Anyone who has ever worked with, volunteered for or founded a nonprofit knows just how much work it can be. Sometimes asking people to support a cause on what feels like good faith alone can be difficult, to say the least.
It’s a challenge I know well.
Outside of my responsibilities as PR Newswire’s social media manager, I also run The Tara Hansen Foundation, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness and preventing maternal mortality in the U.S.
This “dual citizenship” in both the corporate communications and nonprofit worlds gave me a unique perspective when I attended the #BlogHer15 conference a few weeks ago and participated as the storyteller in Merck for Mothers’ workshop, Start a Conversation That Matters.
I was joined by Merck for Mothers’ Executive Director Dr. Priya Agrawal and an audience of 50 influential bloggers.
One of the things we discussed during this workshop was how important storytelling is to motivate potential supporters and donors.
Although data can demonstrate a nonprofit’s overall impact and mission to its audience, an engaging story drives home the fact that the issue at hand can touch their lives.
When telling a nonprofit’s story, here are three takeaways from the workshop to keep in mind.
Get personal. An invested audience can be a nonprofit’s most powerful ally in increasing awareness around the cause it’s championing. To inspire people to advocate for a nonprofit’s mission, you need to connect with them on an emotional level by putting a face and name on the issue.
Be candid. During Merck for Mothers’ workshop, I was asked to discuss losing my wife due to complications from childbirth. Some experiences, like this one, can be difficult to talk about because of how personal they are for the storyteller. However, brand loyalty originates with trust, just like any good friendship. Although you want to be appropriate when sharing your story, don’t hold back. Openness makes it easier for potential supporters to understand the depth of a nonprofit’s mission.
Welcome others’ stories. During the workshop, Merck for Mothers invited attendees to share their stories of childbirth and motherhood, creating a room full of advocates for its 10-year, $500 million maternal health initiative.
Encourage your audience to join your cause by sharing their story with a tweet, photo, blog post, etc. In turn, these influencers can provide invaluable visibility for your message when they talk about it with their followers.
Content – whether it’s user-generated or your own – can be very effective at grabbing influencers’ attention.
Growing up, my dad always told me, anything worth having is worth working for. Whenever I feel like my foundation has hit a wall, I remember these words and keep on pushing. Whatever the cause may be that you are championing, someone someday will be happy that you told your nonprofit story.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 3 Tips for Inspiring Nonprofit Supporters Through Storytelling
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