Marketing for Good

Discovering and analyzing emerging media used by nonprofits


Content Marketing

How and Why You Should Tell YOUR Story

You Have a Story to Tell.

Behind every non-profit, there is a story. A reason you either started the organization or why you use your time and energy to support it. One of the best ways to promote your non-profit and cause is to tell that story. Through video, blogs, pictures, and social media hashtags you can raise awareness to your cause through your or other’s stories.

When it comes to marketing, stories work. Jennifer Aakar, a marketing professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business explains: “Research shows our brains are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long. Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories,” “A story is a journey that moves the listener, and when the listener goes on that journey they feel different and the result is persuasion and sometimes action.”

But where do you start? Lori Jacobwith over at shares tips on how to best share and develop your non-profit’s story:

  1. Stories should be about real people who need something, hopefully something that YOUR organization provides.
  2. Allow the person in your story to have a real name, age, and to speak for themselves.
  3. Minds wander, get real quickly. In about 4-10 seconds your listeners tune out if you haven’t grabbed them. Don’t tell me you are going to tell me a story about someone, just tell it. Start with the person’s name, age and a few descriptive words.
  4. Keep your story short. Six words to two minutes is the length I recommend.
  5. Allow your story to cause me to feel something. Anger, sadness, happiness, pride—it doesn’t matter what the emotion is, I just have to feel something.
  6. Your story should have a moment when people see themselves or someone in their own lives. Could be their aging parents, the daughter of the person who made their latte today or their own child.
  7. The best stories are told by the person themselves. Clients telling their own stories are the most moving way to share how your organization makes a difference.


If you think about it, some of the most impactful video’s that are shared on social media come from organizations sharing their stories. One such is that Everytown for Gun Safety. To better inform people of their cause, Everytown for Gun Safety created a video sharing the story of Richard Martinez, father of shooting victim Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez, and why he supports the organization and what he hopes they will accomplish:


The short video is both an emotional tribute to his son and other parents of shooting victims and also a call to action for change. Whether or not you support the ideals of Everytown for Gun Safety, their storytelling efforts are impressive, impactful, and very much align with Jacobwith’s storytelling outline.

Your story is the soul of your organization, don’t keep it bottled in, let it out and spread your message!

Your Nonprofit Needs to Get Social

Even though social media is part of 73% of adult’s everyday life, the medium is still a mystery to many when it comes to spreading a brand or organization’s message. It is necessary for organizations to harness the power of social media to reach people and grow awareness for their causes.

Luckily, non-profits have caught on, with their time on social media and budgets both being on the rise. Vertical Response has made this handy dandy infograph to better explain how and where non-profits are investing in social media:

What is most interesting about Vertical Responses’ infograph is the highest amount of time non-profits spend on social media is spent looking for content to post. So what are practices your non-profit can put into place to make use you get the most out of your time and budget when it comes to content?

Create a Personalized News Feed.
Using RSS feeds (such as the one provided by Google), you can be alerted to news stories relevant to your cause. In setting up this personalized news experience you can eliminate time spent searching for those articles on your own, your RSS feed does it for you! In turn, you can share those news stories most relevant to your cause on your social media channels allowing followers to share the content and also your organization social media page with their friends and followers.

Create Your Own Media
People love pictures and video, and it has been proven over and over again that social media posts involving media see higher engagement among social media users. Show video of your organization in action; show pictures of your events, and the results of your efforts! People will comment, like and share your posts and your message for you!

Share Your Story
Chances are you got involved with your cause because you were passionate about it. Now show that passion online! People react to passion; share your organization’s history and story of why you do what you do. Tell about the impact your organization is having on your community and what you hope to achieve. And also don’t be afraid to talk about how working at your organization has impacted and changed your life personally.

While there are a number of ways non-profits can utilize social media, it is hard to know where to start, hopefully these few tips will help get you started!

They Hope You’ll Catch it – Going Viral with Your Nonprofit’s Video.

In today’s content sharing world video is king. Having a viral video, well that can set you on the path to world domination. There are no guarantees that the video a nonprofit creates will achieve “viral” status. However, there are some tactics we can analyze from one of the most successful viral campaigns that have been produced in the last few years.

We’ve all seen it, shared it, and maybe even cried over it – Save the Children’s Most Shocking Second a Day Video.

This video currently has close to 50,000,000 views on youtube. It has been shared all over social media raising awareness on the devastating effects war has on a child’s life. The objective of this video is to make viewers who are usually emotionally and physically distant from modern warfare, in this case England, and see it as if it was happening in their own backyard through the eyes of a child.

So what can other nonprofits gather from the success of this video?

Use Emotion.

Think about it, how many video have you shared because they’ve made you tear up or laugh hysterically versus how many you’ve shared that didn’t? Don’t Panic, the creative agency that produced the video, states this about the importance of emotion in a video:

Bake extreme emotional triggers into your treatment. Make it inherently funny, sad or WTF.


Use Simple Calls to Action

Challenge people to not just watch but to act. As the video begins to play a tiny box appears with a number for both the UK and US to text to donate $5 to Save the Children’s humanitarian efforts in Syria. At the end of the video you are invited to share the video and use the “#SaveSyriasChildren” to help raise awareness, and you are also able to click a pop up box to take you to to learn more about their efforts in Syria. These are simple and easy ways for people to help and be part of something bigger from the comfort of their own electronic devices.

Incorporating both emotion and simple calls to action in your video can both help get your video and message shared and also raise funds and awareness. Its an exciting time for nonprofits to utilize emerging media such as video to reach a potential audience of limitless numbers!

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Marketing for Good

Discovering and analyzing emerging media used by nonprofits