Monday, February 15, 2016

Lend a helping paw (and hoof): More examples of great nonprofit storytelling

Some missions lend themselves well to visual storytelling. When that is the case for our mission, providing visual representations of our impact to support our board members' outreach work can enhance their potential success in fulfilling those important responsibilities.

I shared a local example in last week's post, one introducing our local Head Start and its case for support of a new facility for its students. While exploring the videographer's YouTube channel, I found another wonderful example, this video created for the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs.

It's tagged for the Fur Ball, one of the organization's fundraisers. I'm not clear whether it was shown at the ball, or in promotion related to the ball. Whatever its original role, it offers an excellent example of stewardship (thanking donors) and demonstrating impact via individual animal stories.

Lest we view these excellent, professionally-produced videos and throw up our hands in budget-limited defeat, let me share a powerful example of video storytelling that takes a very different approach. If you are an animal-loving member of one or more social media outlets, you may have encountered Hope for Paws, a California nonprofit known for gritty rescue stories like this one.

Hope for Paws' YouTube channel and the social media outlets it feeds are full of compelling stories like this one. Clearly, these are amateur videos, shot on a phone or camera by a volunteer or staff member as the rescues are unfolding. They lack the professional polish of the one shared earlier and in last week's post. But it's impossible to deny their storytelling/impact power.  It's also important to note that most, if not all, include at least two calls to action - one to donate and one to adopt.

I offer the Hope for Paws example as evidence that our ability to tell our stories with technology support need not be hampered by lack of access to professional resources.

As with last week's example, having ready access to either of these resources can make board members' outreach work easier and even more compelling. They have visual evidence of lives saved and impact made to back up the data and whatever else you give them to share with donors and other stakeholders. Certainly, they should have a ready pool of comparable stories to tell. But having access to visual representations of some of those stories adds to their power.

What kinds of stories can your board members tell? What kinds of stories can you capture to support their storytelling on your behalf?

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