Staying financially sound and socially relevant in the non-profit world is no easy task. There’s loads of competition, limited donor pools to draw from and administrative hurdles that require time and talent to overcome.
So what makes one organization stand out from all others in terms of success? In a word, storytelling, relating a message to supporters that is both engaging and leads them to take action. Those groups that use it effectively garner more donations and in-kind support than those who simply offer a list of programs in a flat and uninteresting manner.
It’s a sad truth, but donors are less interested in hearing about a non-profit’s programs or cause: they want to know whether their support, whether monetary or in the form of time and talent, is making a serious difference. In short, knowing and understanding the impact they are having makes donors feel the tangible effects they’re making in the world.
Successful non-profits, therefore, know how important storytelling is to their ultimate mission, and they utilize the digital tools that help them achieve this goal. It’s these tools that leverage the key elements of storytelling: knowing and relating the purpose of your cause in a context rich with details and putting emotional content front and center.
Here are some online tools that can help you define, craft and manage your storytelling initiatives.
This free tool allows users to add images and captions to any sort of presentation, ideal for those organizations that want to create maps and interactive timelines documenting their activities. It’s a unique format that gets attention, and it can be shared on a variety of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Never underestimate the power of being playful with your message. Chogger lets you create one-of-a-kind comic strips in a short-story format filled with your own photos that are easy to customize.
Powerpoint is, well, powerful when used correctly. And Prezi gives you additional capabilities to the popular program in terms of eye-catching animation. It’s ideal when giving a face-to-face presentation to potential donors or board members, but can also work great when reaching out to a larger and more anonymous donor base.
Infographics are vital to good storytelling, and Picktochart offers a host of pre-loaded templates and themes to build your message around. The editing tools are highly intuitive and easy to learn, and the app lets you make hi-res prints or share the infographic online with just a few clicks. It also integrates seamlessly with Slideshare and Evernote, creating a powerful online resource that works across all of your non-profit’s social media platforms as well as donor management software.
Tight budgets are always a limiting factor for many non-profit’s endeavors, and those seeking to create first-rate videos for their storytelling often can’t afford the price tag that comes with hiring professional production teams. But with Animoto it’s easy to craft professional-looking videos in minutes: just upload photos or clips and the program allows you to add in pre-licensed music and additional video clips. Throw in your logo and an action button and you’re up and running. And thankfully, Animoto offers deep discounts for non-profit groups that qualify.
YouTube for Non-Profits
Most successful organizations already use the popular video-sharing site, but too many aren’t using the annotations feature which helps lead viewers to your content, allows you to analyze how engaged your audience is and channel more content their way. And using annotations gives you the ability to direct specific videos to different audiences, increasing your exposure and enabling you to craft multiple storytelling messages.