Nonprofit Storytelling Tips from the Experts

Sara Choe
Sara Choe

Your nonprofit’s story is your most valuable asset. Your story can inspire action and create change. In addition, nonprofits that tell compelling stories tend to raise the most funds.

At the 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference, we moderated an incredible session called The Future of Nonprofit Storytelling with JD Lasica (Socialbrite), Jenna Sauber (Case Foundation), and Cara Jones (Storytellers for Good).

In this session, we explored the best practices of nonprofit storytelling, mediums and channels for telling those stories, and where storytelling is headed in the future for nonprofits.

The top 10 insights, in no particular order, from our panelists were:

  • The best stories are the ones that you remember. Moves you to share again or take action.
  • People will forget what you told them. They’ll forget what you did. But they’ll never forget how you made them feel through stories.
  • Don’t make your story about your org, make it about you cause and clients.
  • Storytelling doesn’t have to live within the marketing team. Employees, clients, supporters, all can contribute to a culture of storytelling
  • How to get staff stories or other stories out? Pair people up with volunteer transcribers, recorders.
  • Which medium to use for storytelling? How to choose? Use video for “motion and emotion”.
  • What is a story? There has to be a beginning, middle, and end. Talking heads are not stories.
  • For viral video goals, statistics show that maximum 1-2 minutes works. You lose viewers every 10-20 seconds.
  • Make the link between the person watching the video and who they are watching = compelling
  • Simple stories are the best & don’t be afraid to fail.

Debra Askanse beat us to the punch by summarizing our the insights from our storytelling session on Socialbrite.

Read the our curated Storify list below.

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