Posted by Jay Wilkinson

One of the best ways to convey your mission on your website is through powerful stories about the people you impact. Donors are generally more motivated to give for emotional reasons than logical ones, and telling stories that tug on heartstrings is an effective way to inspire them to tug on their pocketbooks.

In short, one of your most powerful marketing tools is a great story.

Here are four quick tips on nonprofit storytelling to help you not only engage and inspire, but also support the main message of your organization.

1. Find a story worth telling.
Not everything that happens in your organization is share-worthy. One key to great nonprofit storytelling lies in knowing what you should write about. A compelling event. People you’ve helped. A volunteer who went above and beyond. Tell stories that evoke emotion, celebrate changed lives, illustrate your mission or inspire people to support you.

2. Keep the main point front and center.
It’s easy to get off on tangents, especially if there are several people involved or many details to cover. Just keep asking yourself, what’s the one message I want to share? Whether you’re creating a blog post, a video, a newsletter article or even a donation page, stay focused on the main point. You’ll be more effective if you cut the extraneous stuff.

3. Find real-life anecdotes that tap into emotions.
Don’t expect stories to just fall from the sky. Take the time to talk to volunteers, employees, board members and people you’ve served. Ask questions and look for anecdotes that appeal to emotions. Great stories don’t typically just appear—most of them you’ll have to uncover.

4. Proofread.
In fact, have someone else read your story before you post it. You don’t want to distract readers from a great message with grammar and spelling errors. Also, ask your proofreader to give you feedback: Is any information missing? Is the main message obvious? Even the pros make revisions.

Your stories are a powerful marketing tool because they give you an opportunity to engage with your audience, touch their hearts and make them fall in love with your cause and the people you serve. Share them liberally.