Tips for Nonprofits: Better Storytelling Advice

Adam J. Cheshier
9 min readJul 14, 2020

Here are some tips and better storytelling advice for your nonprofit organization:

1. Be Authentic

People are becoming increasingly aware that a brand or organization is targeting them or trying to sell something. This can cause side effects that discourage people from giving or buying. Always tell your stories in an authentic way.

2. Don’t Speak like a Salesman

Stories should be as humane as possible. Using advertising, clinical, or super-sector language may make it impossible for individuals to understand, connect, and empathize with the purpose of the story — and thus almost defeat the purpose of the story. It is important to make sure that your story is easy to understand and digest.

For example, a true story about someone in need is much more useful than a demographic story about “low-income families”. Think about it. . .

3. Stay Positive More than Negative

NGOs are working on major global issues, and it may be very difficult to talk about these issues. To make up for the darkness, you are adding something positive to the story (such as how your beneficiary overcame his or her problems or found a better place).

Too much attention to fighting can cause discomfort and complicate relationships, but too many happy endings can make you think that their help is not needed. This is a very difficult balance.

4. Try to Appeal to all Emotions and Feelings

When you tell a story, you think about smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing. Whether it is via video, audio, or written form, all of these elements can help your audience connect and participate.

5. Make a Call to Action

Although we tend to not use a call to action on CreativeVolunteer projects, you should think about incorporating this into your own strategy.

If you tell a good story, your audience will be motivated to give something in return. Make sure that this call to action is relevant to the story you have just told. If the Call to Action is a fundraising event, make sure the person who is…

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Adam J. Cheshier

Documenting obscure pockets of the world across long-distance overland expeditions. Recently celebrated 7 years of nomadism. https://linktr.ee/adam.cheshier