Add storytelling to your job description
Kivi Leroux Miller, author of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, tells us to add storytelling our job descriptions. Why? Based on research cited in her new book, Leroux Miller claims that storytelling is a terrific way to get your audience to respond to your call to action.
Six qualities make up a good story, according to the author:
- Keep it short (try for 500 words or for video, two minutes)
- Be straightforward (avoid tangents because they will detract from your story)
- Be personal (your stories should be about specific people and limit the number of people in your story)
- Be authentic (people connect with stories that ring true—don’t write about perfect people!)
- Include conflict or imperfections (these elements bring stories to life)
- End with a message (make sure your message is clear)
You can find fresh story ideas by interviewing your receptionist, clients, and supporters; updating a newsletter or blog archive; checking the headlines and seeing what’s relevant to your cause; looking at your desk calendar or Chase’s Calendar of Events to see which national holidays pertain to your nonprofit; writing detailed articles about the key phrases people use to search for your site; reviewing trade news aggregators; getting interview ideas from event programs; or reviewing Twitter, SlideShare or social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon.
Leroux Miller makes such a strong case for storytelling in her book that we decided to ask her about it in our author interview:
CausePlanet: Your section on storytelling is very tactical and helpful for readers. In that section you discuss the wide variety of applications for storytelling. Is there ever the case of “too much of a good thing,” or should nonprofit leaders look for every opportunity to tell a story?
KLM: Storytelling is so undervalued and underused by nonprofits that I wouldn’t worry about overdoing it. Instead, I’d work on writing stories of different lengths from just a few sentences to several paragraphs, so you have something that works in many different venues. Leroux Miller goes on to say in her book that “stories are a nonprofit’s goldmine and if you are not using storytelling as an essential element in your nonprofit marketing and communications, you are robbing yourself of one of the most effective tools available to you.”