Authentic Nonprofit Marketing: A Story Each Department Can Tell

While each department at your nonprofit organization may not be performing a public-facing activity, they each play a crucial role in achieving your mission. Here at MemoryFox, we know how dedicated each department is to overall success and we believe their contributions should be shared and celebrated through storytelling. 

Prioritizing authenticity in your nonprofit marketing strategy will make your brand stand out from the crowd, which will inspire recurring donations, motivate supporters and catch the attention of new prospects. 

One way to prioritize authentic nonprofit marketing is to share the stories of the employees behind your mission. Donors love to see how their dollars impact the day-to-day operations, but these stories are often not shared publicly. Today, I have a story suggestion from EACH department that your supporters and followers would love to hear. 

1. Marketing & Communications Department

The marketing and communications department is responsible for promoting the nonprofit’s mission and engaging with its audience. One interesting story this department could share is a “behind the scenes” look at the creative process. 

For example, if your nonprofit generates a monthly or quarterly printed newsletter, tell your audience the story of how your team chooses the theme, cover story and supporting articles. Then, you can take it one step further by asking your audience to share what they most enjoy about your newsletter and what they’d like to see more of! To make it extra easy, you can use MemoryFox to collect these responses and share them with your team. 

2. Fundraising Department

The fundraising department is responsible for securing the financial support that keeps a nonprofit organization running. A series of stories the fundraising department can share is the “roots” of your corporate relationships. 

How did your organization first connect with its largest corporate donors? What drew the company to your organization and vice versa? What initiatives do your corporate partners prioritize, and how does your nonprofit mission fit in? Your followers are used to seeing corporate logos combined with generic thank yous, but what is the REAL story here? Tell them!

3. Programs Department

The programs department is responsible for designing and implementing the nonprofit’s various initiatives and services. While many organizations collect stories from program participants after they have received services, we are seeing that many programs departments are finding success by using storytelling to perform their mission.

Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle MemoryFox

For example, our friends at the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle (ULMS) use storytelling to boost awareness and promote education surrounding their public health focus. In one particular example, ULMS began looking for ways to combat COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. They knew if they could connect trusted doctors directly with their communities, they could save lives. 

So, they made a plan to collect videos of children asking BIG questions about COVID-19. Then, they presented the questions to local doctors, who met the questions with knowledge and understanding. They produced the following YouTube video and shared it far and wide!

4. Volunteer & Engagement Department

The volunteer and engagement department is responsible for recruiting, training, and coordinating the nonprofit’s volunteers. Your volunteers are the heart of your organization. In fact, many nonprofit organizations cannot achieve their mission without the hard work of dedicated volunteers – But where do they come from, and why exactly are they so dedicated?

The volunteer and engagement department has a vast amount of compelling stories at their fingertips. Posting a monthly or quarterly “Volunteer Spotlight” is a great way to highlight someone who regularly goes above and beyond, share the types of activities performed by volunteers, and inspire new volunteers to join you! Be sure to include your volunteer application process when telling these stories, so people know where to go to get started helping out. 

5. Operations & Accounting Department

The operations and accounting department is responsible for managing the nonprofit’s finances and ensuring that it stays within budget. While many might not see this department as glamorous from a storytelling perspective, I disagree! 

The operations and accounting department is the reason the organization stays afloat – Without their hard work and expertise, all other departments would not be able to run properly. One interesting story this department could tell is a “day in the life” of a member of the team. Take the time to teach your supporters where their money goes, and how this department ensures the dollars truly make a difference. 

This also would be a great time to discuss some financial pain points your organization feels, which will inspire more monetary or in-kind donations! Your donors will admire the transparency, and your operations and accounting employees will appreciate their moment in the spotlight.

6. Leadership

Last but not least, members of the leadership team have a wealth of institutional knowledge. Many organizations would greatly benefit from capturing these stories and archiving them for future reference. Examples of beneficial institutional knowledge include: the process of program creation and expansion, memories and takeaways from fundraising events, major donor trends, and major “firsts” and milestones at the organization. 

When you take the time to collect and organize these stories now, the outcomes are twofold: Your growing organization will have the ability to quickly share insights with new employees, and you will have material for time capsule opportunities. 

For example, if you host an annual gala, you can share insider experiences from your first gala as you celebrate your 10th, 20th and so on! Supporters love to learn how your organization has evolved, especially from those who were there to implement the changes. cheers fox

Overall, each department in a nonprofit organization plays a crucial role in achieving its mission, and they all have unique and compelling stories to share. While I recognize that not every nonprofit has a designated staff member for each of these job functions, this list is meant to spark new storytelling ideas that lend themselves to authentic nonprofit marketing. As always, if you are looking for an easier way to collect, organize and share these cross-departmental stories, I encourage you to chat with one of MemoryFox’s Storyteller Experts.

About the Author

Carly Euler
Marketing Manager, MemoryFox

Carly comes from the nonprofit world ready to elevate the hundreds of nonprofits in the MemoryFox community. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Wily Network’s Young Professionals Association, and has previously held positions at the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, the Code of Support Foundation, Kenya Lacrosse Association, and the BOMA Project, where she has specialized in marketing, communications, and fundraising. Storytelling has been an integral part of each role.