For Non-Profits: Tips for Telling Your Story

For non-profit or charitable organizations, your story is the way the organization gets people’s attention. It’s the way the philanthropy illustrates the community’s need and it’s abilities to help. MyNorth Media collected tips from non-profit guru, Pam Grown, author of Simple Development Systems: Successful fundraising for the one-person shop. She outlined eight tips for finding stories to tell on her website. And we added several tips that we see working for non-profit organizations sharing their stories in the MyNorth Guide To Giving.

Here’s an overview of her suggestions:
1.    Find out what motivated your board members to become involved with your organization. Pam’s experience includes discovering personal connections and testimonials when she sat down face to face with board members.
2.    Get out into the field.  There’s a tendency to stay glued to our screens. When you get into the field, you’ll see directly how your organization changes our Northern Michigan community.
3.    Donors are another resource. When you call to say thank you, be sure that you ask them about what motivated their donation.
4.    Of course your staff is a great resource. Help them to share their stories with you by developing regular story telling as a part of staff meetings, status reports and event debriefs.
5.    Review your photos. If you’re posting photos on Facebook, that is a great source of inspiration.
6.    Listen.  In our busy professional lives, we are encouraged to move through agendas quickly. Take a moment to ask, and really listen for stories. Let one story build on another.
7.    Make storytelling part of your organizational culture.  A Northern Michigan church shares new stories every Sunday with the congregation to help the membership know how their resources are being spent.
8.    Stories sound more authentic when the voice of the story teller stays true to their personality. Make spelling and punctuation changes. And try not to polish the language to the point of changing their voice.

Here are some additional tips from MyNorth:

Photos speak volumes. Be sure to include them in your advertorials.
Connect the dollars to actions with expressions like, “your donation of $xx means we can purchase …”
MyNorth Guide to Giving advertorials are a great way to show your gratitude to board members, staff and donors.
Unfinished projects are great spring boards for stories, photos and requests for help.

Check out the MyNorth Guide to Giving for stories from Northern Michigan’s non-profit organizations to see where you can pitch in and help.

If you’re interested in putting your organization’s story into the next issue of MyNorth Guide to Giving, contact Jeff Hale at (231) 941- 5283.

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