Marketing and Comms – Story Telling

I’m putting together a course specifically for charities and non-profits. This piece is part of a collection of materials that you can get as handouts, but I’ve also posted it online because even though it was made for the Building Value program, it could be useful for lots more people.

When telling a story, especially for charities and non-profits, you want to really connect with people and get them to care about your cause. Here’s a simple formula to make that happen:

  1. Start with Why: Begin by explaining why your charity does what it does. This isn’t about what you do or how you do it, but the reason behind it all. Maybe you’re passionate about saving endangered animals because you believe every creature has a right to live safely.
  2. Talk About Impact / Purpose: Share the difference your charity makes. This could be stories about the animals you’ve saved or how the environment has benefited from your work. It shows people the change you’re creating.
  3. Make It Human and Personal: People connect with stories about other people. If you’re helping kids learn to read, tell a specific story about one child who went from struggling to loving books. It makes the issue real and more touching.
  4. Make It Relatable: Try to link your story to experiences or feelings your audience might have had. For example, if you’re talking about hunger, you might remind them of a time they were really hungry and explain that some people feel that way all the time.
  5. Give the Audience a Role / Desire (Their Why): Now, invite your audience to be part of the story. Maybe they’ve always wanted to help animals or care about kids’ education. Show them how supporting your charity lets them act on those desires.
  6. Matching Your Why with Our Why (Making Community): Finally, bring it all together by showing how their support not only helps your cause but also connects them with a community of people who share their values. It’s about making them see that by helping, they’re joining a bigger movement of change.

Example: Imagine a charity called “Home for Everyone” that works to provide homes for homeless families.

  • Start with Why: They might begin by explaining their belief that everyone deserves a safe place to live.
  • Impact / Purpose: Then, they share stories of families they’ve helped move into their own homes, highlighting the joy and stability it brought them.
  • Make It Human and Personal: They could tell the story of a single mom, Anna, and her two kids, who went from living in their car to having a home, thanks to the charity’s supporters.
  • Make It Relatable: They ask you to imagine how it would feel to not know where you’ll sleep each night, making you empathize with Anna’s situation.
  • Give the Audience a Role: They invite you to help, saying if you’ve ever wanted to make a direct impact on someone’s life, here’s your chance.
  • Matching Your Why with Our Why: They wrap up by talking about how, together, we can make sure no family is left without a home, creating a community of people dedicated to kindness and support.

By following this formula, “Home for Everyone” doesn’t just tell you what they do; they draw you into their story, make you care, and show you how you can be part of something truly meaningful.