It’s true that ‘those who tell the stories rule the world’. It’s not just a Native American Proverb, it’s a fact that stories stimulate the brain and affect how we act in real life. Stories change the way we think about things. Stories are powerful. Stories are the best way to plant ideas in people’s minds. Because stories have such power, I think it is very important that visionaries are the ones telling the best stories.
If you are an impact driven person, chances are: you feel uncomfortable talking about yourself. It’s generally weird to pat your own back and blow your own trumpet. I understand this because I’ve walked this road myself and still do, daily. However, nothing worthwhile is ever done alone so if we would make sustainable impact, we need to get help and buy-in of others. To do so, you have two options:
- Go from door to door to ask for help – or SMS to Whatsapp these days
- Share the great work you do daily in a way that your relevant audience can see it, recognize it and be compelled to get involved with it.
If you picked option 2, the question is how do you attract and engage your target audience? If you picked option 1, that’s strange but keep reading. You’ll need the rest of the message.
Storytelling is the most effective way to engage your key audiences. Why? Stories help us remember. Stories help us think. Stories help us feel our humanity. Stories remind us of where we are and inspire us to where we are going – Great stories. No wonder, organisations that tell clear and compelling stories win.
At this point, you may be asking, so what kind of stories should we tell? Great question. To make it easier, here is a quick guide on the kind of stories you should be telling as a nonprofit or impact driven business:
1. VALUE STORIES
Share stories that reveal the values and ethics that are fundamental to your organisation. Stories about your values and ethics help people relate to your core principles. People often support, donate or partner with organisations based on shared values. Values such as authenticity, integrity, excellence, empowerment, respect, etc. should shine through your marketing and digital communications.
2. FOUNDER STORIES
Tell stories that share the inspiration behind your mission. Why did the organisation start? Who started it? What was the journey like? What were the struggles and the victories? What problem did you set out to solve? Help your audience put a face to the origin of your important cause. Reveal some humanity, so that people can know who you are.
3. VISION STORIES
Your supporters love to hear about your vision for the future. When told correctly, these stories help convince them that your company is worthy of their support. Share stories about how your organisation is changing, continually learning and improving. Though Bill Gates is the richest man in the world, people still support his foundation because they trust and believe in his vision. They believe the story; they care about the same issues as he does. People don’t support just because they think you need money. They need a mission to believe in. Share stories about what makes you special and how your vision is in line with the inspirations and values of your stakeholders.
4. SOCIAL PROOF STORIES
Social proof lets people judge you based on your affiliations with brands/people they already know and trust. Share feedback from influential people who have been moved by your work. Use the logo of your partners on your website. Share testimonials from your volunteers and supporters, saying why and how they feel about supporting you. People begin to take you seriously when they see people like them happily identify with you. Donors and supporters take notice and respond when they see this type of proof.
5. IMPACT STORIES
This type of stories are the most important, most rewarding and often the simplest to tell. Supporters, Volunteers, Donors and other stakeholders need to know that they are making a difference. They want to know that your organisation is solving the problem it set out to solve. Non-profits are not called change organisations for nothing. Feature stories of those impacted by your work and philanthropy. How are you changing lives? How are you affecting the world? Showcase the great work you are doing. Tell stories that show the impact and priority of your work.
There you have it! The 5 types of stories Founders should tell. Hope you found something new to implement, or at least, got my reassuring smile that you are already doing something right.
Which of these stories are your favorite to tell?