Many (most?) nonprofits struggle to raise awareness for their work, find donors and raise support. From organizations such as Invisible Children, One Day’s Wages, charity: water, and Nuru International, it is clear that communications is not a nice touch to throw on at the end if your organization has time, but a crucial part of the work itself.
Stories that grip people’s hearts will naturally lead to participation and contribution. And telling those stories requires a willingness to invest.
Telling Effective Stories
charity: water consistently produces high-quality videos to communicate not only what they do, but why they do it. Here is a recent example:
This brilliant motiongraphic video from Nuru International was produced in-house and explains simply some of the complexities of their work:
Tell Your Story
Now, most of our organizations are not well-connected enough to have the director of Hotel Rwanda direct and Jennifer Connelly star in a promotional video pro bono for us, but similar principles can guide even the smallest teams. If you were to sit down with a friend, how would you answer the following questions in a compelling way:
Why do you believe in your work? Why should your friends & family?
One of the speakers at The Ideation mentioned that, if you can’t get your immediate family behind your idea, then maybe you need to re-think things a bit.
Invest In Your Creatives
Among both charity: water and Invisible Children’s first hires were their creative teams (or, at the beginning, creative person). As charity: saw the need for telling their story through videos, their creative took on the task of learning how to edit video, and they grew from that point.
At The Ideation, I met and/or connected via Twitter with many talented videographers, graphic designers and organizational consultants (as well as in-house creatives) who passionately care about people and finding ways to create a better world. If your organization does not have the capability to produce creative content on your own, there are many who can help you out (at a reasonable cost).
In any case, organizations must be willing not only to invest financially in communicating their stories, but also in time, imagination and hard work.