By Brian Lothridge
Your nonprofit changes lives and has the stories to back it up. Your nonprofit story deserves to be told with passion and depth — with a purpose! Compassion Writing by brian lothridge delivers that purpose.
It’s not about patting yourself on the back. It’s great to be recognized for your work, but you’re not in it for the recognition. You do what you do to make a difference in your community, region, country or world. Telling your story well can help you do that.
Your Nonprofit Story Helps People Find You
You’re in nonprofit work to serve. But you can’t serve if people don’t know you exist. Getting your story out builds awareness so clients can be connected to your services. I helped create a ministry for several churches whose group met once a month at a laundromat and provided laundry soap and paid for laundry services for low-income individuals. I wrote an article for the local newspaper, was interviewed on a local radio show, posted signs up at the laundromat, and blasted our social media with information. We even got a local news station to cover our first event.
We spent $200 in our first event and it grew from there. But if we didn’t tell the story we wouldn’t have served anyone, and it would have been a wasted effort. Getting the message out ahead of time and using multiple means of communication allowed us to be successful.
Your Story Attracts Partners
Other organizations may seek to partner with you after they hear your story. The same ministry I mentioned above attracted a few partnership opportunities with local nonprofits and benevolent organizations.
The success of the first few events led to a partnership with an organization that helps local schools to become community centers, complete with a food pantry, parenting classes and tutoring. They sent people to our events. We also supplied them with laundry soap and quarters to give away. The local library used a portion of their book sale proceeds to benefit our efforts. Organizations like the Rescue Mission and Catholic Charities referred clients to us. Telling our story made these partnerships possible.
Your Story Attracts Donors & Grants
Nonprofits need a steady stream of donors and grants to keep their work alive. There are organizations that have money to give, but they need to know you exist and want to know why you are worthy of their generosity. Telling your story well can build those relationships and open some purse strings.
I wrote a letter to a laundry soap company and explained our ministry and how it was helping low-income individuals. They loved the story enough to donate a year’s worth of laundry soap to our efforts. Another ministry I worked with sought donations for socks to give to the homeless. The story and a video of our work was sent to a major company that enthusiastically sent a few boxes stuffed with socks.
Telling the story of both of these ministries also created regular donors who helped us continue to serve the community. None of this would have happened if we didn’t tell our story. We were able to maintain some of these donors by following up with them to express our gratitude and to show them specifically how their donation helped us. We used letters, photos and video to continue to tell our stories.
Your Nonprofit Story Boosts Morale
Nonprofit work is always difficult work. It’s easy to get discouraged and forget to notice you are making a difference. Your nonprofit stories remind you that your effort matters and can re-energize your mission. It can do the same for your staff and volunteers.
Tell the personal testimonies of the people you help and the difference you make in their lives. Tell the stories of the volunteers and why they continue to serve. Tell the stories of your staff and what powers them to do their work. Hearing these stories have sustained me during some difficult times in my own work.
We Can Help You Tell Your Nonprofit Story
You may agree that telling your nonprofit story is important, but feel ill equipped to do it well. It can be difficult knowing how to communicate using different methods. Writing for newsletters, social media and blogs require different styles of writing. You will communicate to your staff, partners and donors, as they are different audiences.
I have 15 years of writing and editing experience. I was a reporter and editor for eight years and have spent the past seven years as a pastor and writer. I have experience with a variety of internal and external communication including newsletters, blogs, social media, political advocacy and more.
Now, in collaboration with Southern Tier Communications Strategies, LLC, we develop and launch content-marketing strategies (including blogging, social media and other forms of website development for website traffic and lead generation), in addition to nonprofit grant writing.
Your organization’s story matters. Let’s amplify it. Check out my website, www.compassionwriting.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information email STCS President and Founder, Kelsey Boudin, at email@example.com.