Thursday, June 28, 2012

What is the Moral of Your Story?


What is the moral of your story?
  • Anyone can make a difference.
  • Hard work pays off.
  • Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Good always triumph over evil.
  • Good gals finish first!
Jonah Sachs, of The Story of Stuff and The Meatrix fame, has a fantastic new book out called Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the FutureYou should buy it and read the whole book.

I liked it for a lot of reason but I was particularly moved by his reminder that
  • Every brand is telling a story.
  • Every story has a moral.
  • To inspire and cut through the media clutter, the moral of your story has to empower others and resonate with the deepest human of values.
Let me elaborate.

According to Sachs, every brand (including yours) is telling a story.

Whether you like it or not, based on how you interact with others, e.g. how you answer the phone, solicit, greet, and thank your donors, etc. you are creating a brand.  This brand is the total impression and EXPERIENCE that others have with you.  It is your narrative.

You can try to POSITION your brand i.e. be intentional about the story you live and tell or you can let it happen to you.  Either way.  Your brand exists.

As a nonprofit, I hope that your brand is positive and that the moral of your story is connected to changing the world.  Because if this is not so, you have a problem.

Not sure of your moral?  Ask yourself these questions.  

In the end of the day...
  • WHY does my organization exist?  
  • WHY do I come to work every day?
  • WHY do donors give to our organization?
  • WHY are our employees, customers, supporters, clients, volunteers, etc. loyal to us vs. others?
Answer these question and you will have the moral of your story.  (I hope you like your moral.  If not, you need to think carefully about your work.)  This moral should anchor all of your marketing and communications.

Here is an example. 

My company, Network for Good, has a compelling vision.  Our goal is to unleash more generosity in the world by helping people and organizations become better fundraisers.

We believe that regardless of their means, people are inherently generous and that if we can make giving easy and (dare I say) FUN we can actually increase generosity in the world.  To date, we have helped to generate over $650 milion in donations to over 80K nonprofits.  This is the moral of our story.

To be clear, this post is not a brag fest about Network for Good, it's a reminder that most nonprofits (including mine) have a noble calling.

The challenge is this.

It takes work to stay true to your calling and to remember the moral of your story when faced with the chaos and business of daily life.

What is the moral of your nonprofit's story?  
  • Why do you exist?
  • What good are you doing in the world?
  • Why should everyone else care?
Jocelyn

2 comments:

David Hartstein said...

Really enjoyed your post Jocelyn. I absolutely agree, motivating supporters often comes down to storytelling. Even an organization that is doing great things can have trouble rallying support if this impact isn't properly shared.

Stories should be compelling and straightforward. Website visitors won't spend a ton of time hunting for your nonprofit's story. They'll leave your site.

Thanks for sharing.

Dr. Vaughan Dabbs said...

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