There are dozens of ways to grow a nonprofit organization but few strategies are as effective as crafting a clear and compelling organizational message.
Nonprofit messaging is challenging but it can literally make or break if a potential donor becomes inspired to give for a lifetime or simply walk away and forget about you and your cause.
If you are unsure if you need to improve your nonprofit’s message, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do my donors truly understand the value our organization provides to the community?
- Do my team members understand how their work is making a difference?
- Do my volunteers feel their time is creating a positive change?
- Do my board members understand their roles and responsibilities for growing the organization and creating a positive impact?
If you answered no to any of those questions, you need to improve your nonprofit messaging.
This blog will provide context to each of these and give practical next steps to crafting an effective messaging strategy, so you can eliminate confusion and inspire donors to give for a lifetime.
Every Great Message Has A Hero
Storybrand is a framework for marketing your value to your audience. This framework centers [either your donor or those you serve] as the main character in the story of your organization. The main character walks through something known as the hero’s journey. This journey is used as a marketing strategy that can help engage and inspire people around your brand! In other words, your audience is Frodo. You get to be Gandalf.
Our team is fully trained and certified through Storybrand. We will work to deeply understand your organization, your constituents, and your mission from a data-based perspective. Within this foundation of knowledge, Social Impact Solutions will deliver impact reports and social and economic impact studies within a Storybrand framework that your audience can relate to.
Why You Aren’t the Hero
The elements of a compelling nonprofit’s story aren’t what you may think. Telling a story where the organization itself is the hero doesn’t go very far. This is true both for their general audience and their donors.
Keeping the focus on their world-changing efforts isn’t what draws in volunteers, donors, or anyone for that matter.
Instead, nonprofits should focus on positioning their donors or the people they serve as the heroes of their story. By doing so, they can create an emotional connection with their audience and demonstrate the tangible impact of their work. This approach can help nonprofits to resonate with donors, grow their organizations, and achieve their missions more effectively.
Choose Your Hero
To change the story, a leader must consider who needs to be the hero. There are two main heroes to choose from: donors and the people the organization serves.
Nonprofit organizations often make the mistake of positioning themselves as the hero of their story. This approach is flawed because it falls flat with the people who make your mission possible. Donors. They want to hear that their impact will be the catalyst for change in the world. Not that you are changing the world, and they should help. That doesn’t resonate or work. Instead, nonprofits should focus on making their donors the hero of the story. By doing so, nonprofits can create a stronger connection with their donors and stakeholders, which can lead to lasting donor relationships and a more significant impact.
Writing a Storybrand Brandscript that makes the donor the hero will highlight their impact. This approach resonates with donors because it shows them they are essential to the organization’s mission.
Stakeholders are smart, informed, and engaged. They care about impact but also want to play a leading role, especially if their dollars are behind it! It’s important to talk about the part they play in the story. And even about what success looks like for them. All answers point back to how they are the ones making a difference in the world.
The People your Organization Serves
This type of story is familiar. It’s the one where you tell the story of the individuals, or the community, that your organization serves. How have their lives changed? What have they been able to do as a result of the positive impact?
This Storybrand Brandscript will highlight the organization’s impact on people’s lives and the difference it can make. This approach resonates with donors because it shows them the tangible impact of their donations. This story is special because the CTA speaks directly to the donor.
Marketing Collateral to Fix
Changing the story means time will have to be spent re-writing and fixing marketing collateral. The message needs to be clear and concise.
The very first priority is the website. This is the first place donors learn about the organization. A diligent donor will spend time on the website, looking through the pages for impact reports, stories, and clear metrics. Nonprofits can keep their focus by using brandscrcipts that make the hero known.
Other marketing collateral that should be worked on:
Overall, choosing the right hero for your story can change a lot. You can raise more money, resonate with donors, and grow your organization faster. By choosing your hero, whether it be the donor or the people your organization serves, you will orient your organization in the right direction. Here are the three steps you can take after reading this blog:
- Fix your Sales Funnel
- Join our team at the next StoryBrand livestream in July!
- Let our team fix everything for you when you work directly with Social Impact Solutions