Thursday, December 12, 2013

Get Your Story Straight

Matt and Chris Vanderlinden are the demiurgic minds behind Detonator, a creative firm specializing in helping organizations tell their stories in ways that ignite passion for the mission. They join us to offer helpful tips on figuring out just exactly what your nonprofit story is-- and how to tell it.  


Marketing is a tough gig. Technology continues to change the way people communicate. We're all bombarded by a constant stream of information, and it's incredibly difficult to cut through the noise to deliver your message. But the good news is, there’s a simple trick to help you stand out from the crowd. Ready?

Be real, and tell your story well.

That might seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many organizations struggle with it. The key is to talk relentlessly about WHY your organization does what it does. People will connect with WHY you do what you do (your purpose) more easily and deeply than with WHAT you do. WHY speaks to them on a more emotional level. If you talk about your purpose, and you live up to it in your day-to-day interactions with people, it creates the foundation for an authentic relationship with your audience. Today authenticity is everything. No relationship, business or otherwise, will last if it’s not authentic.

As a nonprofit, you’re in a better position than some to speak emotionally about your purpose. So how, exactly, can your organization get better at cutting through the noise with emotionally engaging messaging that creates authentic relationships?

1.    Start with Why - Read Simon Sinek’s fantastic book, Start with Why, to learn how to zero in on your organization’s purpose. Get a preview by watching Simon’s TED TALK.
2.    Craft Your Story - Once you’ve articulated your WHY, craft your organization’s story in emotional terms. Explain WHY your organization exists simply and powerfully. Keep refining the story until it’s as clear, direct, and emotionally powerful as possible.
3.    Get Everyone on the Same Page - Make sure everyone in your organization understands your WHY, and can tell your story well.
4.    Relentlessly Share Your Story - It should be part of your pitch, on your website, in your presentations and brochures, a backbone of your social media strategy, everywhere. It’s what makes you unique, and it’s what your audience will care about more than anything else.

It’s hard work to articulate your WHY, and then translate it into an emotionally engaging story. But the payoff can be huge in terms of providing a unique and authentic brand position for your nonprofit that builds lasting relationships with your community.

So what are you waiting for? Time to get your story straight.



Detonator is a creative firm that helps organizations define, craft, and communicate explosive stories, leveraging the power of storytelling to build an emotional connection between organizations and the communities they serve. Learn more and connect with them at detonatorbrand.com.