The Story of Your Nonprofit

How well are you telling your non-profit’s story?

No… I’m not talking about that boilerplate “History of our Organization” that you have on your website. And I’m certainly not referring to the mission statement that committee of your board members hammered out 15 years ago.

I’m talking about story, in its truest sense… Good. Evil. Heroes. Villains. Adventures. Conquests. Battles lost. Battles won.

Wait… you don’t think your organization has a story like that? Let me assure that it could… that it should, if you would let it.

You see, we human beings, we like to think in terms of stories. There’s something about them that speaks to the innermost part of our being. We like to get caught up stories… and not just any stories, but big stories. We like to get caught up in stories and adventures bigger than ourselves, to join together for a common goal and a common good.

These stories have heroes, who fight clearly on the side of the good and right and just, and villains (who may be people, but could be organizations, diseases, or bad situations) that are squarely on the side of wrong.

We all want to be part of a story.

Your non-profit has a story like that… or it could. So, I’ll ask again: how well are you telling your non-profit’s story?

Who is the villain in your story? Is it a disease you are fighting to eradicate? Bad schools for our children? Hunger? Hopelessness?

As for the hero of your story, well… it’s you! Your non-profit, and your team, and especially the donors who fund your work. What makes you uniquely qualified to fight this fight, and win? Why should your donors care? Why should they get caught up in your story, your mission, your vision?

And the battles… what battles have there been? When did the hero (your organization) win? Where did you face setbacks?

Finally… what comes next in the story? What is the plan that will lead your heroes to final victory over the bad guys? And… this is key… what resources will you need? How much money will you need to raise?

Now… make your ask. The stage has been set. The story told. All that remains is for others (your prospects) to join your cause, to stand on the side of right and good. And all that requires from them is a simple “yes.”

Every non-profit, no matter how small or large, can think bigger about their story. It doesn’t matter if you’re raising endowments for a major university or collecting coins from schoolchildren to fight homelessness on the streets of your town. You can tell an amazing (and true) story that casts a vision that your donors will want to get caught up in.

So, what are you waiting for? Go be the hero of your non-profit’s story.