Book Review: Nonprofit Storytelling in a Digital Age | Beth's Blog

Book Review: Nonprofit Storytelling in a Digital Age

Books, Digital Trends, Storytelling, Strategy, Tips

My colleague, Julia Campbell, has just published a book, “Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits” and was kind enough to share an advanced copy.

In a digital age where there is so much online available online and attention is your supporter’s most precious resource, are you saving or seizing it?  If your organization has the skills to craft authentic, real, emotional stories about the work that you do every day and make those stories social, you will be able to grow support and keep donors engaged.  And, that’s where Julia’s book comes in.

This comprehensive book covers the following:

  • Part One addresses storytelling readiness, especially now to transform your nonprofit’s culture.
  • Part Two covers the mechanics finding, writing, and sharing compelling stories, as well as addressing some very common storytelling challenges.
  • Part Three provides tips on the digital tools you need to use to share your stories with supporters

I was immediately drawn to the chapter that describes common storytelling challenges and solutions.    While there are many challenges, many times nonprofits are dealing with clients who can’t really share their story because of confidentiality restrictions.   Julia has some great practical advice here:

  • Shield personal details. Use a different name and identifying characteristics when describing the person. Make sure you are transparent when doing so. Include a footnote saying that
    some details have been changed to protect identities.
  • Use a creatively-staged photo.  While showing the faces of the people served is very powerful, sharing a story with an imaginatively shot photo can also work well.
  • Speaking with alumni of the program—people who are not currently using services and who are not in immediate distress.  Gather their success stories (or their on-the-road-to-success
    stories—maybe their story is still being told).
  • Collecting stories from your donors as to why they give and from your volunteers as to why they volunteer. They all have stories of
    their own and a reason to be giving back to your organization.
  • Finding a local celebrity.   Invite a person who is well known and respected in your community and who supports your
    cause to share a story or two with your audience.

Through this book, Julia offers many great examples, tips, worksheets, and very practical advice about the whole process of storytelling in a digital age.   This book will be a valuable addition any nonprofit’s communication’s toolbox.

How does your nonprofit use storytelling effectively on its digital channels?

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