Using digital storytelling for nonprofits’ content strategy is one of the most effective ways to promote awareness and gain funds from donors. You might be asking, what is digital storytelling, and why is this important? How is this different than the marketing and communication that my organization already does?
Digital storytelling is a strategic tool of marketing that utilizes technology to cohesively tell your brand’s message across a variety of platforms. Digital storytelling uses the same structure as traditional storytelling, but with added elements of graphics, photos, videos, and even audio.
When it comes to digital storytelling for nonprofits – it is one of the most effective ways to tell the story of your beneficiaries, communities, and donors. What you use digital storytelling for is entirely up to you, depending on your organization’s mission and strategy. It enhances your communication efforts to better showcase the work you do to the people you want to want to reach.
Digital Storytelling for Nonprofits: The 6 How-To’s
1. Share What You Do and How You Do It
This can include anything from the telling your audience about the beneficiaries of your organization’s mission, spotlighting major donors and volunteers, or showcasing your team and day-to-day operations. You can use pictures of your staff, videos of volunteers doing the work, or testimonials of donors telling why they give to your organization. Since the capabilities of digital media are endless, so are your potential stories!
2. Use Captions on Social Media
Use your captions to work with your media of choice. Don’t just use the caption to describe the image, graphic, or video; elaborate on them and be authentic. You can format these captions to be mini blog posts, or tell the entire story with the media as the supplementary component. Draft multiple iterations of the story using different images, videos, and captions to determine which one best tells your organization’s story. Experiencing writer’s block? Consider using ChatGPT to get the ideas flowing!
3. Use Multiple Posts to Create a Story Campaign
Do you have a big story that needs more space, such as an upcoming giving day or an incredible beneficiary story? Make a campaign out of it to tell the story across a variety of posts and messages. This will “feature” the story you want to highlight, and will help better promote your initiatives to your audience. As a bonus, campaigns like this really drive brand and organization awareness! Check out our MemoryFox Partner & Founder of Ignited Fundraising, Lori L. Jacobwith’s 6 Steps to Crafting a Powerful Story to get started building your multi-post story.
4. Play on Emotion to Capture Your Audience
Human beings connect on an emotional level through storytelling. This doesn’t mean that every social media post needs to be a heartfelt story that will make your audience cry; play on a variety of emotions to solicit engagement and promote awareness! Do you have a funny story that a volunteer encountered while working for your organization? Did a donor provide a touching message about why they decided to give? Share it all. It’ll show authenticity, and enable your audience to connect with you in a genuine way.
5. Use a Traditional Story Arc
The best stories have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Start with a conflict, task, or problem, then showcase how your organization solved this problem, how a donation helped a situation, or how others have benefited from your solution.
FOX TIP: Use the STAR method of storytelling. With the STAR method, tell the (S) situation in as little or as much detail as you choose. Then move into describing the (T) task, followed by how you, your organization, or your volunteers took (A) action. Finally, explain the (R) results of the actions you took. In short, tell an all-encompassing story about how your organization improves your community!
6. Use Different Channels to Maximize Your Reach
To build an online presence and increase your organization’s reach, you need to be using multiple methods of communication. This includes multiple social media channels, your website, and even guest writing for publications or other organizations. The more you increase your digital footprint, the bigger presence you have, which will result in increased brand awareness and growing trust in your organization. This one might require a bit of research, but it would be best to find out where your audience “lives” online.
Bonus Tips for Your Nonprofit Content Strategy
Use Community-Generated Content: This is the most authentic form of digital storytelling. What better way to tell the stories of your organization then from the people either doing or benefiting from the work?
Incorporate Videos into Your Social Channels: Not only are videos the best tool to digitally tell a story, it is the hot commodity on all social media platforms right now. That means that with social media algorithms, video posts will automatically be pushed to the top of your audience’s feed.