Nonprofit storytelling: Why stories matter
Nonprofit storytelling is important for one simple reason: Everyone loves a good story.
Stories tell us about each other and the world. They show us how we deal with life’s challenges, major milestones, successes, failures and moments of growth. We remember stories because they make us feel something. We may not recall all the details of a story. But we'll remember if it made us laugh, cry, sigh, roll our eyes or joyfully scream.
Stories come in all forms, including as:
- Social media posts
- Slide decks
- Blog posts
- User-generated content
- Bite-sized videos
- Case studies
- Success stories
...and so many more forms!
Stories show us our commonalities, shared experiences that bring us together.
Further reading about nonprofit storytelling:
- Constant Contact: Why nonprofit storytelling matters
- Hubspot: Nonprofit marketing guide
- SachsMEDIA: How storytelling helps nonprofits make a big impact
Why do we need stories?
For nonprofits, stories help people understand the true significance of your work. Stories can:
- Inspire people to act
- Compel people to support your cause
- Spotlight your members and/or employees
- Promote inclusivity and belonging
- Show evidence and impact
- Connect your work more closely to your mission and vision
Your employees, target audience, donors, volunteers, nonprofits, community partners, members, clients, participants and other key stakeholders learn a lot about you through a story. Nonprofit storytelling helps everyone better understand your organization.
However, nonprofit organizations face challenges creating consistent stories.
Why is nonprofit storytelling so hard to do?
Tell me if any of the following reasons resonates with you:
- Lack of consistent communication with target audience
- Lack of insight into the nonprofit sector
- Confused about how to make stories simple and easy to understand
- Not enough time, resources or energy (i.e., in-house capacity is lacking)
- Not sure where to start or how to choose angles
- Unclear which kinds of stories are needed
- Interviewing people is scary
- Not sure how many stories are needed
A lack of clarity around these things makes stories hard to come up with. However, I’d say the reason that ties these reasons altogether is really simple:
Many companies and organizations don’t notice the stories that are right in front of them.
How do your services solve this problem?
My services address these challenges directly: I help you identify, develop and write compelling content and strategic communications. You’ll notice that my story writing services take the guesswork out of the story building process. Choosing any of these services means that you can stop worrying about:
- How many stories you have each month or year
- Making stories easy to read and understand
- Figuring out story angles and themes
- Managing story information
- Figuring out interview questions
- Finding stories
Choose a service to view:
Nonprofit content services
Content is central to the content creation, strategy, storytelling and marketing efforts of nonprofits and companies that sell to nonprofits. That's why I work with organizations and professionals in the sector to create an abundance of content and make sure it's clean and concise. My nonprofit content services cover five (5) key areas:
- Copywriting - copy that inspires the right audience
- Editing - polishing your words to perfection
- Audit - review of communications and recommendations
- Storytelling - brand messaging, case studies, success stories
- Content maintenance - repurpose and refresh content
When I work with clients, I like to keep things simple. I make sure to be clear, concise and patient. We've all got something we want to figure out! With my experience and track record I know that I can help you realize what that might be. Keep reading to learn how.
Want more information? Check out the links below:
"Jean got in touch right as we were looking to build more organization into our communications streams. She refreshed our brand guidelines, social media guidelines for volunteers and interns, and built a new social media strategy. With having these documents, we were able to better understand our needs moving forward. I'd recommend Jean to anyone looking for similar services. She's extremely organized, responsive and knowledgeable in the fields of communications and marketing."
Sophie Lyons, Communications Manager, Story Planet
"Jean worked very hard to understand the project (which was vague in all sorts of options and possibilities being presented to her). She mirrored back what we were saying and wrote concise and articulate emails outlining her understanding of the parameters of the project. Her work was meticulous.
Susan Steward, Manager of Canadian singer-songwriter Jane Siberry
Choose a service:
Why Work With Me?
Compelling nonprofit content
Do you ever get stuck scrambling for solutions for nonprofit content that that isn't compelling, lacks inspiration and doesn't produce results?
If you do, you've visited the right page!
I can help you communicate your impact, tell the story of your brand and ultimately, create more compelling content in your nonprofit sector. I do this by combining professional copywriting strategies with 10+ years’ experience in the nonprofit sector to craft the content you’ve always wanted:
- Content that is relevant, clear and concise
- Content that engages the right audience
- Content that secures funding and donations
- Content that shows your leadership in the sector
- Content that tells a story
My clients appreciate how simple my approach to writing is. It may seem like magic, but it’s really just an effective mix of word choice, expert technique and understanding how people make decisions. I believe that winning is always possible in the nonprofit sector. When you partner with me, I will create stories that convert, putting your business in first place in any race it's running.
Asking questions that lead to results
My specialty is storytelling. I have unique, valuable insight that helps you win. Due to my long history of teaching and facilitating, I know how to ask compelling questions that lead to compelling content. Asking the right questions sounds like a simple skill that everyone has. But everyone doesn't have it. Have you ever hired a nonprofit consultant to help you with your communications and afterwards, you:
- Didn't understand what they said, even after several explanations?
- Were unclear about what the next steps are?
- Didn't know why they were making specific decisions?
- Felt like they were just telling you what to do?
I know I have. And it sucks! You never want to feel like you wasted your time and money on someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
As a naturally curious person, I pride myself on asking you great questions that strengthen our collaboration and set those great processes in motion. Ultimately, I aim to give you fresh, relevant content that both piques curiosity and converts. That is what a strong capacity to ask compelling, professional questions gets you.
Knowledge of the sector
My knowledge of the nonprofit sector comes from more than just simply studying it or reading about it. It comes from actually working in it. In my almost 10 years in the sector, I have held several jobs, including:
- Community Animator
- Program Coordinator
- Workshop Facilitator
- Project Manager
- Proposal Writer
What I hope this shows you is that I understand the nonprofit sector as someone who has directly interacted with several levels of it, from program participants to parents to senior leadership. I've done the grunt work that a lot of communications specialists haven't, which has given me valuable insight into the nonprofit sector. For example, I've done outreach at schools, in communities and at events over weeks at a time to increase program participant numbers; also, I've written grants and reports with short turnaround times; I've collaborated with other communications specialists to promote programs.
And every single time, I wished I had more support to do my actual day-to-day work.
So, here's the truth: I understand the languages that your target audiences speak because I've spoken those languages before. So, when it comes to communications, I'm confident that I can gather, capture and present the right details to meet your goals.