Social Media Storytelling for Nonprofits

Caryn Stein, Network for Good – May 7, 2013

Pairing your nonprofit storytelling with social media is a smart tactic for engaging supporters and inspiring them to take action. When coupled with acompelling story and an integrated marketing plan, social media is an easy way to promote stories about your cause. Here’s why it works:

It’s dynamic:  Social media makes it easy to combine text, photos, video and interactive elements to tell a richer story than just words alone.

It puts stories front and center:  For many, social media is part of a daily routine. Sharing your stories through social channels helps your stay top of mind with supporters.

It’s easy to consume:  By breaking your stories into snackable sizes — just right for social media — your readers can engage with your message quickly, from anywhere they happen to be.

It provides instant feedback:  Unlike other channels, social media is optimized for real-time interaction. Get insight on what resonates with your supporters by offering a variety of stories and formats.

It’s shareable:  Stories that amaze or inspire are irresistibly shareable. Take advantage of the fact that social tools are built to allow people to interact and share. Let your social media fans help you spread the word and attract new supporters.


Now that you’re ready to go social, how should you package your stories to really stand out? Think outside the box when presenting your stories via social media. Here are a few creative ways to frame your content:

•  Invite your supporters on a journey. Take readers on a journey to your field sites, local outreach events and through video, photos and up-to-the-minute updates. Use a combination of formats to really capture the full experience.

•  Curate an exclusive exhibit. Have a collection of artifacts, illustrations or thank you notes from constituents? Show them off and let them speak for you.

•  Make them part of the action. Share a play-by-play of live events or behind the scenes activities with a virtual “back stage pass”.

•  Create a serial drama. Never underestimate the power of a cliffhanger — tell your story in installments over several days or weeks. Use hashtags, photo albums and landing pages to link the pieces together.