February 25, 2019

Why Organizations Should Tell More Stories

Child under the rain in Mali by Riccardo Mayer

Storytelling is an ancient practice that’s been passed down the generations, from before the
written word to our current digitally-driven platforms.

How can this ancient practice serve nonprofits whose survival depends on the actions of others, whether they be funders or volunteers? For one, it puts a face on the issue and shows that you’re talking about real humans. While data is important for showing reach and impact, studies tell us people don’t identify with numbers – they don’t donate, petition, volunteer, or sign up for a newsletter because they saw a big number. Human emotions – what drives people’s behaviors – are triggered by stories.

Numerous books and studies have come out over the years about the importance of telling
stories. Wired for Story is a bible for many communicators charged with driving behavior
change among constituents. The Storytelling Animal is another. As Bruce Wydick, author and
economist, wrote, “…In the battle for hearts and minds of human beings, narrative will
consistently outperform data in its ability to influence human thinking and motivate human
action.”

Continue reading

February 12, 2019

5 ways to create a living nonprofit brand

When we think of nonprofit branding, what generally comes to mind for nonprofit professionals is a process, often conducted by an outside agency to work on improving an organization’s brand. Many of the products that can come out of that creative process are a new logo, a competitive analysis, branding/style guide, a new website, all assets that can really generate a lot of excitement for your nonprofit and help align your mission, goals, and communication.

But what happens after the branding agency has been paid and you have a spiffy new website, logo, and some persuasive new messaging? How do we get our staff and directors on board with messaging and concepts that have emerged from this creative process? What can we do in the day-to-day of our work and routines as an organization to integrate that new brand into our work and ensure that it aligns and supports our values every day?

Continue reading

January 23, 2019

Want Action? Tell Positive Visual Stories

Photo Courtesy of Gaia Visual

Some methods of storytelling are more fruitful than others. And non-profits rely heavily on being able to tell their story really well.

 

For instance, studies into online donor activity reveal that video is currently the hot ticket to accessing hearts and minds: with a 64% higher response rate to ‘Calls To Action’ after watching, as opposed to other formats.

 

A tweet with an image will get around 150% more retweets than one without – imagery is one of the strongest means of storytelling in our world today.[1]

 

And prospective donors tell us this is true – 91% of audiences prefer visual or interactive messaging.[2]

Continue reading

January 3, 2019

Connecting our Communications Work to our Mission

As many of my nonprofit communications colleagues do this time of year,  I look back on my year and wonder how I will move forward more purposefully and meaningfully in my communications work this new year.

Having been fortunate enough to do this work for over 15 years, I sometimes skip over connecting the bottom-line – the ‘do-gooder’ part – and go straight into the “doing” part of the work.

Continue reading

January 2, 2019

Your 2019 Personal & Professional Strategic Plan

 

If you’re anything like me, then that week before New Year’s Day can sometimes throw you for an existential loop.

 

via: @hurrahforgin

 

All those end-of-year memes on social media seem to be true, given the amount of laugh emoji responses from my friends and family that they’ve received. Truth!

 

We all want to begin the New Year feeling full of energy, clarity, and direction, but it’s not always how we start off.

 

One of the ways I try to ground myself for the New Year (while still enjoying all the cheese and champagne), is to fill out my yearly personal strategic planning chart.

 

I spend a lot of my time as a consultant creating strategic plans, so it’s a format I’m familiar with and with a little simplification, readily lends itself to a personal plan.

 

While some people enjoy vision boards (which are awesome!), there’s something about a strategic plan that for me feels more tangible.

 

And I need tangible these days.

 

So below I’m sharing my personal and professional strategic planning process.

 

By the way, I’m still working on mine, so don’t feel like you’re in any way behind. Truth be told, I usually get to finishing mine around mid-January.

 

So we’ll just work on it together! Much more fun that way, anyway.

 

My plan is be focused on five key areas of my life:

Continue reading

November 20, 2018

Top Facebook Blunders That Hurt Year-End Fundraising

Can you believe it? Summer flew by, and now we’re headed right into year-end fundraising season.

If you’re like most nonprofits, you will raise most of your money during the last three months of the year, particularly between Thanksgiving and December 31st when the big ball drops.

Now is the time to put all your resources into attracting and retaining as many donors as possible!

Avoid these top five mistakes that could hurt your year-end fundraising on Facebook.

1. Ignoring Facebook altogether

If you’re like most nonprofits, you have at least a minimal presence on Facebook. So does your competition. Not only that but most of your donors are using Facebook.

Facebook isn’t going anywhere, and again, even if you ignored Facebook until November, don’t regret ignoring it during the biggest spike of fundraising you’ll see this year.

Continue reading