To effectively increase donations, non-profits need to tell their story in a way that moves people emotionally. There are many storytelling mediums such as written testimonials, photographs, audio recordings, and having people to tell their stories in person. I work in video, because I believe it can have a transformational impact.
This is a short exercise to help your non-profit prepare for a video that will help you build your capacity as an organization.
1. Talk to people who are deeply impacted by your work personally. Choose at least three people, and ask them to describe their life before and after they joined your program. Are you moved by how they tell their story?
TIP: Remember, not everyone is a good storytelling. Focus on the best storyteller, and find ways for the other people to participate through written testimonial or photographs.
2. Narrow it down. You only want to tell one story in each video.
TIP: You can focus on one person or one family who is impacted, or two to three people who have been impacted in a similar way and weave that story into one.
3. Get out that easel paper and a marker. What are some visual images that will help tell this story?
TIP: You can use visual metaphors if you provide a service that is difficult to film.
Now you are ready to find a film crew. A few more things to remember.
4. Keep it short. The best videos are emotionally compelling, and under two minutes.
5. Traditional story structure is your friend. Your video should have a beginning, middle and end.
TIP: Establish the facts (who, what, where), show us conflict (what is at stake), give us a payoff (how was this person transformed).
Make sure you focus your time and energy on ensuring that stakeholders see your video. There are many ways to leverage your video to bring in more donors, increase the size of donations, and help sell event tickets. See my post on Your Video is a Fundraising Tool for some ideas.
Why Storytelling Will Be the Biggest Business Skill of the Next 5 Years
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Reflections on mission driven messaging for organizations, and practical tips for budget-friendly production. Occasional riffs on social justice. Grounded in the knowledge that storytelling drives social movements.
Documentary filmmaker and educator, former non-profit development director and labor organizer. Proud Mama. Based in Boston, MA. More here.
WITNESS Human Rights Video
Storytelling is a Business Skill
Center for Media and Social Impact
Progressive Communicators Network
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