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Julie Kliegman‘s report for Images & Voices of Hope (IVOH) looks at how the power of better nonprofit storytelling is helping Matt Mabe, director of Be The Change‘s Got Your 6 campaign, challenge how people perceive war vets.  IVOH is a community of journalists, photojournalists, filmmakers, documentarians, advertising creators, digital pioneers and innovators in arts and culture that strive to create meaningful, positive change in the world. Ms. Kliegman is the weekend editor for TheWeek.com and a freelance journalist who’s written for publications including BuzzFeed, Vox, Mental Floss, Paste, the Tampa Bay Times and PolitiFact.

How one nonprofit campaign is fighting for better storytelling about war veterans

Tyler Becker | Social Media Week | 11/18/15

After completing his second Army tour in Iraq, Matt Mabe was eager to readjust to civilian life. But when he enrolled in Columbia University’s graduate journalism program in 2007, he felt uncomfortable with the expectations many of his civilian classmates seemed to set for him. Mabe didn’t see himself as gruff, overly disciplined and intimidating, but he got the sense that, as a veteran, this was the persona his peers thought he’d take on. Eight years and an unexpected third tour in Afghanistan later, Mabe took a day job challenging the public perception of war veterans he had come to know. In June, he became the director of impact at Got Your 6, a campaign started in 2012 by the Boston-based nonprofit Be the Change Inc. The campaign hosts storytelling events where veterans speak about the impact they have as civilians, as well as “collaboratories” meant to foster communication between different veterans’ groups.

mobilecause-outlookHow Better Nonprofit Storytelling Can Win Over Support and Donations for Your Cause

Got Your 6 depends on the power of better nonprofit storytelling to promote accurate and positive images of war vets, instead of the typical negative stereotypes too often seen in the media. Through personal stories, veteran speakers at the org’s storytelling events help people to understand how they’re just like everybody else. Better nonprofit storytelling allows your organization to very clearly convey the full depth and breadth of your mission in ways that compel people to get involved, spread the word and donate to your cause. Here are just some of the types of stories you can use on your website, social media, newsletters, emails, text messages and more to raise awareness, support and contributions:

  • Demonstrate how hard your nonprofit is working hands-on to fulfill its mission and how supporters can get involved to make a difference with true-life tales from the trenches.
  • Highlight an individual struggle or challenge that your organization is trying to overcome and what you need to beat it.
  • Call attention to a volunteer that has gone above and beyond to help your organization to motivate others to do the same.
  • Feature an uplifting success story that shows what can be accomplished when supporters contribute to your cause
  • Ask your supporters and constituents to share their own experiences with your organization in their own words

Use a mobile subscription widget to capture website visitor mobile numbers when they sign up to receive regular text messages from your nonprofit that can feature your organization’s compelling stories.

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