Are you struggling to come up with fresh and interesting story-worthy nonprofit content to share with your constituents? As nonprofit professionals, the chances are excellent that you are doing great work each and every day. However, it’s also possible your communications feel slightly stale if you are sharing the same “story” over and over. Consider how you can take out-of-the box action within your organization to create a new impact. Create something that will surprise your audience a bit and make them take notice.
Let’s talk for a moment about how we can take action in creating story-worthy nonprofit content. Have you heard of the phrase, “I did it for the Gram.” All the kids are saying it these days. And just typing that makes me cringe a little but in essence the phrase is saying, “I __________ (wore this, ate this, went here, bought this, etc.) for an Instagram photo.”
Basically, people are doing something interesting so they can post something interesting. An Instagram photo is essentially a story. In fact, Instagram actually has a feature called “stories,” but I digress. The point is that sometimes in order to stand out in our messaging and have a story worth sharing, we need to create a story worth sharing. I’m not suggesting you lie, I’m suggesting you make them happen.
It is no secret that big companies and celebrities take advantage of “publicity stunts” by doing good (or sometimes something pretty outlandish) to create buzz around their brand and gain attention.
The idea I’m proposing is similar. But deeper than this, if you want to create stories that result in impact, while the motive may be for attention at the time, the change is still the same. If an organization wants to build a park to show how they care about the community, a park is still built that benefits the community. If a company does a toy drive for children around the holidays, the children are still the recipient of the joy. Essentially, it is a win-win.
How can you take action in your own organization and your own brand that results in story-worthy nonprofit content?
I learned this concept when I saw it work wonders for the organization where I began my nonprofit career, Morning Light. Morning Light makes sure the terminally-ill with nowhere to go and no one to care for them in their final days have a place to call home and a hand to hold. Morning Light provides a warm bed, three home-cooked meals a day, and most importantly, care and dignity at the end of life’s journey.While the main mission is free-residential hospice, we gained attention for something slightly different. At Morning Light, we landed a front-page newspaper story for bringing Santa Claus to the home to visit and deliver gifts. This was the last holiday most of our hospice residents would ever experience and we wanted to make sure it was special and meaningful. We thought the news might be interested in covering the story because it was unique, yet relatable, and we were right. While death is a topic that might make some people uncomfortable, most love good news and the warm feelings the holidays bring.
This messaging was slightly different from our usual message and that was enough to make a big impact and get us big press. When you do something good or special, reach out to others to see if they would help you broaden your reach. The media can be a big help in covering stories of your organization doing something that benefits others. The media especially loves “gift-wrapped” stories that are easy to cover and ready to share. For more tips on how to get media attention click: HERE.
Think about your main mission. How can you do something slightly new but still in line with your brand and your organization? This brainstorming might help you come up with new ways of communicating and maybe even help you find a new vein to your mission.
As Charlotte Eriksson states, “Do you wait for things to happen, or do you make them happen yourself? I believe in writing your own story.”
Are you ready to give your donors the quality story-worthy nonprofit content they deserve? Here’s a Donor-Centered Content Marketing worksheet you can use as a template to enhance your donor communication efforts.
Madison Gonzalez is a National Public Speaker, Storyteller of the Year Award-Winner, Best-Selling Author of Dear Mirror, Events Manager, and Published Poet. She is also the Advancement Director at Morning Light, Inc., and Indianapolis-based nonprofit that fosters community programs in Indiana for the terminally ill, seniors, families and the home-bound. As a storytelling coach and consultant, it is her mission to empower others to share their stories for impact and income. Madison can be reached at [email protected].