5 Stories Your Nonprofit Should Be Telling on Social Media
WRITTEN BY Kristina Brunnler
Social media can help you establish a connection and community with your nonprofit’s existing supporters, as well as new audiences who may be interested in your mission. However, with so much noise on social media you may find yourself intimidated by the idea of trying to convey your nonprofit’s story to new or even existing supporters.
Fortunately, in our recent webinar, Powerful Storytelling for Virtual Fundraisers: How to Increase Impact & Community, we had the privilege of working with storytelling expert Vanessa Chase Lockshin. She covered the five essential elements (Connection, Character, Conflict, Resolution, and Call-to-Action) of a successful nonprofit story structure and how to weave these elements into your nonprofit’s events and communications. In this article we’ll be sharing how you can turn those same five elements into short stories for your nonprofit’s social media channels. Continue reading for examples from real-world nonprofits that used these elements in their storytelling for social media.
5 Powerful Stories Your Nonprofit Can Share on Social Media
1. Connection | Why Does Your Mission Matter to Others?
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Your nonprofit’s connection with supporters could be based on values and beliefs, emotions, or purely curiosity. In order to establish a connection on social media, you’ll need to first understand why your supporters care about your cause. If your nonprofit is a faith-based or a social advocacy organization, it is likely easy to identify your supporters’ shared connection. Others such as Arts & Culture or Higher Education, may require some deeper analysis. Either way, the internet and social media give you more opportunities to connect with new supporters who hold the same interests or beliefs. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, for example, used a quote that resonates with the beliefs of adoptive parents and families.
2. Character | Who or What Needs Help?
You can also use social media to introduce new supporters to the character. Your nonprofit’s story has to be about someone or something, the character of the story. Together Rising’s characters encompasses many individuals suffering from collective grief around the world (victims of floods, hurricanes, wars, etc.), but in this particular social media post, a character left unemployed by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can introduce your character in a number of different formats including before photos, video, or even just text as Together Rising did above.
Furthermore, your cause also does not always have to be about someone, but can be about something. Organizations for environmental protection or historical preservation for instance may have a physical building or space as their main character.
ProTip: If your beneficiaries must remain anonymous, considering creating an alias name for social media posts. Together Rising shared their beneficiaries text message, without revealing their actual name or a photo of “Eva.”
3. Conflict | Why Does Your Character Need Help?
The Pad Project
An essential element of every fundraising story is the problem. Specifically, what the problem is, why it matters, and why your organization is the best organization to help solve this problem. The Pad Project has a broad, global mission: to create and cultivate partnerships to end period stigma and empower women worldwide. Despite their broad mission, the Pad Project does an excellent job at telling their nonprofit’s story on social media, especially the conflict their characters are facing.
In this Instagram post, they share the conflict some of their characters or beneficiaries (American school girls) are facing, which is a lack of access to period care products. This problem matters because it causes these students to miss or leave school early. The Pad Project is helping by partnering with another organization, Girls Learn International, to provide period care products to underprivileged female students.
4. Resolution | What Will You Do With Money or Support To Solve the Character’s Conflict?
Valley of the Sun United Way
Use social media to showcase your organization and its strength to resolve the conflict or issue. Valley of the Sun United Way used social media to show how supporters’ donation dollars are working to fight the COVID-19 pandemic by providing free masks to local students. By letting supporters know how you plan to solve your character’s conflict, you establish trust and belief in your organization’s mission.
ProTip: Impact metrics illustrate the quantifiable benefit your nonprofit’s programs have had on the communities it serves. Examples of impact metrics include meals provided, shoes given, trees planted, etc.
With MobileCause, you can create a specific text-to-donate keywords for your campaign.
This makes it easier to share, and for people to donate. Would you like to learn more?
5. Call-to-Action | How Can Others Help?
No fundraising story is complete without a call-to-action. No matter how well you’ve told your story, you need to be crystal clear about what you want supporters to do. Operation Blessing included links to their beneficiary’s or character’s (Zekai’s) crowdfunding page. In your nonprofit’s social media post, you can include links to not only to a crowdfunding or peer-to-peer fundraising page, but also online donation forms or text-to-donate instructions, or your campaign’s Event Page.
ProTip: On platforms like Instagram, users can only use links in their bios or in Instagram stories (after they reach a certain follower threshold). For these channels, include text-to-donate instructions on the post’s image or in its copy. You’ll empower individuals to support your cause without having to remember a long URL and enter it into their browser.
Remember to be consistent with your storytelling on all social platforms. It’s not enough to share only your character’s story, without sharing their conflict or vice versa. Also never assume followers have seen or read every single one of your posts. After consistently weaving these five storytelling elements into multiple social posts you’ll craft a successful social media strategy that connects your cause with new and existing supporters.
For more free resources on nonprofit storytelling, we recommend you download our ebook, Compelling Storytelling for Virtual Fundraisers.
Our goal at MobileCause is to help nonprofit organizations create and manage successful digital fundraising campaigns, raise more money and retain donors longer. Request a free demo with one of our fundraising experts to learn, step by step, how MobileCause can simply help set up your campaigns while transforming your results.
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