The three stories you need to be telling

As you probably know by now, we worship at the altar of storytelling.

The truth is, we’re all massive fans of storytelling at Hancock Creative. We ALL believe that storytelling can change the world!

Our Sydney mentor Gareth Kidd hit LinkedIn to talk about the stories that NFPs and worthy causes should be telling. It was so refreshing to read Gareth’s take on the subject, and we’d love to share it with you!

Here goes!

There is no field where storytelling is more important than the not-for-profit and cause space. Telling stories allows you to create an emotional connection with your audience, which becomes imperative when you’re trying to elicit donations or attract volunteers.

Stories are the currency of social media, yet it’s incredible how vanilla the content within this space tends to be.

Many of us know this, however, establishing which stories to tell, and how, can be a challenge. So why don’t we check out the three types of stories I believe all not for profits, charities, and causes, need to get good at telling. Now.

Your Organisation

First and foremost, NFPs need to get good at telling the story of the organisation. In Australia, there are some 60,000 registered not-for-profits, many vying for donations and volunteers to keep overheads down, and to continue doing their much valued work.

Don’t turn your nose up when people talk about your brand differentiators, because it’s important to articulate this when your audience is more likely to make an emotional decision. Why did the organisation commence? What need or challenge for your business look to overcome? Who is it you’re helping? What is your goal?

The latter, definitely. Tell your audience what your big-arse goal is to show them how aspirational and inspirational your organisation is!

Check out this video by Thank You. I won’t bother telling you about them, I’ll just let their video content tell the story.

The important thing to remember is that you don’t tell this story once and leave it to gather dust. Share your organisations wins and milestones and reiterate those values that make your cause unique.

Your People

It’s great to have the overarching message about your organisation but as we know, it’s the people that make the magic happen. Whether it’s the founders, the paid staff, or the volunteers, everyone who works for your organisation has a story as to why they’re there.

Often emotionally connected with your cause, their stories are gold dust, as they’ll help people see behind the curtain and into your organisation and establish a relationship with your people. You may even want to source the stories of your donors or corporate partners – what made them pick your organisation to hand over their “hard earned”.

I know, I know, not everyone wants their face plastered on a billboard, but it’s such an integral part of your organisation’s narrative. We know that the not for profit and cause spaces aren’t exactly the most financially rewarding, so let’s showcase your internal heroes and their story of why they are world changers.

Your Beneficiaries

I have very much saved the most important for last. No one cares about your brand or your people if you’re not making an impact. These are the stories you need to churn out on a regular basis. Whether you’re in cancer research, environmental protection, animal welfare, you need to SHOW the impact you have.

No one cares if you’ve been around for 90 days versus 90 years; you need to share and show the stories of those you impact, and ideally positioning them as they heroes they are.

These grass-root stories will truly connect your audience and be the motivator whether you’re seeking donations or volunteers. Most donors don’t want to give to a brand, they want to give to an outcome. If that hasn’t been said before (or even more eloquently) someone needs to trademark that!

Most donors don’t want to give to a brand, they want to give to an outcome.

There is often a plethora of roadblocks when articulating and aggregating these stories (time, cost, access, blah blah), but your success on social media (or really, as an organisation) depends on it.

Now whilst this is an example outside of the NFP space, the Western Sydney University video featuring Deng Adut is in my opinion best practice at telling the beneficiary story. We watch Deng’s story and he is positioned firmly as the hero, following a very simple yet inspiring story arc. If you haven’t watched it, you’re welcome!

The Big Issue are also awesome at doing this, and it’s important to tell them often and ensure you place your beneficiaries as the hero. They are the Luke Skywalker, you are the Yoda.

The stories of your organisation, people, and beneficiaries are all so inspirational and imperative to building awareness and driving action. Show your audience these incredible impact centred narratives!

And that’s Gareth’s storytelling rant! He inflicts this on his Gain & Retain clients over in Sydney on a regular basis!

If you want to get to know Gareth better, he’s always hanging out in our Cause Collective online village, too, answering questions and providing feedback. Say hi to him there!

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