3 opportunities for storytelling on your charity's website

Website Storytelling for Charities

Storytelling is the most powerful way to engage donors and supporters in your charity’s work. Good storytelling can connect people emotionally to what your charity does in ways that cannot be achieved through other means. Storytelling brings your work to life.

We are made for stories

Human beings have been storytellers for eons. When we engage with stories we internalize them and they propel us to action. It is one of the best ways for fundraisers to motivate potential donors to become current donors.

Your website is the ideal storytelling platform

Your website is one of the first places donors go to learn about you and keep up with your work. When you lure them into your world with a great story it can be a powerful and persuasive interaction.

Ready to get started? Here are 3 pages on your website that are ideal opportunities for interlacing your content with great storytelling:

1. Homepage
This is usually the first place potential and current donors land when they search for you. Your content really needs to shine because you only have a few seconds to entice them to stay with you.

We all need a hero!

A compelling way to tell a story on your homepage is to prominently feature a ‘hero’. The hero is usually a donor or a beneficiary whose life has been positively impacted since becoming involved with your charity.

Donor as hero – engage current donors and solicit their stories about why they’re involved, and how it has impacted their life. Well crafted, this can inspire potential donors to also want to experience this.
Beneficiary as hero – engage your frontline staff and beneficiaries for great impact stories. These stories demonstrate how a hero has overcome a challenge or a conflict as a result of your charity’s support.

In either scenario find a story that is symbolic or representative of many experiences and couch it within the broader story of your charity. Remember to keep it succinct and positive! You want to use good news stories because they leave people feeling hopeful, not hopeless.

2. Your Blog
A charity’s blog is an excellent platform for day-to-day storytelling. It can highlight the beautiful little victories that take place in the quiet moments of the day. Sometimes the greatest stories are the smallest.

Shareable is golden

Ensuring your charity is in front of the eyes, ears and hearts of donors keeps them engaged with your work. When your blog is shared your donor reconnects with you and potentially introduces your organization to a new audience.

3. About Us
Despite its name, this page actually isn’t all about you; it’s about your beneficiaries. Crafting your core story around your beneficiary as the hero and your charity as the guide is powerful, empowering and inspiring for all.

Your charity’s story

The writing of this section requires thoughtful reflection about your charity. The story you tell on this page is your core story: the one that informs the rest. Be sure it is well thought out and well written.
Sometimes refreshing or creating your story requires getting to know your charity all over again.

Throw away your Mission, Vision & Values!
Okay, maybe don’t throw them away! Just mentally set them aside. Sometimes we get stuck in our language and need to free ourselves from it in order to find our stories.
Start by asking the following questions as conversations starters with staff and stakeholders:

• What do we want the world to know about our charity?
• How do we want beneficiaries and donors to feel about us?
• What do we love most about the work we do?

Listen closely and you will be able to extract golden nuggets of insight about the work your charity does.
Of course nothing is more inspiring than hearing about your organization’s impact. At every opportunity collect stories from your frontlines. These can be the most compelling stories of all.

Putting it all together

The key to success in this process is to ensure that each of these pages is well written. No matter how compelling the story is, if it’s written poorly it will never impact the reader. Invite staff and stakeholders to read your work before it’s published on your website. Be open to feedback and criticism, and make edits ruthlessly. Get help if you need it. Then write and rewrite until you’re satisfied.

It will take time, skill and effort to create these pages but when your website is infused with great storytelling you create endless opportunities to engage, motivate and inspire your donors.

*This article was originally published in Hilborn eNews


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