As we explore the question “How can we make our non-profit stand out from the crowd,” we’ve seen that there’s a different type of story that we can tell. It’s the story of our why – why we do the work we do. I like to refer to this as your BIG story.
Your BIG story is comprised of two parts:
The story of us
The story of now
This is terminology taken from Marshall Ganz and his work with The New Organizing Institute.
Let’s talk about both of these stories and how they weave together to form your compelling, interesting BIG story. Together this story tells people what you do and why.
The Story of Us
What values, experiences and vision make up the fabric of your organization?
These three components comprise the story of us. This story articulates the common ground that your organization and its community share. This is an important story that every non-profit must be able to articulate because it is what allows people to identify and align themselves with your cause.
The Story of Now
What is the urgency for solving your organization’s mission?
You know what this urgency is. You talk about it all the time to your donors, in your direct mail and in your case for support. The story of now is what calls people to take action after they hear your story of us.
The key to articulating this well is to clearly tie the urgency to the values, experiences and vision that your community has identified with.
The story of us and the story of now are most commonly found in a case for support, on your “About” page, the “Home” page and other outlets for external communications.
Today’s Action for you: Take a look at your current case for support and/or your “About” page on your website. Have you captured the essence of the story of us and the story of now? Where could you improve one or both of these stories?
Next week we’ll look at The Story of Self – this is the story that your volunteers, donors and staff members can use to spread your story through peer influence.