Does Your Nonprofit Tell a Story That Engages and Causes Action?
NEW YORK CITY — These days, nonprofits are stretched thin with their resources—time, money, people—and they can’t to afford to waste any of those resources, but here’s the thing… wait for it… nonprofits are wasting so much of their resources on a day-to-day basis.
Why is this? Well, in a world where information is at the tips of everyone’s fingers, there is a lot of noise and clutter to cut through. The human brain is equipped to do two things: survive and conserve calories. And the truth of that matter is that the human brain filters out information, preserving a small amount of information that comes its way.
At Growth for Good NYC Digital Nonprofit Fundraising Conference, Rod Arnold, founder of Leading Good and CMO of Soles4Souls, emphasized that successful fundraising starts with a clear and compelling message. Because stories are so powerful, your nonprofit’s mission should be a story—so make sure your story engages people and makes them take action.
Your nonprofit might have a story that is confusing because it’s focused on different things… or your nonprofit really has no idea what it’s doing.
“Those are not the kind of stories we want to tell people because they’re making up a story in their head if we confuse them. If they don’t get it and think [the story] is too complicated, they’re not going to want to spend time and energy and focus on your story,” Arnold said.
The three elements that create compelling brand story:
During his opening session, Arnold explained a messaging framework that showcases the elements of a really good story: The StoryBrand Messaging Filter, which consists on the following:
A main character (hero)
… with a problem…
… who meets a guide…
… who gives them a plan…
There’s a call-to-action…
… that results in…
success or failure.
How does this translate to nonprofits? Take a look at the table below.
|Main Character (Hero)||What do the people we help want?
|Problem||What is standing in the way of their pain being relieved?
|Guide||How do we empathize? Why are we qualified to help?
|Plan||What’s our plan to solve their problem?|
|Call-to-Action||Pivot to donor—donate/volunteer|
|Success or Failure||How will we help people because the donor helped? What tragedies will continue to occur is they donor does not help?|
“There’s a lot of money, time and energy wasted on fundraising because the message isn’t clear. If you don’t start with a clear message, you’re wasting time and money and energy on those things because it’s not going resonate with the message,” Arnold said.