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Easier storytelling

David: This is episode nine of Nonprofit Video Comms, the show about video marketing for your nonprofit to help you be seen, get funded and be more helpful to more people. My name is David

Between you and me, and we work in nonprofits throughout our careers, surely we've both heard at least 150 times the recommendation. Storytelling, storytelling, storytelling. Everything has to be stories, stories, this and stories that. you might sense that I'm tired of this concept, but that's not true. I do believe in the power of it. It's wired into us, and we kind of just do it as people, one on one, whether we like it or not. Now, this episode is really about one thing that if you are new to it and you're struggling with it or you're spending a lot of time on it and you're really dedicated to perfecting it, I think you should go easy on yourself. Please don't mistake this as pessimism, but storytelling is really hard. Some people dedicate half of their careers to this. Some people study it academically forever, marketers experiment over and over for the biggest companies and organizations and only get it right some of the time. Other gambles that you take with storytelling are did you get the context right? Are you doing it ethically? Are you maintaining dignity for the subject? Is it white washed? Is it green washed? Is it timeless? Is it outdated? Did you get it in the right context? It's very complicated. There's a big responsibility. If you get something wrong, you can hurt a lot of people, which is why I do encourage you to practice harder and harder.

But here's one tip if you just need to get that bit of marketing material out and want the same effectiveness of storytelling. So if you are struggling, when in doubt, just give the audience straight facts with empathy. facts and empathy. I'm going to tell you why this works.

So the first reason this works is this when in doubt and you go with the facts and you're empathizing with your reader or your viewer and you tell them this is the program. This is who it's for. And this is how you will benefit. And this is how it works. And yadda, yadda, yada. What you're doing is acknowledging what they are looking for, acknowledging what they need so that they can move forward when in doubt, just give them what they need. In a situation where you kind of doubt, “well, is a testimonial story going to work?” “is a client story going to work?” Just drop it and go with the facts and empathize.

A lot of people report that facts are boring. Facts don't work. Facts don't trigger emotions. That's not true. It works if you empathize. If you drop facts without empathy, that's when it doesn't work. That's when you're just saying, “oh, well, we've raised this much money and we did X-Y-Z.” But when you emphasize and you say “your money went towards these things. Thank you for your contribution.” That's when empathy is your friend.

The second reason why going with the facts and going with empathy works is this and this is something that I'm very excited to tell you about that I don't think a lot of people talk about. Storytelling isn't a one-way thing. So in your storytelling lessons, they might have taught you about the hero's journey or the dramatic arc where the character goes through something difficult, and then they overcome it, and then they reach another barrier. And then there's a twist in the story. The beginner or the amateur storyteller focuses on this character. The experienced storyteller knows that the listener or the reader or the viewer of your content IS the hero. And in this hero's journey, they've Googled three organizations to help them get help with job skills. One of those organizations gave the most complete information on Google Maps or on their website or wherever, and that organization kept leading them from website page to website page in the most useful, helpful way possible to address this person's urgent needs. That makes you the guide in the story that makes you the supporter or the — I hate using Star Wars references, but — that makes you the Yoda. that makes you the one who helps the hero along. So it's not that everyone's just out there looking for stories. It's that they have a story themselves, and when they get somewhere close to finding you as a solution, your job is to help them get to the good part of their own story. And you do that by just giving them what they need, which for a nonprofit is often just the facts and to empathize to know where they are and what they need and how to help them get it.

So that's my take on storytelling when in doubt, go with the facts and empathy.

Thank you. That was episode nine, and I look forward to seeing you at our 10th episode. My name is David. You can find me on LinkedIn. search David Phu. P-H-U . or go to my website to see what we're all about.

Till next time. Bye bye.


Learn about our services at Nonprofit Video Comms or follow David on LinkedIn.

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