2 Insights for Telling Better Nonprofit Stories in 2014: Part I of II

Everyday Africa is devoted to telling a different story about the continent: a place of beauty. In order to tell its story, contributors from throughout the continent submit photos via social media–a new-age form of storytelling that should become more commonplace among nonprofits.Nonprofits can tell stories like never before through social media.

Thanks to the social landscape of today, your supporters can experience and tell stories with more depth and meaning than ever. And nonprofits, by their very nature, are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this.

The following methods can provide an experience that engages your followers like never before.

No. 1 Collaborative Storytelling

With social media, mission experiences can be told from a shared perspective.

 102 Minutes That Changed America, for example, is a documentary that recounts the 9/11 attacks mostly through the lenses of cell phone cameras and street cams in chilling detail. The footage was collected by the people who were on the streets and in their apartments near the World Trade Center that day.

Minute after minute, viewers are shuffled to a different perspective of the terror near Ground Zero. Unlike most documentaries, there isn’t a narrator—just the voices of those who are simultaneously recording the experience while navigating their way away from the destruction.

While the documentary is not the first of its kind, it signaled a shift: Technology has empowered us to be more than just witnesses; we are also narrators. This model of storytelling, called Collaborative Storytelling, is ideal for social media because it relies on people’s voices—their Facebook posts, tweets, photos and videos—to form a rich, multi-perspective story.

Your Next Steps

Make your mission events, projects and accomplishments accessible to your supporters through social media. Here’s how:

  • Choose an event that is important to your organization.
  • Determine a hashtag for the event, e.g. #event14. (Double check the hashtag, to see if anyone is already using it.)
  • Ask your followers to snap pictures and tweet to the dedicated hashtag.
  • Collect the social content from the hashtag and display it in a useable format:
    • Stelter, for example, offers a powerful vehicle for collaborative storytelling, called the social hub. The hub collects hashtags and social content from all your accounts.
    • Storify also allows you to surface social content—based on keywords or hashtags—from your organization’s social media accounts.
  • Share this story with your supporters and followers through Facebook and Twitter.

Part II: Activism Storytelling (coming January 28, 2014)

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