How to tell your Non-Profit’s Story to a Noisy World
The only Toolbox you ever need to tell your Non-Profit’s Story to a Noisy World
Last week, we unpacked several resources for crafting a beautiful story at your non-profit. This week, we’ll dig into an even more important piece: how to share that story so that people actually see it! See, the online landscape is saturated with all kinds of content, stories, and other general fluff. If you want to stand out above all of that, you’re going to have to get strategic. Here’s how you get strategic:
First, you have to make super sure that you’re telling a compelling story. I can’t emphasize that enough… we talked about a lot of ways to do that last week, but know, let’s check out a video from the master storyteller: Kurt Vonnegat.
Check out the YouTube video below (if you don’t have time, don’t worry, I’ll summarize it, but you should check it out when you do have time, cause it’s awesome 🙂
To recap that video:
- Stories really only have three shapes.
- The most popular is one where someone is trucking along fairly well, then tragedy hits, a hero enters to help them, and the story concludes with a resolution of the tragedy.
- In the Cinderella story, someone starts as the underdog, slowly steps up, gets knocked down, then has a hero come along to help them back up again.
- You can fit any story you’ve ever heard, any movie you’ve ever watched, and any book you’ve ever read into these three shapes of story.
Okay, now that you’ve checked out the video above, you have all the tools you need to craft awesome stories about the people you serve. Once you’ve done that, congrats, you’re about 25% done. The other 75% needs to be spent on how you share the story.
You can tell the best story in the world, but if you don’t have a strategy for sharing it you’ll never get it in front of that donor who could give to you, that volunteer who could experience life changing service, or that client who desperately needs to be served by you.
I think sharing stories is so important I’m going to unpack 5 tips that have helped us to dramatically grow the number of eyes on all the stories we create here at WonderWe (HINT: it involves creating less content):
- Observe the 20/80 Rule. I used to spend 80% of my time creating the story and 20% promoting it. Don’t do this. You’ll end up spending a lot of time creating beautiful stories that no one sees. Instead, spend 20% of your time building content and 80% of your time spreading the word about it. (we’ll come back to this on #5)
- Build a Story Calendar. It’s critical that you have a plan and that you write it down on your calendar. For me, I spend the first week of every month creating all of the stories I’ll need for that month. That way, the last three weeks of each month are dedicated exclusively to spreading the word.
- Follow the 3x3x3 Matrix. Remember that for every story you produce, there are literally thousands of people in thousands of communities who may enjoy & benefit from it. Your main job, therefore, is to find them and get that story in front of them. So, try to share each piece of content content 3 times on 3 different mediums. For example, you write a blog post on a client who was able to turn their life around and you share it in 3 different Facebook groups, 3 different local newspapers, and in 3 different Twitter conversations.
- Re-purpose, re-package & re-use content. Remember the 20/80 rule? This is where you implement it. Oftentimes, you can tailor a piece of the story to a particular community simply by changing the title or a few sentences along the way. Think of ways that you can continue to modify your content so it becomes valuable for a number of different groups.
- Lift others up. People are much more likely to share your stories if you’ve spent some time helping them share theirs. Make a list of the 10 communities (e.g. Facebook group or well read blog) you’d like to have your stories shared on and start following them. Then, comment on their content, share it, ask them questions, get engaged with them. Once you have that kind of a relationship, you’ll find them very amenable to sharing your content.
I’ve made no secret that I think storytelling is the lifeblood of non-profit work. I’ve also made no secret that I think we non-profiters generally stink at crafting and sharing beautiful stories (even though we have the best stories on the planet). The tips I’ve shared here will get you everything you need to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
For now, join the convo below by commenting on the following: how are you going to start sharing a beautiful story at your non-profit?