The power of effective storytelling
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” – Seth Godin | author, entrepreneur, marketer and public speaker
Stories are a lifeline. A way to share experiences and move one another toward empathy. We’ve been shaped by the stories passed down from generation to generation. And marketing is no different. In fact, we believe storytelling is the vehicle for nonprofits to engage their supporters, communicate their impact and move audiences to action.
Sharing the heart behind your organization’s brand and telling the stories of those you serve creates a sense of unity between you and your audience. Compelling storytelling is all about revealing “your why” by talking about “your who.” Stories are a fundamental aspect of being human. A powerful medium to share impact and even change lives. Because after all, Angel Oak Creative believes nonprofits have the power to change the world. Plus, there’s proof that stories activate our brains far more than data. That’s why we encourage our clients to consistently identify, capture and tell their stories of impact.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR “WHO”
It isn’t necessarily easy to be an effective storyteller. First, you have to become familiar with whom you’re communicating with. What do they care about? Why are they invested in your organization’s mission? How can you bring value, inspiration and impact to their lives? Learning more about “your who” will guide you to build the right messaging to create a deep connection between your audience and your mission. While it’s easier said than done, crafting a message that clearly communicates your mission, impact and heart all in one, creates an effective influential story.
LEVERAGE YOUR COLLATERAL
A great vehicle for storytelling is leveraging your print collateral to give it a longer shelf life and some heart. Donors want to understand where their dollars go and how lives are being changed through your organization because of their investment. Sharing stories of impact and testimonial quotes creates interesting, engaging collateral pieces that move readers to action. Take a look at this North Raleigh Ministries example where we included testimonials in their Open Arms, Open Doors campaign, demonstrating the power of the organization’s work and its impact on those they serve.
Annual reports are another great opportunity to leverage your storytelling. We recommend including a personal appeal to readers by blending stories of impact, a letter from the executive director along with impact stats that touch both the hearts and minds of your audience. You can still shine a light on your champions and heroes while maintaining their privacy by using pseudonyms and stock images. One of our favorite examples is the Make-A-Wish – Eastern North Carolina annual report.
TAP INTO MULTIMEDIA
Video is another avenue to telling the stories of those you impact. Angel Oak Creative had the privilege of partnering with Roanoke-Chowan Christian Women’s Job Corps (new microsite coming soon), whose mission is to provide a Christian context for empowering and equipping women in need, not only for employment, but for life. Check out the inspirational story of Akevia, a graduate of their program. (You might want a tissue!)
A picture is worth a thousand words, or so they say. We recommend utilizing authentic, high-quality photography of real people. People want to see other people. Authentic, visual stories connect us at a deeper level! In last year’s impact report, Heart for Orphans did a lovely job sharing the story of Iryna and her transformation from hurt to healing.
In April, we elevated the education and youth development sectors to celebrate #10YearsofLoveandImpact, and this May we’re talking about mental health awareness. Take a look at some of our stellar storytelling pieces to see examples of maintaining the privacy of recipients while still putting the life-changing impact of these great nonprofits on display. And stay tuned for an announcement on our Hermes Creative Award recipients coming soon!
Elevating your missions through storytelling is one of Angel Oak Creative’s deepest passions. And we believe you have a story to share! Let us know if we can help you identify, capture and communicate your amazing stories of impact!