BNP campaign began to hijack folk music for political gain. In response, FAF released compilation albums, organised high-profile folk events and worked to promote the use of storytelling through music to affirm a more inclusive national identity.
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15 Tips to Building A Better NonProfit Marketing Strategy

15 Tips to Building A Better NonProfit Marketing Strategy | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Storytelling is one of the premiere problems in the nonprofit marketing world. Nonprofit institutions tend to publish and distribute content that reads more like a portfolio than a story.
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Wanted: Master Storytellers

Wanted: Master Storytellers | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
<<< This is from 2005. But hey, isn't that what curation is all about? >>>

This is about storytelling: how journalists tell stories to citizens; how nonprofits tell stories to journalists to convey to citizens; how we tell stories to each other to try to make sense of what is happening to our families, neighbors, and people we don’t know. And this is a plea for better storytelling from the people in clinics and classrooms, programs and public agencies, who have their hands on America’s future.
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Stories Are a Vital Source of Knowledge

Stories Are a Vital Source of Knowledge | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
<<< This is from 2009. But hey, isn't that what curation is all about? >>>

Imagine asking every one of your staff members: "Tell me about the time you felt most connected to the mission of our organization." Ask your program officers, your CFO, your facilities staff. Imagine the range of responses. Imagine the passion you will unleash, and the information you will glean.

Most of the stories you hear in response to that question will not be "diamonds," perfectly encapsulating the mission and brand of your organization. The stories and anecdotes you hear will be more like pebbles and sea glass -- small, colorful glimpses into the meaning of your organization and its work in the daily lives of the people it affects. They will teach you much about the depth and breadth of your organization's impact.
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Q&A with a Story Guru: Patrick Reinsborough Part 4: Society's Guiding Meta-Narratives Need to Shift

Q&A with a Story Guru: Patrick Reinsborough Part 4: Society's Guiding Meta-Narratives Need to Shift | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Q: The storytelling movement seems to be growing explosively. Why now? What is it about this moment in human history and culture that makes storytelling so resonant with so many people right now?

A: I think storytelling and narrative are core to the human experience and have always been at the center of culture. However now I think we’re experiencing a growing interesting in story because there is increasingly recognition that many of the dominant meta-narratives that have been guiding our society need to shift.
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6 Ways To Improve Your Company's Online Content

6 Ways To Improve Your Company's Online Content | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Content creation is very important even if your business is not an online business. When referring to "content," we mean websites, blogs, videos, audio podcasts and even Twitter and Facebook updates.

[The #1 tip is "Become a Storyteller" and the remaining tips can all be supported by storytelling]
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How the Nonprofit Sector is Misusing its Greatest Asset

How the Nonprofit Sector is Misusing its Greatest Asset | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Combing through my attic a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a box of books from my undergraduate days lying in the corner. Going through the box, I was instantly taken back to some of my favorite classes, where new worlds opened up to me through books like the Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, and 20 Years at Hull-House by Jane Addams.

As I reread them, I was again amazed at how vividly some of these books outlined the class struggles of their day. They not only explore issues around poverty in American society, but also changed the face of the social service sector and the government’s response to the poor.

I realized that no one is telling stories like these today.
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Talking Storytelling in Emails

Talking Storytelling in Emails | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Storytelling Q&A with Colin Holtz and Steve Daigneault

Steve and Colin got so many great questions on the (May 2011) call that they ran out of time before they could answer them - but they wrote them all down! Read on to see what they think about how long emails should be, common mistakes in story-based appeals, and the pros and cons of authentic but unpolished stories.
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Q&A with a Story Guru: Patrick Reinsborough Part 2: Helping Progressive Movements Communicate Compelling Stories

Q&A with a Story Guru: Patrick Reinsborough Part 2: Helping Progressive Movements Communicate Compelling Stories | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
smartMeme's Founding Story:

SmartMeme began as a three-day training exploring strategies for building a transformative, earth-centered social movement in a North American context. The founding collective brought together a number of people who were veterans of different social movements — fighting to protect the environment, stop wars, organizing for racial and economic justice.

We all shared a common analysis of the need for fundamental change in the direction of our society but brought very different skills to the table. My background was as a grassroots organizer, campaigner and direct action strategist.

The other founders included an advertiser, a filmmaker and a forest ecologist turned international finance campaigner. As the project evolved we were fortune to add a fifth person to our collective — a teacher who had decided to work as an educator in social movements rather than in a traditional class room setting. . . .
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Persuasive Storytelling for Your Nonprofit

Persuasive Storytelling for Your Nonprofit | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Most successful communications products, both print and online, have something in common. They begin with a real story about a person or situation that motivates the reader to read on. And, just like a good novel, the story features interesting characters, a rich context and a compelling plot. Think “Anna Karenina,” not Danielle Steel.

Storytelling cuts through the mass of information surrounding us. So, instead of being bombarded with facts, names, figures, and other chunks of information that dull your prospect’s interest, a story lead makes what you’re trying to say seem personal and exciting.
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Millennial Donors 2011 Research

Millennial donors are different than donors from past generations – but not in the ways you might expect. Yes, technology and social media are integral parts of their lives, but these donors are driven by personal relationships and human connections. In this way, they are like more established donors and volunteers. And they expect to be treated as such.

As a result, we believe organizations need to realign their young-donor engagement strategies, with the expectation that this undertaking will not produce quick returns, but will deliver considerable long-term rewards.

To us, these survey results are reassuring, because they affirm our belief that that, even as new technologies shape our culture, donor engagement is increasing in importance rather than diminishing.
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12 Glimpses into the Future of Storytelling - Nonprofits Take Note

12 Glimpses into the Future of Storytelling - Nonprofits Take Note | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Transmedia. HTML5. Interactive storytelling. Mobile documentaries. These are the undeniable trends emerging from the storytelling world, and nonprofit organizations would be wise to take notice and hop on board. It's not just about the stand-alone video anymore-- it's about embedding your message into as many relevant platforms as possible. And if I were to venture a prediction myself, it's that tools like this will raise public awareness-- and public action-- to a whole new level.

Here's a list of 12 future-thinking projects, technologies, and forecasts that have caught my eye in the last several months:
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Movie Mondays - Methods for collecting and using your nonprofit's stories - Women's Philanthropy--Women's Issues

Movie Mondays - Methods for collecting and using your nonprofit's stories - Women's Philanthropy--Women's Issues | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Nonprofit storytelling is still extremely important when it comes to fundraising. Sometimes it can be difficult to get the best stories and to use them to engage donors.

In this week's movie, Zan McColloch-Lussier tells you some of the methods he's used to collect and share stories. He also tells how one organization uses stories in such a way that it keeps him donating to them on a regular basis.

Here's the link to the movie:

http://www.501videos.com/mm2011/07/mm_2_story.html
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Why is Storytelling Important? Vonnegut Tells Us Why

Why is Storytelling Important? Vonnegut Tells Us Why | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
How does the public make sense of incoming information? Through stories.

What kinds of stories help the public make sense of information on social issues? Thematic stories.

People process new information best through narrative structure. Kurt Vonnegut, the famous American novelist of Slaughterhouse-five and Cat’s Cradle, knows this well. Watch this entertaining lecture as he lays the basic outline for three types of narrative structures.

What does this mean for those of us in the non-profit communications field?
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Heart, Head & Hand: An Advanced Approach to Persuasive Communication

Heart, Head & Hand: An Advanced Approach to Persuasive Communication | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Story is, in fact, an extremely effective persuasive communication tool -- and one that can be applied in a larger communication framework I call Heart, Head & Hand™.

Heart, Head & Hand is a fresh approach to a traditional concept of communication in which the order of the three steps is vitally important: 1) establish rapport and seek empathy with your listener (heart); 2) appeal to your listener's -- and your own -- desire for proof points by offering supportive evidence (head); and 3) remember to ask your listener to take action (hand).
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Everyone Wants to Be a Hero

Everyone Wants to Be a Hero | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Everybody wants to be a hero. Smart leaders and organizations know that. You also know it's natural for people to align themselves with solutions rather than to associate themselves with problems. You want the audiences for your stories to relate as much as possible to the protagonists in the stories you choose to share and to empathize with the protagonist’s heroic journey.

. . .

Stories about systemic solutions are crucial to persuasive communication. That's because people can more easily imagine themselves as the hero of a solution story than they can picture themselves in a near-hopeless situation.
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Q&A with a Story Guru: Patrick Reinsborough Part 5: Too Many Contemporary Uses of Storytelling are Coercive, Destructive, Pathological - A Storied Career

Q&A with a Story Guru: Patrick Reinsborough Part 5: Too Many Contemporary Uses of Storytelling are Coercive, Destructive, Pathological - A Storied Career | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Q: Are there any current uses of storytelling that repel you or that you feel are inappropriate?

A: Tragically far too many of the contemporary uses of storytelling are not only inappropriate, but downright coercive, destructive, and pathological. Currently, many of the best storytellers and image-crafters in our culture are hired guns that sell us an imagined vision of ourselves, complete with the appropriate brand of carbonated beverage, designer jeans, or suitably inspirational political candidate.
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Q&A with a Story Guru: Patrick Reinsborough Part 3: Book Gives Momentum to Harnessing Power of Narrative

Q&A with a Story Guru: Patrick Reinsborough Part 3: Book Gives Momentum to Harnessing Power of Narrative | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Q: What kind of response have you had to your book Re:Imagining Change?

A: The response has been really fantastic. The book has been out for a little over a year, and it’s now on its second printing. . . . It’s helped advanced the discussions around narrative and framing to include a more refined sense of power and how to apply a narrative power analysis to social-justice campaigns.
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The Benefits of Building a Narrative Organization

The Benefits of Building a Narrative Organization | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
The value of narrative in your organization extends well beyond telling stories in your annual report and newsletters.

When an organization embraces narrative and applies it throughout its work, brand identity is clear and appealing; audiences are quickly and sustainably engaged; leaders appreciate and strategically share stories; and knowledge is easily gathered and shared.
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Email Fundraising Tip: Make your audience the hero of your story

Email Fundraising Tip: Make your audience the hero of your story | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
Storytelling can take your online campaign to the next level. But are you using stories effectively? Groups regularly add stories to email appeals. The online team at M+R Strategic Services decided to put stories to the test, and discovered that story-based email appeals often performed worse than fundraising emails without a story.

But not all story-based appeals fall short. Steve Daigneault and Colin Holtz, online strategists at M+R set out to figure out what was going on. And they found one core way to use stories effectively:

Make your supporter the hero of the story.
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Storytelling and the Art of Email Writing

Storytelling and the Art of Email Writing | Storytelling for Nonprofits | Scoop.it
How can smart organizations harness the power of stories to communicate with supporters and get them to donate?
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